Obama and the Angry Mob

Barack Obama's flirtations with public outrage threaten to undo American political culture.

Unlike candidate Barack Obama, President Barack Obama has been unable to use mob anger to his advantage. The White House position on a comprehensive release of terrorist interrogation materials and on potential prosecution of Bush administration officials is incoherent and stultifying. Casting himself as restorer of national decency, Obama first denounced tough interrogations as a betrayal of American ideals. Yet he recommended “reflection, not retribution,” vowing to “move forward” and not prosecute interrogators because “nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.” However, days later, he decided that laying blame for the past is actually up to the discretion of the attorney general and it was therefore best the president not “pre-judge” the matter.

The salivating hordes pounced. But criminal proceedings risk tearing the country apart, vindicating those who were casually defamed, and even redounding poorly upon Obama intimates and other Democrats. A more thorough airing of details around CIA interrogations has revealed that controversial methods were both effective and widely encouraged by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

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Obama and the Angry Mob

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