Thursday, April 16, 2009

In Praise of Obama

I did not want to have Barack Obama elected President. I dreaded the thought. Many of my fears have been realized. As his socialist vision is imposed on us, it will stifle innovation, repress freedom, increase dependency on government, deaden our nation’s unique vibrancy and diminish its greatness. However, I consoled myself and still do, that there was potential for some good to come out of an Obama Presidency. I saw three positive aspects.
The first, of course, is that we finally have a black President. This achievement greatly contributes to our ongoing process of righting some of the terrible wrongs of our past – slavery, segregation, discrimination. And as an intelligent, hard worker who showed that a black man could succeed in this country, (a wild understatement), Obama could be a role model to those blacks who reject the path he took because they believe there’s no hope following it. [During the campaign, Obama was interviewed on a black TV network. He was asked if he thought that young black males should lift their drawers – referring to the current style of wearing pants below the hips. Obama said that with all the world’s problems, there are far more important things on which to focus. Then he added, “Having said that, I think they should lift their drawers”. It was a droll and subtle admonition to black youth – “Get serious”].
Obama’s election shows definitively that the U.S. is not the racist country so many leftists like to believe it is. Not that we really needed more proof. Exit polls taken on Election Day 1996 showed that had he run, Colin Powell would have trounced Bill Clinton. Finally, Obama’s election is a blow to the elitist snobbery of those so called enlightened European nations, which have never come close to electing a leader from a racial group representing 13% of their population.
Another positive element of Obama's election is personal. I am presently unemployed and considering retirement. I’m exactly the type of person who stands to gain since my income has dropped beneath Obama’s radar. I've become a member of one of the Democrats favored constiuencies - non-productive slackers. Let the hard working productive folks pay for Obama’s spending surge. Some of that spending will be sure to head my way too. I only hope he pays for that spending by cranking up taxes. The alternative - printing money - will devalue my lifelong savings.
The third benefit of a President Obama, and the one I want to concentrate on here, is that the Democrats are at last forced to take our present war with Radical Islam seriously.
Obama has two choices. He can continue to treat this existential threat as an annoying minor criminal matter. This is how it’s been historically viewed by Democrats and it resulted in the 9/11 attacks. Continuing along this path would almost inevitably lead to an even worse catastrophe than 9/11. The nation would be severely, maybe fatally, damaged and civil liberties (and the Democratic party) would be a thing of the past.
Fortunately for the country (and his party) Obama seems to have learned this lesson (notwithstanding his silly wordplay). He has committed to securing our success in Iraq and implementing an Iraq style surge in Afghanistan. Equally important, he’s reversed his campaign position on utilizing at least some of the security tools necessary to prevent another attack. Those two meetings he had soon after he was elected must have opened his eyes. First the National Security briefing, which has supposedly left people who’ve heard it deeply shaken with the knowledge of the dangers we face. Then his meeting with George Bush a few days later which confirmed and reinforced that message.
So now we have this from Fox News.

"I wasn't happy when George Bush asserted that he could do these things and I'm not happy that President Obama is now agreeing with George Bush," said Jane Hamsher of Accountability Now.
"Other than being flat wrong, the Obama administration's position is seriously disappointing to those Americans who listened to candidate Obama's promises of a new era of government accountability and transparency, said Kevin Bankston, senior attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
EFF sued the government claiming that AT&T and perhaps other telecommunications companies cooperated with it to allow access to people's phone and Internet records -- a so-called dragnet in a search for terrorist communications.
Obama criticized the cooperation during the campaign, calling it an abuse of authority and arguing that the Bush administration "undermined the Constitution."
Now, the Obama administration is trying to have that same lawsuit dismissed.
"For the Obama administration now to try to have our lawsuit dismissed based on the exact same state secrecy arguments is quite a turnaround and very disappointing," Bankston said.

That’s an interesting word Bankston uses. Transparency. Transparency, huh? Yeah, let’s be real transparent. I guess we should just open the doors to the CIA, FBI, NSC, the Pentagon and have walking tours. No area should be off limits. It would be a popular tourist attraction and help to reduce the debt. Imagine how much could be charged for a ticket to a top secret security meeting. Make available all of those agencies’ computer files too. From the comfort of our homes we could peruse all of the information we have on al-Queda, terrorist cells in our country, North Korea’s and Iran’s missile programs, our military capabilities, where our satellites and nuclear subs are located, tactics and strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan, where our spies are, etc, etc, etc. And while we’re at it, why not broadcast all of the security meetings and briefings held at the White House? The public has a right to know. Our civil liberties are at stake.
The fact is that "transparency" kills. National security requires thick opacity.
Defenders say that this is a ridiculous scenario and greatly exaggerates what civil liberties groups are trying to achieve. They’re just trying to keep the likes of Dick Cheney and Karl Rove off our phones and out of our bedrooms. There’s much more to it than that. These groups are trying to undermine our ability to fight the war. Why else would the ACLU be so concerned about protecting prisoners’ rights at Guantanamo? There are no American citizens incarcerated there. Isn’t it the American Civil Liberties Union? What business do they have advocating for foreign nationals who are violators of the Geneva Convention and are thus not protected by its provisions. This is from the ACLU web site.

In response to a troubling Wall Street Journal report that the Obama administration is considering withholding key information from Bush-era memos that authorized torture, the American Civil Liberties Union today once again urged the Justice Department to turn over the memos in full.

Can anyone doubt that the agenda of these “civil liberties” groups run starkly counter to America’s best interests? Yet they command almost universal respect from those on the left.
At least for now it appears that the President understands where our best interests lie and that he intends to support them. Anytime you’re accused by the ACLU of stonewalling the courts, supporting Bush, promoting torture, you know you’re doing something right.
All that’s left is for Obama now is to apply some of his newfound real world understanding beyond homeland security and into his dealings with unsavory regimes like Iran, North Korea and Russia. He should also follow Mort Kondracke’s suggestion and give his predecessor a well deserved apology.

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