It’s getting more and more difficult to act as the liberal defender of the Obama administration. When both my blogmate and I are freely quoting lyrics from Vietnam era protest songs, and the lyrics seem just as appropriate in 2013 as in 1973, it’s just one more scary parallel to the Nixon years. I still believe that the Behghazi incident was more of a SNAFU than a deliberate cover-up. More on the order of willful ignorance than malevolent intent, but even so, willful ignorance is nothing to be proud of when you’re in the full-time business of trying to run a country. The practice of using government authority to investigate political rivals and even worse, to harass elements of the press who are rightfully doing their job investigating and exposing just such eggregious examples of malfeasance is even more chilling. Let me tell you, whenever folks like me over on the Left start hearing anything followed by the words, “in the interest of national security” our paranoia ratchets up three notches…and we’ve been hearing little else for the last several weeks.
Sadly, I can’t forcefully argue against the current characterization of Barack Obama as “Nixonian”. As anyone reading Left, Right, and Centered for the last few years can attest, I’ve often labelled Obama myself as “Bush-Lite”. That’s still orders of magnitude better than Bush himself, and it’s far preferable to Mitt Romney or any of the rest of the Insane Clown Posse the GOP offered up for consideration in 2012, but it’s way short of the “audacity of hope” we anticipated in 2008.
Barack Obama is most definitely not Richard Nixon, and he’s also not the George McGovern/Eugene McCarthy far left socialist idealogue the conservatives make him out to be. Guantanamo is still open for business, where at last count, 102 of 106 inmates began day 100 of a hunger strike, demanding nothing more than those things which are guaranteed to every prisoner in the US Constitution, like a lawyer, a trial, and a chance for freedom. Waterboarding and other forms of torture have ostensibly been banned under Obama, but with a considerable wink and nod, as some prisoners still suffer extraordinary rendition to places where such sanctions are not in place. Obama got us out of Iraq, but increased our presence in Afghanistan, where just yesterday the latest suicide bomber killed 14. Two US states have legalized recreational marijuana and a dozen others allow medical usage, but Eric Holder’s Department of Justice continues to harass and shut down medical marijuana pharmacies in California, and the president is largely silent on the whole issue. On the positive side of the ledger, the president finally had the guts to support gay marriage, and so far has stood behind a woman’s right to choose. But as far as caveat emptor goes, we Lefties are not getting exactly what we paid for in 2008 and again in 2012.
What’s the upshot of all this? Well if you enjoyed the total lack of progress on just about every economic and judicial and environmental front in the last five years, you’re gonna love the next three. Because Barack Obama may not be Richard Nixon, and he may not have a stained blue dress in a locked storage somewhere, but his hands are going to be tied and his attention diverted for the rest of his term. And in 2016 Chris Christie will probably be down to a buck seventy-five. Then we’re in real trouble.