Sunday, April 26, 2009

Compartmentalizing

Candidate Barack Obama:

"I think it is going to be part of the president’s job to be able to deal with more than one thing at once.’’ (September 24, 2008 on why John McCain was wrong to believe the presidential debate should be canceled in the midst of the the debate over the bailout/rescue bill debate)

Ladies and Gentlemen, President Barack Obama:

"When you're president, you've got to walk and chew gum at the same time." (March 19, 2008, on addressing energy, health care, and immigration in the midst of economic crisis).

And a White House official who was present at a meeting President Obama held with congressional leaders (emphasis mine):

"The president said that given all that’s on the agenda and the pressing issues facing the country, that a backward-looking investigation would not be productive. The president was very clear … that he believes it’s important that there’s not a witch hunt” (April 23, 2009, on the possibility of a congressional inquiry into Bush-era torture).

It's distressing to hear a Democrat- and a former law school professor, at that- characterize the search for truth as "a witch hunt." Especially because it wouldn't be the President or his economic team that would be delving into such arcane, niggling concepts as accountability and the rule of law, as Paul Krugman explained in his New York Times column of April 23:

Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, wouldn’t be called away from his efforts to rescue the economy. Peter Orszag, the budget director, wouldn’t be called away from his efforts to reform health care. Steven Chu, the energy secretary, wouldn’t be called away from his efforts to limit climate change. Even the president needn’t, and indeed shouldn’t, be involved. All he would have to do is let the Justice Department do its job — which he’s supposed to do in any case — and not get in the way of any Congressional investigations.

I don’t know about you, but I think America is capable of uncovering the truth and enforcing the law even while it goes about its other business.


And if we're not so capable, we have even bigger problems than condoning waterboarding, beatings, electric shock, sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation, and sodomy.

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