Let me say this right up front. Odds are this post will piss you off.
Half of you will say that I’m a ObamaBot, willing to let this slide because he’s my personal Jesus Christ. (Not true.) And half of you will scream that I’m a closet Republican who secretly wants Obama to lose. (Also not true.)
I mark this disclaimer in the beginning because my Twitter feed today was loaded with sniping on both sides of this question and has resulted in a number of ugly fights between progressives on both sides of the issue.
So what I’m going to do is lay out the situation as I understand it.
But first off, let me make one simple request. Which ever side you fall on, however tightly held your beliefs are…just…be cool.
That’s all I’m asking right now…just be cool.
He should have vetoed it.
I’m sorry but I’m planting my flag on this.
Yes, I am aware that the bill itself needed to pass to keep the military functioning. Yes, I am aware that the Final Bill passed the House and Senate in veto proof numbers. But you know what? I don’t care. This provision is such a fundamental “Fuck No” to the Sixth Amendment that it should have been vetoed on sheer principle!
And while I am glad that stated the following in his signing statement…. (Via Daily Kos.)
Second, under section 1021(e), the bill may not be construed to affect any “existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.” My Administration strongly supported the inclusion of these limitations in order to make clear beyond doubt that the legislation does nothing more than confirm authorities that the Federal courts have recognized as lawful under the 2001 AUMF. Moreover, I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens. Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation. My Administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law.
It barely qualifies as good news. As Amanda Simon points out at the ACLU’s “Blog of Rights”…
While President Obama issued a signing statement saying he had “serious reservations” about the provisions, the statement only applies to how his administration would use it and would not affect how the law is interpreted by subsequent administrations.
Which means that even if Obama decides not to be a dick about this, there’s no guarantee the next guy won’t be. And in Iowa, we have a group of people lining up for the privilege of being that dick. (Except for Ron Paul who will just be a dick about closing the FDA, the EPA and for an encore, kill Medicare.)
And a friendly reminder. While this originated in The Senate, it’s not like Obama hasn’t floated this idea before.
I’m sure that he meant it for foreign nationals captured. Which is why he didn’t push harder to have the provisions removed altogether. He still wants in in the tool box for people he’s convinced, deserve it. Which is a dumb idea because I honestly don’t think you can split that hair.
Which of course leads to the next question, what do we do about Obama in 2012?
Well, I’ve already gamed out that scenario. And sadly, this doesn’t change the equation. All the other viable GOP candidates (I said “Viable”, RON PAUL WILL NOT GET THE NOMINATION! Seriously, let that shit go.) would gladly make use of those powers given the chance.
Again, I’m not defending or excusing Obama. I am simply pointing out the Kobayashi Maru aspect of this situation.
So how am I dealing with this personally?
As far as voting goes…end of the day, I may still wind up voting for him because I still believe that he is the lesser of the two evils.
But he’s not getting one cent of my money.
Not a dime.
Not a farthing.
Not a penny nor even a haypenny.
And I’m not making any phone calls for him either.
Because I cannot in good faith, support a president who, even with the signing statement, would sign those provisions into law.
At the same time, I’m not going to get all angry and snide at people who choose to give money and time to him. I understand the reasoning behind why you would do it. (And again, if Obama can get those provisions struck down, I’ll be happy to change my tune and throw him some coin.) I’m just saying that this is the choice I choose to make so I can look at myself in the mirror and not feel like a partisan hack. I think my meager resources would be better spent on whoever plans on running against Greg Walden in OR-02
And let me make something else clear. This is not all on Obama. Both Democrats and Republicans voted for this damn thing. And both Democrats and Republicans voted down the Udall Amendment that would have tossed the ID provisions into a shallow grave. (And can we take a moment and mark the irony that this thing was co-authored by the guy Obama beat in 2008. Whether he meant to consciously or not, John McCain may have managed to finally extract some revenge.) There is plenty of room in hell for all involved in this.
(And again, I am honor bound as an Oregonian to point out that both of my guys, Wyden and Merkley did not vote for the final bill. So, yay us.)
The question becomes, will the Senate actually make an effort to fix this problem? (Oh wait, some of them are.)
Finally, I feel honor bound to to say one thing to my fellow progressives.
I know passions are running high.
Some of you are feeling betrayed by Obama and some of you are feeling overly protective of him. I get that and I understand both sides.
But at a time when we not only need to unite to take back the House and build up the majority in the Senate but also fill those seats with honest to God progressives, now is not the time to be fighting amongst ourselves.
To those of you angry at Obama, I get it. He’s been a disappointment in key areas particularly in the Civil Liberties department. (Which is why I still give ten dollars a month to the ACLU.) But you compare him with the other side, he’s still a better choice.
To those of you defending Obama, I get it. Considering all the crazy Birther-Secret Muslim- Anti Christ bullcrap that’s been thrown at him, defending him has become a reflex action. But it’s had the effect of also shouting down any reasonable criticism. And you need to give them a fair hearing.
Or to put it another way, every time progressives fight amongst themselves, Dick Cheney gets a Boner.
So…you want to take back Congress or do you want to fluff Dick Cheney?
The choice is yours.