May
20
2009

Media Cheer Obama Moves Toward Bush's 'Center'

Salon's Glenn Greenwald (5/19/09, ad-viewing required) "gives the lie to the collective national claim that we learned our lesson and are now regretful about the Bush/Cheney approach to terrorism":

Republicans are right about the fact that while it was Bush officials who led the way in implementing these radical and lawless policies, most of the country's institutions–particularly the Democratic Party leadership and the media–acquiesced to it, endorsed it, and enabled it. And they still do.

Nothing has produced as much media praise for Obama as his embrace of what [the New Republic's Jack] Goldsmith calls the "essential elements" of "the Bush approach to counterterrorism policy." That's because–contrary to the ceremonial displays of regret and denouncements of Bush–the dominant media view is this: the Bush/Cheney approach to terrorism was right; those policies are "centrist"; Obama is acting commendably by embracing them; most of the country wants those policies; and only the far left opposes the Bush/Cheney approach.

Anyone who doubts that should consider this most extraordinary paragraph from Associated Press' Liz Sidoti:

Increasingly, President Barack Obama and Democrats who run Congress are being pulled between the competing interests of party liberals and the rest of the country on Bush-era wartime matters of torture, detention and interrogation of suspected terrorists.

Beyond quoting Sidoti having "described Obama's embrace of Bush's policies as 'governing from the center,'" Greenwald goes on to note that "her AP colleague Tom Raum said virtually the same thing today":

Internationally, Obama reversed course and is seeking to block the court-ordered release of detainee-abuse photos, revived military trials for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay and is markedly increasing the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan….

Still, even though Obama may be irritating liberal purists on both national security and domestic policy, he has no real choice but to move toward the middle.

Greenwald quips that "apparently, Bush/Cheney terrorism policies are Centrist. Who knew?"