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June 21, 2010


People don't give President Obama enough credit for his accomplishments. As he said in his Oval Office address last week, we don't know where we're going, we don't know how we'll get there, but we're making great time!

Thank god for Glenn Greenwald and his unwillingness to defer to power. Douhat's article is little more than a joke. He honestly called obama's gift to the insuranc companies 'universal healthcare'. He didn't, of course, go into any specifics since that would have shown the speciousness of his obama worship. Brendan if you're not reading Glenn Greenwald, I suggest you start.

Look, Greenwald is right about the president's power over civil liberties policy, though he undersells the possible consequences of certain policy choices (a backlash from Congress or the public, demagoguing by Republicans). It really is in the president's power to change civil liberties policy. That's why he begins his post today by describing the case of one particular detainee. If the facts as Greenwald describes them are right, this is certainly an area ripe for criticism!

But Greenwald places that one incident in a box of "areas where Obama isn't liberal enough" to illustrate his larger narrative. In doing so, he conflates areas where the president has clear formal authority (foreign policy, civil liberties, detainee treatment) with areas where the president has no formal authority (legislation on energy and the public option). For legislation, the administration faces a different set of constraints -- "whatever Ben Nelson (and now Scott Brown) wants."

In conflating all these areas and all these commentators who have commented on different aspects of those areas, Greenwald uses the unfortunate rhetoric of, "Don't listen to these people, the people who claim to know things about how the presidency and Congress work. Don't evaluate their arguments on the merits. They are disreputable people, and you should not let them trouble your brains with their 'logic.' The problem is always that Obama is not pure enough or enough of a fighter. Oh, and the public agrees with us on everything, really!" This is demagoguery. I wish he would've stuck to his accurate point that the "weak president" folks are underselling Obama's power over civil liberties policy.

Doesn't the Green Lantern have some sort of inability to destroy things that are colored yellow? I think that was why the Green Lantern couldn't kill Doomsday and maybe why the GOP is pushing these t-shirts.


Sure enough, according to Wikipedia, the Green Lantern's power ring is ineffective against yellow objects. There's also this arresting information about Parallax: "Because Parallax is a manifestation of fear, and yellow, none of the other Green Lanterns, including Hal, could harm Parallax and, therefore, came under his control." So if I have this Green Lantern analogy right, Rahm Emanuel is Parallax.

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