Commentary Magazine


Reaction to the President

Republicans, unlike the Left, are reacting to the president’s flip-flop on the photos with restraint. Sen. Mitch McConnell put out a brief statement, “I agree with the President that the release of these photos would serve no purpose other than to put our troops in greater danger. The President made the right decision and I applaud him for it.”

In a conference call this afternoon Senator Saxby Chambliss was similarly complimentary, saying that the original decision “was unwise” and that he was “pleased to see [Obama] reverse himself.”  On the topic of Guantanamo, Chambliss was less circumspect. He said the decision to close Guantanamo showed “a lack of experience and immaturity” by the administration which was attempting, he said “to satisfy the far Left.”

But his harshest language was reserved for the Democrats’ efforts to investigate and potentially prosecute Bush administration attorneys Jay Bybee and John Yoo who drafted the now-released interrogation memos: “I think it’s atrocious for anyone to even think in that direction. . . That’s going to shut the door on a lot of people even coming in the door [to government service].”

Of course the meltdown on the Left is well underway. The cognitive dissonance is reaching new heights. An example: a devoted reader of the maternity expert of the Atlantic passes on this curious post in which the final italicized sentence was later deleted without explanation:

From extending and deepening the war in Afghanistan, to suppressing evidence of rampant and widespread abuse and torture of prisoners under Bush, to thuggishly threatening the British with intelligence cut-off if they reveal the brutal torture inflicted on Binyam Mohamed, Obama now has new cheer-leaders: Bill Kristol, Michael Goldfarb and Max BootYep: that’s why he was elected — to continue, deepen and protect the legacy of George W. Bush.

Perhaps it is too bitter a pill to swallow that the Left’s messiah has now (to a greater degree than they could ever have imagined) adopted many of the positions of their arch-enemy George Bush. But the Left should take heart: there’s no sign, as Abe said, that these decisions are based on any well-founded or lasting world view. Tomorrow is always another day, and perhaps he will throw some bones to the frothing Left once again.

But maybe, just maybe, the president has figured out that wrecking our defenses to score points with the netroot base is a poor modus operandi for the commander-in-chief. If the team of Kristol, Godfarb, and Boot carries more weight with this administration than Sullivan, Klein, and Yglesias, we can rest easier.

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