Is the left turning on President Obama? The New York Times on his anti-terrorism data collection program: “The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue. Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it.”
Speaker of the House John Boehner wants it to be known Republicans aren’t turning away from jobs. “Republicans have a plan for economic growth and job creation; solutions like making our tax code simpler and fairer, expanding American energy production, reigning in burdensome red tape, lowering health care cost, and helping to expand mortgage for American manufacturers and small businesses, just to name a few. These are commonsense solutions that will help create an environment where we’re going to get more jobs and expand opportunities for all Americans.”
As a result of the Iraq War, Iraq is turning back into the Garden of Eden: “The lush marshes of Iraq are regarded by some as the original Garden of Eden, but they were drained and decimated by Saddam Hussein. Now a major restoration programme has seen people and wildlife return to one of the world’s most famous wetlands…. Next time I hear bad news about Iraq I will remember … the courage of the people who love their heritage. They really wanted to make a difference and so made possible the rehabilitation of these wild reed beds — these world famous wetlands.”
Americans aren’t turning into saps. They’ve figured out what is going on. “Sixty-eight percent of respondents — 80 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of independents — said they think the IRS targeting was motivated by politics, rather than adherence to the tax code policy. But while forty-four percent think the Obama administration had a hand in the targeting, 40 percent said they believe the agency acted on its own.” Forty-six percent of independents think the administration was involved.
The Verizon data collection story is turning into a feeding frenzy. But understanding the context is important: “It seems to come from the court established to oversee intelligence gathering that touches the United States. Right off the bat, that means that this is not some warrantless or extrastatutory surveillance program. The government had to convince up to a dozen life-tenured members of the federal judiciary that the order was lawful. You may not like the legal interpretation that produced this order, but you can’t say it’s lawless. In fact, it’s a near certainty that the legal theory behind orders of this sort has been carefully examined by all three branches of the government and by both political parties.” Read the whole thing.
Turning from “Bush betrayed our values to “What a great idea!”: “Despite his clear and popular promises to the contrary, President Obama has not shifted the balance between security and freedom to a more natural state — one not blinded by worst fears and tarred by power grabs. If anything, things have gotten worse.” Or, from the perspective of hawks, the president has wised up and needs to apologize to the Bush administration.
As many of us said, the turning point for Obama was the fiscal-cliff deal. “Instead of getting his tax increase — possibly a more substantial one — in the context of a comprehensive budget deal, what he got was a relatively insignificant tax hike as part of a deal to permanently extend almost all of the Bush-era rates. There’s no way to spin that into a major Obama victory…. The president had his opportunities to take action to reduce the risks of a debt-induced economic crisis. He chose instead to put other priorities ahead of forging a deal with his adversaries. For that, he will rightly be held accountable by those writing the history of his presidency.” Read the whole thing.