Obama's First 3 Big Mistakes

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President Obama will make political decisions not everyone will agree with. He will make policy decisions many who don't understand them, or, some who do, will disagree with. These are inevitable. But, there are 3 mistakes he has demonstrated a true lack of judgment over, that will plague him until amended. They are Geithner, steering clear of pursuing Bush administration alleged violations of law and treaty, and his reservation on the disposition of GITMO detainees.

Geithner
The details of Obama's selection of Tim Geithner for Treasury Secretary are now well published. At the heart of the criticism however, is Obama's judgment, not Geithner's beating the system. Geithner committed no crime which can be prosecuted, the statue of limitations ran out. Obama referred to Geithner's beating the IRS at the legal game as an embarrassment. It is far more than that. For a president to lead a united nation, that president needs the trust and confidence of a united people.

Appointing a person who beat the U.S. government out of taxes, got away with it, then volunteered to make good on those back taxes as the price to acquiring a position of power over the nation's finances, demonstrates the kind of absence of sound judgment Pres. GW Bush became known for. It speaks to Obama's willingness to overlook corruption if it serves Obama's ends. That is the heart of the issue of Tim Geithner, and it is one black mark on the character and integrity of this new president, whom so many placed so much faith and trust in.

Bush Admin. Prosecution
Pressured by both the Left and Independents to actively pursue violations of law and treaty committed by members of the Bush Administration, Pres. Obama has responded only by saying he intends to pursue the needs of the nation going forward, and regards action directed at the past as not a good use of his time or efforts. Does Pres. Obama truly intend to maintain and enforce the laws for the common folk, while maintaining virtual immunity from enforcement for those holding his own position and those under him? How is this any better than dual justice system practiced by the Bush administration?

It is one thing if Pres. Obama were to indicate that his time at present must be focused on the emergency needs of the nation, and that pursuit of law enforcement with the Bush Administration will have to take a lower priority. But, that is not the message he is sending. By saying we need to focus on the future and not the past, he is, in fact, reserving the immunity agreement between chief law enforcement officers of the nation that they will not prosecute each other, in order to protect themselves. This one law for the common folk and immunity from that law for Presidents and his administration, is clearly not what America's founding fathers, Declaration of Independence, or U.S. constitution contemplated as justice.

Every day that Pres. Obama refuses to commit to investigate violations by the Bush Administration is another day that Americans must ask if Obama does not intend to violate our laws himself, and is insuring his own immunity from investigation and prosecution after he leaves office. A nation of law, immediately converts to a nation of persons, when those in power can immunize themselves and others against the law, which ordinary citizens are punished for violating.

More specifically, Glenn Greenwald lays out a very specific case on why Pres. Obama's judgment is seriously flawed here by making the mandatory legal case for Obama being forced to prosecute the Bush Administration for torture. This is a must read argument despite appearing on Salon.com.

GITMO Detainees.
Announcing the closing down of the Guantanamo Prison facility in Cuba received bi-partisan praise and international support. However, Pres. Obama has painted himself into a corner without a saw to cut an exit in the wall by making the announcement with no answer as to what to do with those prisoners who are too dangerous to let go, and whose treatment may just set them free if they are tried in U.S. courts of law, or whose testimony may compromise national security. It is difficult for this writer to come up with an answer as to how Obama could both announce the expected and demanded closing of GITMO and have an answer to the disposition of all the prisoners therein so early in his administration.

Nonetheless, it represents a judgment call that will be riddled and ridiculed by critics for years, until some solution is finally rendered, hopefully, one which will comport with U.S. law and fundamental principles. Let us not forget how we now condemn Bush for making a decision and worrying about the details later, like invading Iraq. We do not want another president who makes decisions without having answers and remedies for the consequences of those decisions. An excellent discussion of some of the problems attending the closing of GITMO can be found in Paul Koring's article at the Globe.

Obama's Honeymoon
This writer became an Obama supporter early on in the campaign season recognizing real potential and gifts in this President to lead differently and better than his predecessors in these most trying of times. Obama was honest in repeating many times that his administration will experience mistakes and mis-starts. Whether at the end of his presidency that honesty continues to appear honest, or words of a politically saavy candidate paving defenses for himself in anticipation of his levels of incompetence, remains to be seen. Suffice to say, this writer who has remained both hopeful and skeptical of the potential of Obama, has now moved to being a tad more skeptical.

I define a presidential honeymoon as poll numbers that remain high due to the fact that the general public does not follow the details presidential actions once a new president is elected. This writer never intended to give Pres. Obama a honeymoon. My taxes are paying his salary and perks from day one. I expect my money's worth. That said, I also am not so naive as to believe any president has the potential of meeting all the people's expectations all the time. Pres. Obama has 3 years and 7 months to prove his overall worthiness as president to the majority of voters. If there is any real honeymoon, that is it, granted in the Constitution to every president.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on January 24, 2009 7:21 PM.

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