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  1. #1
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    Obama Leaves Door Open To Investigating Bush, But Wants To "Look Forward"

    Obama Leaves Door Open To Investigating Bush, But Wants To "Look Forward"
    January 11, 2009 11:10 AM

    Responding to the most popular inquiry on the "Open for Questions" feature of his website, Barack Obama said on Sunday that he is "evaluating" whether or not to investigate potential crimes of the Bush administration, but that he was inclined to "look forward as opposed to looking backwards."

    The answer was delivered during an interview to This Week With George Stephanopoulos. But the question itself has been weeks in the work.

    The Obama transition team, as part of its efforts to open up the political process, had allowed web users to vote on questions for the incoming administration to field. To the top rose a query from Bob Fertik, president of Democrats.com and a former Clinton White House technology official, asking whether the incoming administration would appoint a special prosecutor to "independently investigate the greatest crimes of the Bush administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping."
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    There was a really interesting article in Time about this regarding Bush's legacy of torture. They said it might be prudent of Obama to pardon Bush, because then it's a permanent, unspinnable record that Bush in fact authorized torture.
    "Compromise, hell! That's what has happened to us all down the line -- and that's the very cause of our woes. If freedom is right and tyranny is wrong, why should those who believe in freedom treat it as if it were a roll of bologna to be bartered a slice at a time?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by blenderboy5 View Post
    There was a really interesting article in Time about this regarding Bush's legacy of torture. They said it might be prudent of Obama to pardon Bush, because then it's a permanent, unspinnable record that Bush in fact authorized torture.
    That makes some sense...

    But in any case, it really is time to move forward. Obsessing over Bush isn't going to get the economy moving again. It isn't going to deweaponize Hamas or Al Qaeda. Nor is it going to do anything beneficial to either Bush or Obama's records.

    I listened to Bush's final press conference today and I honestly feel for the guy. Sure he's made a lot of bad choices over the last eight years, but I do believe that he legitimately thought they were the right choices to make. He really does sound sorry for polarizing the nation and effectively turning people against the Republican party.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ari1013 View Post
    That makes some sense...

    But in any case, it really is time to move forward. Obsessing over Bush isn't going to get the economy moving again. It isn't going to deweaponize Hamas or Al Qaeda. Nor is it going to do anything beneficial to either Bush or Obama's records.

    I listened to Bush's final press conference today and I honestly feel for the guy. Sure he's made a lot of bad choices over the last eight years, but I do believe that he legitimately thought they were the right choices to make. He really does sound sorry for polarizing the nation and effectively turning people against the Republican party.
    You and I saw a different presser. He is really unhappy about the polarization, but I never heard him take one iota of responsibility for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cabernetluver View Post
    You and I saw a different presser. He is really unhappy about the polarization, but I never heard him take one iota of responsibility for it.
    He did say he was sorry about the rhetoric. Though he never apologised about the "Democrat Party" line.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ari1013 View Post
    He did say he was sorry about the rhetoric. Though he never apologised about the "Democrat Party" line.
    That is exactly what he said, then he went on to say how he never used it, but kind of passed up on the responsibility of his staff using that kind of rhetoric. He was the origianal let's compromise, do it my way, guy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ari1013 View Post
    That makes some sense...

    But in any case, it really is time to move forward. Obsessing over Bush isn't going to get the economy moving again. It isn't going to deweaponize Hamas or Al Qaeda. Nor is it going to do anything beneficial to either Bush or Obama's records.

    I listened to Bush's final press conference today and I honestly feel for the guy. Sure he's made a lot of bad choices over the last eight years, but I do believe that he legitimately thought they were the right choices to make. He really does sound sorry for polarizing the nation and effectively turning people against the Republican party.
    I understand what you're saying in your first full paragraph, and I would agree with you for the most part. But take a moment and think about how easy and non-time consuming it would be for Obama to appoint an independent investigator to look over the presidential records himself. It would not be on the President to look into it himself, thus alleviating the trouble of getting "the economy moving again" or "deweaponiz[ing] Hamas or Al Qaeda." I wouldn't mind seeing the Bush administration paying for their eight years in office.

    As for the second paragraph, I agree whoelheartedly with cab. He looked upset that his party is in trouble, due in large part to his and his administration's actions, but in no way did I see him take ANY responsibility for anything he has ever been accused of doing. And to me, that doesn't deserve pity in the least.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CuseDude87 View Post
    I understand what you're saying in your first full paragraph, and I would agree with you for the most part. But take a moment and think about how easy and non-time consuming it would be for Obama to appoint an independent investigator to look over the presidential records himself. It would not be on the President to look into it himself, thus alleviating the trouble of getting "the economy moving again" or "deweaponiz[ing] Hamas or Al Qaeda." I wouldn't mind seeing the Bush administration paying for their eight years in office.

    As for the second paragraph, I agree whoelheartedly with cab. He looked upset that his party is in trouble, due in large part to his and his administration's actions, but in no way did I see him take ANY responsibility for anything he has ever been accused of doing. And to me, that doesn't deserve pity in the least.
    Oh of course Obama wouldn't be doing it himself. What I meant was that the whole matter would just be a big distraction and potentially cost Obama a bit of political capital -- that's where Obama loses out of solving real crises.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ari1013 View Post
    That makes some sense...

    But in any case, it really is time to move forward. Obsessing over Bush isn't going to get the economy moving again. It isn't going to deweaponize Hamas or Al Qaeda. Nor is it going to do anything beneficial to either Bush or Obama's records.

    I listened to Bush's final press conference today and I honestly feel for the guy. Sure he's made a lot of bad choices over the last eight years, but I do believe that he legitimately thought they were the right choices to make. He really does sound sorry for polarizing the nation and effectively turning people against the Republican party.
    Sorry Ari, there is to much pain in this country. Wounded soliders from Iraq to a little old lady, who can't sell her home (my mom). I have family members who waited days for relieve in New Orleans after Katrina. We went days without knowing wheter they were dead or alive. So alot of his "thinking he was doing the right thing" isn't good enough. If republicans have a bad taste in their mouth about Clinton's bj, think about what I taste in my mouth about this fumble-butt, mentally challange buffoon. I won't bash Bush no more in this forum, but my people aren't going to forget about Bush for a long time and definitely staying in the democrat (lesser of two poisons) camp. Yeah, he is sorry he messed up his place in history and his party. A real man stands up and admitts his mistakes. Guess being president for some means punking out.
    Last edited by WES445; 01-15-2009 at 11:14 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WES445 View Post
    Sorry Ari, there is to much pain in this country. Wounded soliders from Iraq to a little old lady, who can't sell her home (my mom). I have family members who waited days for relieve in New Orleans after Katrina. We went days without knowing wheter they were dead or alive. So alot of his "thinking he was doing the right thing" isn't good enough. If republicans have a bad taste in their mouth about Clinton's bj, think about what I taste in my mouth about this fumble-butt, mentally challange buffoon. I won't bash Bush no more in this forum, but my people aren't going to forget about Bush for a long time and definitely staying in the democrat (lesser of two poisons) camp. Yeah, he is sorry he messed up his place in history and his party. A real man stands up and admitts his mistakes. Guess being president for some means punking out.
    Oh come on, when have we ever forced a president to admit he was wrong? Not even Nixon ever admitted he was wrong in his actions. It just doesn't happen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ari1013 View Post
    That makes some sense...

    But in any case, it really is time to move forward. Obsessing over Bush isn't going to get the economy moving again. It isn't going to deweaponize Hamas or Al Qaeda. Nor is it going to do anything beneficial to either Bush or Obama's records.

    I listened to Bush's final press conference today and I honestly feel for the guy. Sure he's made a lot of bad choices over the last eight years, but I do believe that he legitimately thought they were the right choices to make. He really does sound sorry for polarizing the nation and effectively turning people against the Republican party.
    I've been wanting to reply to this for a while, but couldn't pin down exactly the problem I had with "moving forward".

    Yglesias (in response to Krugman) finally found the words for me that I had been unable to express precisely myself as to why "moving forward" should not in absolutist terms be the thing to focus on:

    Above the Law?

    What Krugman said:

    Last Sunday President-elect Barack Obama was asked whether he would seek an investigation of possible crimes by the Bush administration. “I don’t believe that anybody is above the law,” he responded, but “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.”

    I’m sorry, but if we don’t have an inquest into what happened during the Bush years — and nearly everyone has taken Mr. Obama’s remarks to mean that we won’t — this means that those who hold power are indeed above the law because they don’t face any consequences if they abuse their power.
    And, look, the idea of enforcing the laws inherently involves the idea of looking backwards. If John Yoo walked down Pennsylvania Avenue and shot a guy in the head, we wouldn’t say “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards” even though it would be as true as ever that it’s important to look forward. And more than one person has died as a result of Bush-era torture policies. The idea of an accountability-free executive is bound to have some appeal to a new administration. On the one hand, embracing it earns you plaudits for bipartisanship. On the other hand, you’re the executive now, so why not embrace it? But for the rest of us it’s not such a great deal.

    UPDATE: And recall Brian Beutler’s point here that the illegality of, say, waterboarding was an established principle of American law for decades before Bush came around. We tried Japanese soldiers as war criminals for doing it during World War II. And it’s not like we took “well you have to understand, the Americans were a serious security threat” to be a viable defense.
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    I'm not sure if anyone else saw O'Reilly last night, but the hypocrisy of this man was on full display. He went on railing against how ridiculous it is that Pelosi says she would like to leave the door open to investigating crimes committed by the administration and how detrimental and worthless it would be to do so. In the same show, in discussion with Karl Rove, he was drilling him on why the Bush administration did not investigate Clinton's pardon of Mark Rich and why they didn't look into whether any crimes were committed. hilarious. does it get any more partisan,double-standard, and hypocritical than that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DenButsu View Post
    I've been wanting to reply to this for a while, but couldn't pin down exactly the problem I had with "moving forward".

    Yglesias (in response to Krugman) finally found the words for me that I had been unable to express precisely myself as to why "moving forward" should not in absolutist terms be the thing to focus on:
    Yglesias always over-generalizes. I have no problems with investigating crimes. But there's really nothing Bush did that can be considered an outright crime. A circumvension, yes. But then again, Congress went along for the ride and simply changed the laws to suit the president.

    It's not worth obsessing over because nothing's going to come of it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ari1013 View Post
    Yglesias always over-generalizes. I have no problems with investigating crimes. But there's really nothing Bush did that can be considered an outright crime. A circumvension, yes. But then again, Congress went along for the ride and simply changed the laws to suit the president.

    It's not worth obsessing over because nothing's going to come of it.
    Just off the top of my head... illegal wiretapping? A massive, organized unlawful invasion of Americans' privacy surely merits being looked at.
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    After Clinton's trouble, we don't need another dog and pony show in DC. It's polarizing, ill use of time when, like ari's posted, we got more pressing things to deal with. I don't want to see a repeat of Clinton's last term. Let the republican continue to shoot themselves in the arse, while Obama work on the counrty's ills.

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