. . . I would suggest that Obama contemplate one little thing before he decides to try to find "middle ground" on torture. It is a trap. If he continues to torture in any way or even tacitly agrees to allow it in certain circumstances, the intelligence community will make sure it is leaked. They want protection from both parties and there is no better way to do it than to implicate Obama. And the result of that will be to destroy his foreign policy.
If the man who represents the second chance this country's been given around the world to repudiate the horrors of the Bush years is revealed to have perpetuated the same horrors, his credibility and foreign policy will be in shambles. And there are many people buried in the intelligence and military establishments who would be happy to make sure that happens.
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The nation is confused and scared about their economic security. They are embarrassed and angry at what the Republicans did. In fact, it seems that I heard somebody recently talking about how they desperately wanted ... change. I guess that's a word that's open to interpretation, but it seems to me that it's at least possible that they meant they wanted Obama to change the policies of the Bush administration.
. . . it's been so bizarre listening to Beltway pundits, along with some of the hardest-core Obama followers, acting as though they've discovered some brand new exotic elixir -- the most important discovery since the Fountain of Youth -- with all of these tired buzzphrases about centrism, post-partisan transcendence, and "competence over ideology." These are the same things Democrats have been saying and doing since the early 1980s...
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In fairness, Obama has long made clear that this is the approach he intends to take to governing. After all, this is someone who, upon arriving in the Senate, sought out Joe Lieberman as his mentor, supported Lieberman over Ned Lamont in the primary, campaigned for Blue Dogs against progressive challengers, and has long paid homage to the Beltway centrism and post-partisan religion. And you can't very well place someone in a high-ranking position who explicitly advocates rendition and enhanced interrogation tactics and then simultaneously lead the way in criminally investigating those who authorized those same tactics.
So Obama can't be fairly criticized for hiding his devotion to this approach. But whatever else one wants to say about it, one cannot call it "new." This is what Democrats have been told for decades they must do and they've spent decades enthusiastically complying.