The Baby and the Bath Water: Obama and Bush

I said it before and I will say it again: President Obama will not be able to affect change, to act on his national and international agenda, until he confronts, corrects and possibly punishes the ghosts of the Bush/Cheney romp of the last eight years.   It is unfortunate that President Obama has these stumbling blocks in front of him.  Nevertheless, those are the facts and he must do the laundry before he can wear clean clothes.  Not only was he left a mess to pick up after, but also he faces current problems the likes of which we have never seen before.  However, it is just as imperative that he not throw out the baby with the bath water.   Thus, he walks a fine line between political overreaction and common sense, while always cognizant of the needs and safety of our country.

Frank Rich of the New York Times writes of this dilemma, this inability of President Obama to “turn the page” on Bush/Cheney:

Regarding the attention focused on Nancy Pelosi this week as to whether or not she was briefed about waterboarding, some people claim this is just a distraction invented by the GOP to take some of the firestorm of an illegal war and foist it on a Democrat, any Democrat.    Perhaps this tactic is true, but once again, our lawmakers are placing more emphasis on procedure rather than on actual content and substance of policies.  Of course enhanced interrogation procedures took place and double of course, we all all knew it.  Whether this is individual or collective guilt is also irrelevant to the basic fact that it occurred.  On my Daily KOS diary (, the loudest complaints and deepest defense mechanisms have come from the left side of the aisle.  Their hissy fits and tantrums would almost make you think that they, through their inflammatory, unforgiving and unrelenting tirades against anyone in office, are the true savers of the world.  Hah!  Once again and similarly like the Republican politicos, these over-the-top liberals just seek to destroy.  They are their own worst enemies because they too, attack the overall structure of government rather than focus in on the specific issues of content.  To condemn everyone and everything equally has the same effect as doing nothing.

Who could have predicted a year ago, even six months ago, that the Veep who was virtually hidden away during his reign, would be the one person to relentlessly defend his job and all of the turmoil he created?   His attempts to defend HIS (and it was HIS) administration are just about to backfire and kick the entire GOP right in their behind.  Cheney prided himself on his foreign policy; he never gave a whit for domestic policy.  His current, incessant retaliatory behavior makes it very clear that he is only seeking to save himself, despite the fact that he is ripping apart this country even more so out of office than he did while in office. His own political allies are begging him to stop pouring oil on the fire.

So here is my burning question of the day: if the GOP believes that Pelosi was complicit in the waterboarding instances, what does that make Bush , Cheney and Rumsfeld?  Their desire for political validation and retribution is second only to their pure stupidity.  Certainly if Pelosi goes down over this issue, Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld should be beheaded.  No?

I do not know what the answer is.  President Obama is in the middle of a political, yet real, quagmire of sweeping up the mess of the last administration.  But it must be cleaned up or there will be no going forward.  On the specifics, I agree with our President that the recent photos of our torture methods should NOT be publicly released; as long as we have troops abroad, we must protect them.  Damn.  Let’s start bringing them home now.

So do we sweep the parlor clean across the board, or pick and choose?  The answer probably falls somewhere in the middle.  As horrendous as the atrocities and lies were during the last eight years, there are some tidbits that must remain confidential.  National security, though used as an excuse during the last administration, is a reality and certain information must be held back.  Perhaps even more important though, information that is released to the public should not be lies.

As for a “truth commission”, Washington wouldn’t know the meaning of “truth” if it smacked them squarely between the eyes.  So for starters, let’s call the investigation something else.  Also, President Obama must respond in a measured, methodical manner.  He can not just sweep all the Republicans under the carpet to clean house.  That would be as bad as what the Lefties are doing.

President Obama is a careful man, both in his personal demeanor and political ways.  He actually thinks before he acts, which is why I fought so hard for his election and support him even more today.  He inherited the wicked ways of Bush/Cheney and will have to put to rest the aftereffects of that administration before he can tackle his own agenda. Some how, some way, President Obama must find a way to turn the page on Bush/Cheney.  His path must be tempered with reason, caution and a concern to keep some specific information closely held, if for no other reason than for the security of our nation and the safety of our people.  Surely we can accept that.  Our empathy and patience can only help him.  We must prevent Obama’s administration from becoming simply a boomerang to the Bush administration.  Rome wasn’t built in a day nor did it fall in a day.  Chill.

Bottom line: I trust Obama.  No, it is not blind faith.  Rather, it is a trust in my own instincts that his intentions are good and true.


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