Posted on July 14 2012 – 10:00 PM – Posted by: Doug Brady
Somewhere around early 2006, the nation tuned out George W. Bush for a variety of reasons, some warranted, but many not. Most thought the Katrina aftermath catastrophe was due to state and local officials (do you recall the utterly incompetent loudmouth Mayor [“chocolate city”] Nagan, or the clueless FEMA director Michael [“Brownie”] Brown?), while the president’s culpability was largely political: he flew high over, rather than waded into, the muck on the first day of the recovery.
No matter: either the media or his opponents succeeded in confirming the narrative of an out-of-touch president at best, and at worst one indifferent to the plight of African-American poor in particular. The more the president talked of help and rescue, the more we heard absurdities from a malicious Nagan and inanities from an incompetent Brownie.
The same was true of Iraq by 2007. I felt the surge had a good chance of restoring calm and salvaging Iraq, especially given the skill and determination of David Petraeus and the admirable decision of George W. Bush not to give up. And establishing a consensual government in the heart of the ancient caliphate after removing the genocidal Saddam Hussein was an historic achievement. No matter again — almost every column I wrote in 2007 suggesting that Iraq was not only not lost, but also in the process of a brilliant recovery, earned lots of venom, many of it from some of the original staunchest supporters of the invasion. The people, I guess, had by then tuned the president out…
Imagine if Barack Obama said the following: “I promise by the end of my second term that I will close Guantanamo Bay, end renditions and preventative detentions, cut the deficit in half, that my second stimulus program will put the unemployment rate below 6% within three years, that I will create 5 million new green jobs, that my health care plan will lower premiums, that I will ostracize lobbyists, end the revolving door, and earmarks, that I will participate in public financing of the 2012 campaign, and that I won’t raise any tax whatsoever on those earning less than $250,000.”
Would any believe him?
So Barack Obama is likewise being tuned out. “Let me be perfectly clear,” “Make no mistake about it,” “In truth,” “In point of fact,” “I’m not kidding,” and “I’m not making this up” all tip off a weary public that just the opposite is true. We are so confused over Guantanamo, Predators, and renditions — being told everything from them being unconstitutional to vital — that we likewise just shrug at the absurdity of an Obama and Harold Koh embracing all the protocols that they once has so vehemently demonized. Were they then, now, or always just simpletons, naïfs, hypocrites, or abject careerists?