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Obama - What is wrong with the Republican Party?

When Barrack Obama announced his Presidential candidacy in Springfield, I had the particular misfortune of watching Howard Fineman, the extremely liberal commentator on MSNBC, compare the Illinois Democrat to Abaham Lincoln. As Lincoln united America, Fineman gushed, Obama can unite the world.

A column today in Boston Globe today compares Obama to Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Thomas Jefferson.

The editorialist at the Globe reveals just how over the edge he is when he states: "The Bush administration has collapsed on so many fronts that Republican officeholders up for re election will be torn between saving their own necks and remaining loyal to the hard-core base. Eight or nine Republican Senate seats could be at risk." Apparently the booming economy and peace with North Korea constitute collapse?

In any event, however, for two years, the Republican Party has let Obama receve fawning coverage by the media. No Presidential candidate of either party has ever feted like Obama. Lincoln? Jefferson? FDR? RFK? Martin Luther King, Jr? Many conservatives, with their myopic view of politics and policy, view Hillary Clinton as the greatest threat to the Republican Party. It's utter nonsense. Clinton would raise lots of money, but it's hard to see her assembling 270 electoral votes.

Unlike John Kerry, Obama does not have a liberal record of 20 years to attack. Unlike Al Gore, it will be hard to portray him as wooden. Obama will receive press coverage that will make that of John F. Kennedy seem critical in comparison. Republicans need to wake up, drop their defeatist attitude, and start demolishing the Illinois Democrat before it's too late.


Comments (63)

The sky is falling! The sky... (Below threshold)
Lee while laughing hysterically:

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! There's a black man running for President! The sky is falling!

"Republicans need to wake u... (Below threshold)
jp2:

"Republicans need to wake up, drop their defeatist attitude, and start demolishing the Illinois Democrat before it's too late."

For what? Wanting better health care? Thinking the war was a bad idea before it began and going on record to say it?

Be my guest...

How about some specifics? How would YOU slander him? How would you "demolish" him?


"demolishing" ...destructio... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

"demolishing" ...destruction is always best? ..I will find the youtube interview with Obama from 2002 where he says invasion may be necessary..but he doubts the intelligence and expresses concerns that the Administration has not planned for the aftermath..
Last week over 15,000 went to see and hear him in Austin TX ...no other candidate in either party has that going...
It is way too early for me to commit to any candidate. But both sides who try to play the "experience" card...well three names come to mind
George W. Bush
Bill Clinton
Jimmy Carter
JFK
..all were elected(sure we can debate how effective they were..but they WERE elected)

jp2, would it be too much t... (Below threshold)

jp2, would it be too much to ask that a serious candidate for President of the United States have a little more experience running a government than two years in the U. S. Senate?

Do you consider that slander?

Personally, I don't think it hurts to have him built up beyond his own capabilities -- it'll be that much more of a spectacular crash.

Here is the link<a h... (Below threshold)
nogopostal:
Hey Lee,Nice of yo... (Below threshold)
Kevin:

Hey Lee,

Nice of you to add race baiting into the mix here. I'll bite...do you think all of Hollywood would've shown up at his fundraiser if he were a white guy from Illinois who had been a Senator for two years?

Most Republicans, a few years ago, were rooting for a black woman to run for Prez in '08. So we're not afraid of a black man being President, we're afraid of a man who's more liberal than Hillary Clinton becoming President.

If the "white guy" had the ... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

If the "white guy" had the message, and yes the background, and his established commitment to issues moonbats believe in..ah yes..
I am not on the Obama train yet..
in a way a positive aspect of destructive attacks during the primary? ...of All candidates I will watch how they are handled..I want a President who can handle the pressure...
Does anyone think George Bush would face greater scrutiny now than in 1998-99?

Why should we step into the... (Below threshold)
David:

Why should we step into the buzzsaw of criticizing Senator Obama, when we can sit back and watch the CPDM (Clinton Personal Destruction Machine [tm]) take care of the problem for us?

As the late, sainted Calvin Coolidge said, when you see ten problems rolling down the road at you, nine of them will have rolled into the ditch by the time you need to act.

The best antidote for Obama... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

The best antidote for Obama is more Obama.

There's a reason the only things I know about him and his positions on issues is from information I've sought.

Instead of 'buzz' we need to see more actual Obama.

Obama does have a color pro... (Below threshold)
Michael:

Obama does have a color problem...he is GREEN. It will do him
in in the end no matter what the drones in the MSM say.

Apparently the boo... (Below threshold)
Publicus:
Apparently the booming economy and peace with North Korea constitute collapse?

The booming economy means nothing to voters if they feel they aren't sharing in it. And, I applaud Bush's attempts to deal with North Korea, and hopeful it holds...but I don't believe that's an issue that resonates with voters.

Of course, if Republicans think they're doing just great and the voters love 'em, and that they'll walk to victory, that fine with me. I know you're not saying that directly, but you seem to be implying they're in a very strong position. I don't think either party is in such a strong position----we seem to be divided near 50-50 as a country. In this situation, a very small advantage can make all the difference.

A recent poll found that Americans consider the war in Iraq the most important issue facing the nation today--by far. I don't know if I feel the same way, but that's the way voters feel.

Senator Obama is nothing mo... (Below threshold)
superdestroyer:

Senator Obama is nothing more than Dick Durbin in black face. Same prep school background, same Chicago Machine politics, same liberal leanings.

I doubt if 150 people would have shown up in Austin to hear Dick Durbin but they will show up to hear Senator Obama give a speech where makes the same proposals and offers the same solutions.


At said, I believe that Illinois does give a picture of the political future of America where minorities, special interest, and government employees will be able to deliver a majority for the Democrats, no matter who is running as the Republican.

wavemaker - Hate t... (Below threshold)
jp2:

wavemaker -

Hate to be picky - but it will actually be 4 years in the senate right? And how many in the legislature? Did you vote for Bush even though he had zero experience foreign policy wise? And that he had less governmental experience than Obama?

But yes, inexperience is a valid criticism. But if that's the best you have to "demolish" with, he'll be quite allright. And I think it's safe to say that he has handled his attackers very well thus far.

jp2, would it be t... (Below threshold)
Publicus:
jp2, would it be too much to ask that a serious candidate for President of the United States have a little more experience running a government than two years in the U. S. Senate?

I don't know how I feel about Obama, but his "lack of experience" doesn't bother me. The last time we elected a one-termer from Illinois, we got some guy named Lincoln. I'm certainly not saying Obama is Lincoln. But Bush wasn't all that experienced either, and...although I don't like his handling of his job, I don't think his relative inexperience is a problem

For whatever Bush is or isn... (Below threshold)
Kevin:

For whatever Bush is or isn't, he was governor of Texas (I believe two terms) and was part of the ownership for the Texas Rangers. I think I'd rate a governor over a Senator any day as far as experience.

Let Hillary bash him for a ... (Below threshold)

Let Hillary bash him for a while, and get the bad press for doing it. We have plenty of time to take down this Empty Suit. Remember the election is a Long Long Long time away.

Kevin --Well, the ... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Kevin --

Well, the plus of being a governor is executive experience. The plus of a senator is that includes foreign policy experience and, of course, experience with national issues.

I find ANY of that experience to be valuable...but I don't think it's a core reason for a vote. I would imagine that voters for Bush in 2000 liked his politics and probably his personality as well. They didn't say, "wow, he's a 2-term governor from Texas!" At least, that's my impression.

Basically, people who agree with Obama's positions and like his personality will, I think, vote for him. They're probably not going to care much that he was a senator rather than a governor.

All this talk about some in... (Below threshold)
J.R.:

All this talk about some inexperienced, yet articulate, and let's not forget part black (as if that is not a big deal), candidate is just too much right now. It is Feb. 07, the election is 1 year and 8 months away. Why should the Republicans feel like they need to discredit him now? The dem candidates are going to rip into each other, just as the republican ones will, in the short term. Let them have at it first.

Obama is a flash in the pan. He can't keep talking in a generalities like he does and expect to win over voters, let alone take command of the Presidential race.

Well, the plus of being ... (Below threshold)
J.R.:

Well, the plus of being a governor is executive experience. The plus of a senator is that includes foreign policy experience and, of course, experience with national issues.

Yes, that national experience certainly bodes well. That must be why so many Senators have been elected President in the past 40 years.

Personally, I think members of Congress look out only for themselves. Once elected they just try to stay in office. None of them are worth my vote for President.

Obama is a flash i... (Below threshold)
Publicus:
Obama is a flash in the pan. He can't keep talking in a generalities like he does and expect to win over voters, let alone take command of the Presidential race.

He may be a flash in the pan, but it's too early to tell. People tend to talk in generalities early in a presidential race, and get more specific as time goes by. Over time, we'll hear more from Obama a be better able to judge.

Yes, that national... (Below threshold)
Publicus:
Yes, that national experience certainly bodes well. That must be why so many Senators have been elected President in the past 40 years.

Do you think that senators haven't been elected president in recent years BECAUSE American's prefer governors?

"do you think all of Hol... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"do you think all of Hollywood would've shown up at his fundraiser if he were a white guy from Illinois who had been a Senator for two years?"

No doubt there are Hollywoodies who really like the idea of helping to elect the first black President of the United States, but if the white guy from Illinois had the same positions, popularity, charisma, experience, talent, intelligence, and electability -- the same ability to ignite a passion in America and the potential to pull this nation back together again -- would the liberals in Hollywood support him to the same extent... yes, absolutely.

Do I think there are Republicans and conservatives who would vote against Obama solely because he's black? Yes, absolutely, lots of them. I think any time you see people using language like "demolish" with respect to a fellow human being you've uncovered a hatred that runs deep. Just my opinion.

Hollywood's current love affair with Obama is, in part, a turn away from Hillary, which is part of a national Democratic movement that I've been predicting for the last several months.

Obama is today's angel, but a significant part of that is an effort by some to push Hillary away. Edwards, as I've also predicted for months now, is too old school, and doesn't have a prayer imho - and what we're seeing is Obama filling the vacuum. There's still lots of time for another viable Democrat to emerge, and I think we will see that, in addition to Gore who is lurking in the wings, of course.

At this point I think Obama has a real good shot at the Demo VP slot. Maybe he'll go all the way, but I haven't seen where he has what it takes yet. It could be Clinton/Obama, Gore/Obama or ???/Obama. That's my guess at this point.

"All this talk about som... (Below threshold)
Lee:

"All this talk about some inexperienced, yet articulate, and let's not forget part black (as if that is not a big deal), candidate is just too much right now."

Another illustration of my point. The fact that he's black has some conservatives and Republicans scared sh*tless.

Lee is right about the poss... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Lee is right about the possibility of Obama getting the VP nomination. It can be a good strategy for unknowns to run for president when they're early in their careers to GET KNOWN, and make a bigger run for the top job later.

I disagree with Lee that Re... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

I disagree with Lee that Republicans are scared of Obama BECAUSE he's black. The Republicans want to win the presidency; they're going to want the candidate that they feel most confident they can beat. They don't know who that is yet. Nobody does.

Senators/representatives jo... (Below threshold)
Diane:

Senators/representatives jobs (they are to represent) are much different than what the President (who is to lead) has to do. Some executive experience is very important to me in a presidential candidate, because....

1) The President is the only "president". Not just a part of a group of 100 or 435. So anything he/she does is so obvious. I.E., if Bush had been just a Senator/Rep..his poor speech would not have been an issue. I don't want my president to get 1st management experience while serving in office!

2) President has to appoint a cabinet & executive team--in other words needs to know how to put together a "company"--not just pick a couple of aides & a secretary or 2. Intelligence is helpful, but managerial experience really pays off (A lot of CEOs were not tops in academics, but great leaders)

3) Governors, execs of top American countries work with foreign leaders/companies/gov'ts probably more than most US Senators, unless the senators are on the Foreign Relations committee.

It is a shame Americans "feel" who they believe will be the best President, etc. and vote accordingly, instead of "thinking" who will be the best candidate.

Lee, why don't you talk to ... (Below threshold)

Lee, why don't you talk to Joe Biden about race relations. He seems to have the pulse of your party it seems.

Do you think that senato... (Below threshold)
J.R.:

Do you think that senators haven't been elected president in recent years BECAUSE American's prefer governors?

No, I think Americans are not impressed and do not like members of the Senate in general. And they would rather elect someone outside of the beltway.

just my opinion though.

Another illustration of ... (Below threshold)
J.R.:

Another illustration of my point

yeah, like you make valid points here, Lee.

The fact that he's black has some conservatives and Republicans scared sh*tless.

I didn't know Republicans were running against him yet. I think you meant to attack HRC, she's the only who's scared now.

I can tell you why the repu... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

I can tell you why the republicans are so flummoxed about Obama's popularity.

They can't understand why anyone who speaks in full English sentences and has great deal of confidence in who he is yet humble about his station in life and a progressive ideology about bringing all Americans to the table could possibly be attracting so much attention and that the thought of putting him up against McCain or Guiliani or Romney has them quaking in their boots.

Once President Obama has 8 years in the White House the notion of republican control of anything will be a far distant memory. By then the business of government by honesty will be such a radical departure from the beginning of this millenium that citizens will never again allow themselves to be so duped.

Thus the last desperate gasps are being heard now. Guaranteed there will even be some 30% dead enders who will be mesmerized by his qualities of honesty and forthrightness. A new air or respectability and dignity will be refreshing our land. America might even be able to hold her head high again.

OBAMA 08

"Civil" behavior...<p... (Below threshold)
Diane:

"Civil" behavior...

1)Bill Clinton spoke in full sentences and we understood him quite well.

2)"Progressive" idealogy is in the eye of the beholder.

3)George W Bush wanted to bring people to the table and not have a divided nation...he ran on that back in 1999---what President wouldn't want everyone on his/her side?

4)If Obama wins the presidency for 8 years & is awesome...then I don't care if the Republicans are in power---it's about the Nation not the party or the individual (that's why I still support us being in Iraq)

5)Those who are "duped" are those who believe Bush is a liar and not a man of integrity.

6)Many of us Americans hold our head high NOW...because we believe though our country makes mistakes, it is still the best place to live in the world---and there is absolutely nothing wrong with being the best!

Oh, and from what I can tel... (Below threshold)
Diane:

Oh, and from what I can tell I believe Obama is a very fine man...I just don't agree with his liberal ("progressive") agenda.

America might even... (Below threshold)
America might even be able to hold her head high again.

OBAMA 08
Posted by: civil behavior at February 24, 2007 10:09 PM

Obviously, you have some self-esteem issue going on, cuz I'm holding my head high just fine.

It's a shame you libs only seem to feel that way when you're in charge and not when there's someone else in the White House. This economy is booming and it's not backed up by a smoke and mirrors internet economy...but because the President is a Republican, you and your media ilk have fought tooth and nail to persuade EVERYONE that this country sucks, their income sucks and everything that goes on in it sucks.

I for one am more optimistic than ever...why aren't you guys? You don't laugh, outside of your little petty jokes that you share amongst each other.

Why all the hate lefties? Why do you hate living in this country so much? I'm not governed or cajoled or coerced to think or feel a certain way because of what Bush says or does...why are you guys feeling that way?

I don't feel like my rights are being violated on a daily basis and that I need more rights to protect me from everything. You guys do...why is that? What specific rights has Bush taken from you?

You get frothing at the mouth mad over the guy. Crissakes, lighten up why don't cha.

Who knows what's going to h... (Below threshold)
ryan a:

Who knows what's going to happen.

Here's my guess: HRC and Obama duke it out for a while, but then Obama folds. He then later resurfaces as Hillary's running mate. That's my guess right now, but dont quote me on it.

Reagan made people hold the... (Below threshold)
Jo:

Reagan made people hold their heads up high again, and the lefties hated him. So nice try civil. But wrong-o, as usual-o.

Regarding preferring govern... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Regarding preferring governors over senators...

Do you guys prefer Guiliani over McCain? Pataki over Brownback? Do any of you prefer a Republican senator over a governor?

For that matter, do you think that the governors on the Democratic side are that party's most qualified candidates? For example, Bill Richardson.

If so, why?

I'm curious about different opinions. (Hearing the same opinions is boring!)

I think that governors (and... (Below threshold)

I think that governors (and probably former Mayors) are prefered over Senators. I've heard it suggested that this is because being a Senator involves too much compromise. If so, perhaps Obama hasn't been one long enough to get disqualified because of it.

I've heard that it's because governors are in an executive role and Senators are not. I suppose this is a reason but not an overly large one.

My opinion is that as soon as someone goes to Washington people begin to see them as detatched from the rest of us. We vote for them again and again because we want our guy or gal to maintain our state's seniority, but in a sense they've changed residencies. We don't *trust* Washington D.C. We'd rather elect a minor governor from Arkansas or New Mexico. Locals might know better (Bill Richardson is my governor) but to everyone else they seem qualified enough and untainted.

Synova --I agree t... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Synova --

I agree that there's a "detached" thing that happens in Washington. I think it happens even to good people in Washington. The thing is, because politicians have to worry about crazy violent people shooting them, politicians only see people who have been "cleared". They don't see real people much. It's a systemic problem for which I don't see a solution. I find it sad.

A couple of points on the B... (Below threshold)

A couple of points on the Bush Governorship:

1) He was elected to two terms, but only served 1 1/2. After the 1998 election, he ran for, and was elected, president.

2) The Texas Governorship has less power than some other Governorships in that the Governor only appoints the Secretary of State. The remaining cabinet members are elected not appointed. While Bush certainly had to put together a team in Texas, it was a personal advisory and functional one (e.g. Director of Communications: Karen Hughes; Political Advisor Karl Rove), not a governing one, much like a current Senatorial Staff.

3) On Foreign Policy experience, I'll let Bush evaluate himself:

"I would rate myself as somebody who is going to have the best foreign policy team. But I'm a fast learner, and listen, I'm not going to play like I've been a person who's spent hours involved with foreign policy."

With one additional anecdote.

On the campaign trail, Bush was asked by a member of the Slovakian press how Bush would treat his native land as president. Bush replied: "The only thing I know about Slovakia is what I learned firsthand from your foreign minister that came to Texas, and I had a great visit with him. It's an exciting country. It's a country that's flourishing, and it's a country that's doing very well."

Nice answer. The only problem? "He didn't meet the foreign minister; he met the prime minister. And it wasn't Slovakia, but Slovenia."

Presidential affirmative ac... (Below threshold)
La Mano:

Presidential affirmative action.

Diane,1) That Bill ... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

Diane,
1) That Bill Clinton was a master of the language is well known. Other than the fact that he was unwilling to have his wife know he'd been blown by some young chick (which by the way marital infidelity is extrememly common in todays world) he was able to clearly articulate his positions to the public unlike the way Bush positions himself in three word mantras. (i.e. "stay the course") There is a difference.


2) "progressive" ideology means green energy is a priority not oil. It is the one thing that progressives know will solve many other problems. That's the "eye" one needs for the future and should have been implemented BEFORE an invasion into a sovereign nation that was not responsible for 9/11 nor had they invaded us.

3) George Bush lied about wanting to "be a uniter not a divider" when he claimed his base as the "have's and the have mores's". That excluded directly the majority of Americasn including yourself I would imagine. Guess you missed that.

4) Obama will be a great president. And a great president know it is suicide to continue to support the mission in Iraq. Don't extrapolate that not supporting the mission is not supporting the troops. That is just spin.

5) Bush IS a liar (the list is long) and "integrity" is earned not commissioned by assuming posture behind a desk space.

6) The best country in the world doesn't practice torture, renditions, deny habaes corpus, use the IMF to hijack developing countries, support theocracies with billions of dollars, dictate "zones" for free speech, etc etc. Again the list is long. The information age did one thing for those willing to avail themselves. It has busted the myth of American's practice of "democraacy" wide open.

7)And so your assessment is still "stay the course" and collective suicide is preferable to a progressive mandate? Wow, no wonder the republicans lost in Nov. We all must hope that most Americans though thoroughly uninformed have more common sense than to repudiate knowing what's good for them.

Lee has the problem of thin... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

Lee has the problem of thinking those on the right won't vote for a black man. Of course, he ignores the fact that until she made it clear she wouldn't run Condi Rice was in the top three potential candidates for the GOP. then again, Lee probably thinks she's not really black right?

As usual he is missing the point. Of all the whites I've heard be so ignorant as to say they won't vote for a black man they are all die hard Democrats.

No, Lee, the reason Obama's race plays a factor isn't because a few bigots won't for him. the issue is a lot of people on the left will vote FOR him because he is black without any consideration for positions on the key issues--and I'd day without a doubt there are far more racists that would vote for him being black than those racists voting against him for being black.

Yes, voting for someone because of their color is as racist as for against them for their color.

As to the "Senator vs Governor" I think it's clear that Governor's are preferred. Based on the last few Presidential elections you could go so far as saying Southern Governors are preferred.

civil behaviour - one probl... (Below threshold)
Michael:

civil behaviour - one problem with your supposition - Obama is not going to be President. Maybe some Dimo's are wild about him...but nobody else is.

Don't extrapolate ... (Below threshold)
Don't extrapolate that not supporting the mission is not supporting the troops. That is just spin.

This is probably one of the more irrational positions I hear coming from the left. The history of the left is to demonize the troops. The history of the left is let the U.N or NATO command our troops. The history of the left is to de-fund the troops.

Anytime I hear one of you libtards say you "support the troops", I take it with a grain of salt.

A detailed analysis on h... (Below threshold)

A detailed analysis on how Harvard Law Grad Obama lied about Habeas Corpus provisions of the Military Commisions Act can be found at: Porkopolis calls Bullshit on 'Rock-Star' Senator Barack Obama. It documents his statement in a radio interview in which Obama states:

...I think it was a sloppy piece of legislation. It was rushed in part to match the election schedule. And had we stepped back and thought this through there was a way of making sure that the military could do it's job in charging and trying those persons who seek to do us harm, but do so in a context was consistent with our core constitutional principles. This wasn't that bill. One of the most disturbing aspects of the legislation was the elimination for the first time in our history of the principle of Habeas Corpus. And those that are familiar with our jurisprudence know that Habeas Corpus predates the American Revolution; it's a principle going back to the 13th Century...

Obama's lie was refuted by Senators John McCain, John Warner and Lindsey Graham in a WSJ piece that stated:

Habeas Corpus : Another myth is that, under our bill, detainees would lose the basic right to challenge their imprisonment. Actually, both the Detainee Treatment Act and the Military Commissions Act allow an individual to challenge his status in administrative and judicial fora. These challenges are in excess of what our soldiers would be afforded as prisoners of war.

Faith: "No, Lee, the rea... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Faith: "No, Lee, the reason Obama's race plays a factor isn't because a few bigots won't for him. the issue is a lot of people on the left will vote FOR him because he is black without any consideration for positions on the key issues--and I'd day without a doubt there are far more racists that would vote for him being black than those racists voting against him for being black."

I agree there will be "some" on the left who vote for the man with his race as a high consideration -- and disagree that this will be "far more" than the racists who vote against him -- but it would seem to me the only people who would get upset about the possibility of Obama's race helping him are those who are opposed to people of his race getting elected, No?

Okay, let's jump ahead to N... (Below threshold)
John S.:

Okay, let's jump ahead to Nov 2008: it's Guiliani vs. Obama. The only question that remains is whether Obama loses 40 states or 49 states.

Go Obama!... (Below threshold)
sian:

Go Obama!

OBAMMA a pompus liberal cam... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

OBAMMA a pompus liberal camel jocky what a crock

Obama is also a arrogant li... (Below threshold)
Michael:

Obama is also a arrogant little pissant.

The definition of habeas co... (Below threshold)

The definition of habeas corpus is being able to file a writ with the court to challenge your imprisonment or the imprisonment of another. Barak Obama is correct in asserting that the prisoners at Guantanamo have been denied this right by passage of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 for the following reasons:

1) The Act explicitly stripped the detainees of any habeas rights until AFTER their Combatant Status Review Tribunal. Up until the tribunal is completed, they have no rights to petition or have a petition made on their behalf in front of any US Court. By any definition, that is removing that right for the current detainees.
2) Although the law provides for these tribunals, there is absolutely no deadline on when (or even if) they must be completed. Prisoners can be held indefinitely, without any habeas rights until the tribunal is completed. The president has the authority to create and use the military tribunals created in the MCA; he doesn't have to exercise that authority. Even if he does not, Section 7(e) prevents any habeas rights of any detainees.
3) Amendment S.AMDT.5087 was introduced to include habeas rights for detainees, but was defeated in the Senate. If true habeas rights were granted to these individuals, then what was the purpose of this amendment and why was it defeated?
4) Certainly, Obama is not the only one to take this view of the law. Arlen Specter (R), though he voted for the bill, doubted its Constitutionality, based on the denial of habeas corpus.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) voted for the bill after telling reporters earlier that he would oppose it because it is "patently unconstitutional on its face." He cited its denial of the habeas corpus right to military detainees. In an interview last night, Specter said he decided to back the bill because it has several good items, "and the court will clean it up" by striking the habeas corpus provisions.

The definition of habeas co... (Below threshold)

The definition of habeas corpus is being able to file a writ with the court to challenge your imprisonment or the imprisonment of another. Barak Obama is correct in asserting that the prisoners at Guantanamo have been denied this right by passage of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 for the following reasons:

1) The Act explicitly stripped the detainees of any habeas rights until AFTER their Combatant Status Review Tribunal. Up until the tribunal is completed, they have no rights to petition or have a petition made on their behalf in front of any US Court. By any definition, that is removing that right for the current detainees.
2) Although the law provides for these tribunals, there is absolutely no deadline on when (or even if) they must be completed. Prisoners can be held indefinitely, without any habeas rights until the tribunal is completed. The president has the authority to create and use the military tribunals created in the MCA; he doesn't have to exercise that authority. Even if he does not, Section 7(e) prevents any habeas rights of any detainees.
3) Amendment S.AMDT.5087 was introduced to include habeas rights for detainees, but was defeated in the Senate. If true habeas rights were granted to these individuals, then what was the purpose of this amendment and why was it defeated?
4) Certainly, Obama is not the only one to take this view of the law. Arlen Specter (R), though he voted for the bill, doubted its Constitutionality, based on the denial of habeas corpus.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) voted for the bill after telling reporters earlier that he would oppose it because it is "patently unconstitutional on its face." He cited its denial of the habeas corpus right to military detainees. In an interview last night, Specter said he decided to back the bill because it has several good items, "and the court will clean it up" by striking the habeas corpus provisions.

Sorry, the link above to th... (Below threshold)

Sorry, the link above to the amendment is broken. It should have been S.AMDT.5087

Joe Yangtree (February 26, ... (Below threshold)

Joe Yangtree (February 26, 2007 02:19 AM):

With regard to:

The definition of habeas corpus is being able to file a writ with the court to challenge your imprisonment or the imprisonment of another. Barak Obama is correct in asserting that the prisoners at Guantanamo have been denied this right by passage of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 for the following reasons:
=
1) The Act explicitly stripped the detainees of any habeas rights until AFTER their Combatant Status Review Tribunal. Up until the tribunal is completed, they have no rights to petition or have a petition made on their behalf in front of any US Court. By any definition, that is removing that right for the current detainees...

Former Federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy addresses this assertion that detainees are losing habeas rights in the piece entitled 'The New Detainee Law Does Not Deny Habeas Corpus':

...AL QAEDA TERRORISTS HAVE NO CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
=
First, Congress cannot "suspend" habeas corpus by denying it to people who have no right to it in the first place. The right against suspension of habeas corpus is found in the Constitution (art. I, 9). Constitutional rights belong only to Americans -- that is, according to the Supreme Court, U.S. citizens and those aliens who, by lawfully weaving themselves into the fabric of our society, have become part of our national community (which is to say, lawful permanent resident aliens). To the contrary, aliens with no immigration status who are captured and held outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, and whose only connection to our country is to wage a barbaric war against it, do not have any rights, much less "basic rights," under our Constitution.
=
Indeed, even when the Supreme Court, in its radical 2004 Rasul case, opened the courthouse doors to enemy fighters in wartime for the first time in American history, it relied not on the Constitution but on the federal habeas corpus statute. So put aside that Rasul was an exercise in judicial legerdemain whose holding depended on a distortion of both that statute and the long-established limitations on the Court's own jurisdiction (which does not extend outside sovereign U.S. territory to places like Guantanamo Bay, Cuba). Even in its willful determination to reach a result that rewarded al Qaeda's lawfare, the Court declined to rule that alien combatants have fundamental habeas rights. Instead, they have only what Congress chooses to give them -- which Congress can change at any time...

Porkopolis,The fir... (Below threshold)

Porkopolis,

The first thing that struck me about your two sources (McCarthy vs. McCain), is how radically they disagree on the importance of habeas. The first: "aliens with no immigration status who are captured and held outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, and whose only connection to our country is to wage a barbaric war against it, do not have any rights, much less "basic rights," under our Constitution." The second, "Another myth is that, under our bill, detainees would lose the basic right to challenge their imprisonment." So, which is it, basic right, or not? Your own experts, along with many others, can't seem to agree.

You quote McCarthy (the ex federal prosecutor) saying that this right does not exist. You seem to think that this makes what Obama said a lie, because his opinion of the law now differs from both you and McCain and McCarthy (even though the last two also don't agree). I'll counter with Jack Balkin (Professor of Constitutional Law at Yale) who believes that habeas is a constitutional right even for these detainees. Two of my links above (Greenwald and Feingold (lawyers, both)) make different forms of this argument. Finally, as I noted above, Specter is also in agreement that the removal of habeas has definite Constitutional problems. Even with all that, please note that Obama didn't even call the law Unconstitutional. He said it wasn't "consistent with our core constitutional principles".

So, what we really have here is a legal disagreement, not a lie, as you propose. I guess everyone that ever disagreed with you about anything is a **liar**, with pants constantly on fire.

Joe Yangtree (February 27, ... (Below threshold)

Joe Yangtree (February 27, 2007 01:25 AM):

With regard to the McCarthy vs. McCain argument: This post is entitled "Obama - What is wrong with the Republican Party?" and notes:

Republicans need to wake up, drop their defeatist attitude, and start demolishing the Illinois Democrat before it's too late.

I referred to the John McCain, John Warner and Lindsey Graham (all Republicans) opinion piece as a refutation of a policy argument Senators like Obama were making with regard to habeas and the Military Commissions Act. Obama was one of 34 senators that voted against it, and clearly the opinion piece was directed at him and the other 33 senators.

McCarthy's specific argument, which I agree with, were offered in direct response to your assertion that:

...The Act explicitly stripped the detainees of any habeas rights until AFTER their Combatant Status Review Tribunal...

Moreover, I stand by my liar accusation from my blog post. The evidence is that Obama asserted:

...One of the most disturbing aspects of the legislation [the Military Commissions Act] was the elimination for the first time in our history of the principle of Habeas Corpus...

Senator Obama...Harvard Law Grad Obama left the specific impression in his interview that a President never had to deal with the issue of habeas during a time of war; when in fact the President that called his very own state of Illinois home at one point (Lincoln) suspended Habeas Corpus during the Civil War.

Some might argue that "suspended" is not "elimination", but that's an argument that would have been lost on the thousands of individuals incarcerated as a result of the habeas suspensions.

If you don't agree with that, try the thought experiment of being one of the thousands imprisoned...pleading to see a judge...now explore how you would feel when told that your habeas rights have only been "suspended".

Actually, my take on Obama'... (Below threshold)

Actually, my take on Obama's statement was somewhat different. Since he was talking specifically about legislation and the Senate, I took "our history" to be the history of the Senate/Congress, not the history of America. Since, as you point out, the previous suspension was at the behest of President Lincoln, it was the first time the Congress was eliminating it through legislation. In any event, if this was the basis for believing Obama was a liar, it might make sense to actually include in in your WizBang post. You said, "Obama's lie was refuted by Senators John McCain,...". They said nothing about Lincoln and habeas. They, instead, disagreed with Obama on the interpretation and significance of the law. I think that I have shown amply that this is an honest disagreement, shared by many people, like just about any other position in politics or law.

As to the legislation stripping the detainees of habeas rights, I would think that the fact that it did so is rather obvious since habeas petititions were granted and hearings were held up to and including to the Supreme Court. That's the whole reason that the bill was passed in the first place. There is not much question that these men had habeas rights that were removed by this legislation.

Joe Yangtree (February 27, ... (Below threshold)

Joe Yangtree (February 27, 2007 11:45 PM):

The premise of the question put to Obama made a direct reference to the President's signing of the bill:

Diane Rehm: ...Earlier this week the President signed into law the Military Commissions Act; the new law that gives the President quite far reaching authority on the war on terror. You voted against the measure. Tell us why.

My original comment referred readers to my post for the full details of my assertion:

A detailed analysis on how Harvard Law Grad Obama lied about Habeas Corpus provisions of the Military Commisions Act can be found at: Porkopolis calls Bullshit on 'Rock-Star' Senator Barack Obama. It documents his statement in a radio interview in which Obama states:...

In the post I then addressed Obama's statement:

...One of the most disturbing aspect of the legislation [that the President signed and Obama voted against] was the elimination for the first time in our history of the principle of Habeas Corpus...

The "elimination" provision Obama claims only goes into effect when the President signs the legisltation...the original premise of the question put to him.

I interpret, as many would in the context of the question, "our history" to be the shared history of the legislative and executive branches. "[O]ur history" could also refer to the country's history as a whole because the broader context of the question to Obama was how we as a nation are put into a position requiring that the Presient be given "far reaching authority on the war on terror".

I accept your point about using McCain's, et. al.'s, opinion piece. A more precise wording of my comment would be:

Obama's political argument was refuted by Senators John McCain, John Warner and Lindsey Graham in a WSJ piece that stated:...

replacing 'lie' with 'political argument'.

OK, here's my reformatted, ... (Below threshold)

OK, here's my reformatted, emphasis added analysis of Obama's statement:

Q: Earlier this week the President signed into law the Military Commissions Act; the new law that gives the President quite far reaching authority on the war on terror. You voted against the measure [in the Senate]. Tell us why.

A:I think it was a sloppy piece of legislation. It was rushed in part to match the election schedule. And had we [Congress] stepped back and thought this through there was a way of making sure that the military could do it's job in charging and trying those persons who seek to do us harm, but do so in a context was consistent with our core constitutional principles. This wasn't that bill. One of the most disturbing aspects of the legislation [that Congress just passed] was the elimination for the first time in our history [the history of Congress] of the principle of Habeas Corpus. And those that are familiar with our jurisprudence know that Habeas Corpus predates the American Revolution; it's a principle going back to the 13th Century.

As pointed out previously, this is the first time that Congress had passed a law eliminating habeas. Lincoln did this by Presidential fiat while Congress was not in session. This is the first time that such elimination has been enshrined in law. Naturally, a Harvard Law Grad would see this as a significant distinction from what had happened before.

Whether Obama's statement was made before or after the law was signed is not really relevant to Obama's quote. It's still a sloppy piece of legislation. It's still not well thought through. It's still disturbing, and it's still the first time (that I know of) that such a law has been passed by Congress.

I interpret, as many would in the context of the question, "our history" to be the shared history of the legislative and executive branches.
Then you clearly agree with Obama, if your only counter-example is Lincoln. That wasn't a shared history of the legislative and executive branches. It was pure executive action.

Your restatement to "political argument" from "lie" is well taken. Today, as perfect example of why McCain, Warner, and Grahm are incorrect in their assertion, there was this story:

"Officials have said between 60 and 80 detainees are likely to be charged with war crimes and face military commissions.
Asked if those not accused of war crimes would eventually be released or held without trial indefinitely, Whitman said: 'Time will tell.'"

Sure, the first 60-80 have habeas rights to challenge AFTER their military tribunals are complete. The rest though (about 300), have no habeas rights whatsoever and can be held without trial indefinitely. So, if that's not elimination of habeas rights (which they clearly had previously, since habeas petitions were made to and granted by several US courts), then what is?

Joe Yangtree at March 1, 20... (Below threshold)

Joe Yangtree at March 1, 2007 01:40 AM:

Clearly, my assertion on Obama's 'lie' hinges upon the interpretation of the word "our" in his statement. Fortunately, Obama's response utilized "our" twice in the exact same response which allows us to determine the context and a proper interpretation:

A: ..This wasn't that bill. One of the most disturbing aspects of the legislation was the elimination for the first time in our history of the principle of Habeas Corpus. And those that are familiar with our jurisprudence know that Habeas Corpus predates the American Revolution; it's a principle going back to the 13th Century...

Obama refers to "our history" and "our jurisprudence". If, as you suggest, "our" refers to the Congress, then Obama would be talking about Congressional "history" and Congressional "jurisprudence".

That's a bit to much mental gymnastics for the average listener to his response.

The "jurisprudence" he's referring to is that of the nation as a whole...not the "jurisprudence" of the Congress. Consider the following two possible interpretations:

...And those that are familiar with our [Congressional] jurisprudence know that Habeas Corpus predates the American Revolution...
...And those that are familiar with our [nation's] jurisprudence know that Habeas Corpus predates the American Revolution...

I might accept that Congress and the nation have a separate "history", but I can't accept that the nation and Congress have a separate "jurisprudence". To accept the first interpretation is to say that Congress has a "jurisprudence" apart from that of the nation; which is clearly not the case.

It's very reasonable for the average person...the reasonable person to interpret the use of both versions of "our" as a reference to our nation, thus making his statement with regard to habeas a deceit (lie) in light of the historical record. That's unless you're prepared to argue that Obama did not know about Lincoln's suspension of habeas; which would be concering at least.

You seem to be forgetting t... (Below threshold)

You seem to be forgetting the actual definition of jurisprudence. It is, "a body or system of laws." As I pointed out last time, this is the first time in the history of America that a law like this has been passed. The use of the term, "jurisprudence," makes it even clearer that he's talking about the first time such a thing has been enshrined in the law, not done by executive order.

Look at this statement one more time:"One of the most disturbing aspects of the legislation was the elimination for the first time in our history of the principle of Habeas Corpus."

If it were instead :"One of the most disturbing aspects was elimination for the first time in our history of the principle of Habeas Corpus through legislation," presumably, you would have no problem. But, really, they're saying the same thing. For the first time in our history (with any meaning of "our" you'd like to pick), we have legislation that is eliminating the principle of habeas corpus.

On a related topic, what did you think of Dr. Rice's quote that, "...it would be like saying that after Adolf Hitler was overthrown, we needed to change, then, the resolution that allowed the United States to do that, so that we could deal with creating a stable environment in Europe after he was overthrown." Did that make her a liar? I never thought so, but you seem to be the expert on when people are lying, so I thought I'd ask.

Joe Yangtree at March 2, 20... (Below threshold)

Joe Yangtree at March 2, 2007 03:40 AM:

No argument on the definition for jurisprudence: "a body or system of laws." .

But, thanks for making my case in your reply...in your own words:

...As I pointed out last time, this is the first time in the history of America that a law like this has been passed. The use of the term, "jurisprudence," makes it even clearer that he's talking about the first time such a thing has been enshrined in the law, not done by executive order...

You just as easily could have said "the history of the Congress", but you were correctly making a point about the importance of this "law".

Incidentally, a "law" (new law that is...not existing law/excecutive order Lincoln used to suspend habeas) can only can be called "law" when the President signs legislation passed by the Congress (the original premise of the question posed to Obama) or the Congress overrides a veto. This reinforces the assertion that Obama was making a reference to something that went beyond the Congress with his reference to "jurisprudence".

So from your response, the "law" (aka "jurisprudence") has an importance beyond the Congress because it is now a part of "the history of America"..."our history"...America's history.

And just as you were rightly communicating the greater importance of the Military Commissions Act ("law" your word/"jurisprudence" Obama's word) to "the history of America", so was Obama in his deceitful response. (Q.E.D)

As to Secretary Rice, I would have no qualms holding her to the exact same standard I'm holding Obama...However, a reference to her statement would be helpful.

Obama as the Dem's Presiden... (Below threshold)
tom:

Obama as the Dem's Presidential candidate would be a dream for Republicans, and a nightmare for Democrats. Democrats can't criticize/oppose him without offending an important part of their base, and his actual chances of winning are less that Hillary's.

What a sweet paradox!




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