Saturday, December 17, 2011

Must be the season of the bitch

Ah, the holiday season. When the news cycle gets slow and everybody gets cranky and starts fighting with each other. Just like at the family gatherings. Today, this defense of President Obama is what's causing a ruckus on the internets.

I'm not going to get into the particulars other than this. I think we can all stipulate the indefinite detention thing sucks. Just like every expansion of the national security appartus since 9/11 has sucked pond scum. Hell, I'm still royally pissed off about the Patriot Act. Every expansion has further eroded the "freedoms" the terrorists supposedly hate that we have.

As for the instant post, I'm somewhat amused the author accuses emo-progs of hysteria even as he makes his case with rather equally hysterical and accusatory rhetoric. But this point is well taken:
Don't blame Obama for signing it. Blame Congress for passing it.

Obama didn’t place this odious amendment into the bill; Republicans did, even if they didn't place the exact language into the bill, they created the impetus for including crap like this in an irrelevant bill in the first place. Go after them!
It is useful to remember Obama doesn't have line item veto power. He would have to kill the entire bill to make a symbolic point, which was probably worth making. However, the practical effect of a veto would have had an undeniably adverse effect on thousands of innocent bystanders whose survival and well being depend on the spending authorizations. Not to mention, the de facto spending freeze it would cause for at least a couple of months. Is that really better?

It's a tough choice and it's no more fair or principled for lefty activists to judge Obama's motives in making that choice, than it is for their critics to accuse them of having sinister motives in criticizing Obama. For myself, I tire of the outrage addiction on all sides.

Everybody bitches about Obama's choices and his failure to prevent unwanted outcomes but outside of Atrios who routinely suggests sensible solutions, I don't see a whole lot of alternate courses of action being proffered by the professional critics. Anybody who thinks they can do better than Obama, step up and run for office. I don't think I could do better with what he has to work with. You think you could? Go ahead. Show him, and me, how it's done. I'd love better choices. You have my total support.

Via ABL at Balloon Juice where there's a righteous row going in comments. And where John Cole just poked a stick into the hornet's nest again.

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Blogger : smintheus :: said...

Would it cause a spending freeze to force Congress to revisit this authorization bill? If the bill passed with the objectionable internment amendment, then it ought to pass easily with the amendment stripped out if Obama were to veto it in its present form.

Besides, this is an authorization rather than (AFAIK) an appropriations bill. So there's got to be a time lag before the money pipeline gets shut off from the current appropriations bill.

I suspect there was no downside at all to the DoD to Obama vetoing this version of the authorization bill. Congress would have to come back with a new NDAA, that's all.

Oh, but the linked article is truly ridiculous in most ways. Almost a case study in how not to persuade others.

8:42:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Smintheus, when has this Congress dealt with any critical issue quickly? This was part of the government shutdown negotiations. Admit I didn't read it, but hysterical as the linked piece was, I'm taking him at his word that soldiers wouldn't be paid, small contractors would be in flux and so forth. I'm pissed about it too, but the main point is, Obama is one guy. He really can't just magically fix everything. You don't want this crap to happen, then we need to elect a Congress that will prevent it. Indeed, we need to elect a Congress that will rescind this odious detention thing. Nothing is set in stone in the law. You always get another crack at it. SO it seems to me it's a better use of energy to think about how to get a better Congress than it is to endlessly bitch at Obama.

One thing I know for sure, if GOPers take over the WH and both houses of Congress, they're going to pass a whole raft of crap that's a lot worse.

9:22:00 AM  

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