We’ve been here before, with President George W. Bush, who told us to trust him after 9/11 and gave us illegal wiretapping, kidnapping, rendition, indefinite detention, torture, military trials and Guantanamo Bay. And that’s just what we know about.NY Times:
We argued at the time that we are supposed to be a nation of laws, not personalities, and that powers, once acquired, are never given up. Mr. Obama denounced Mr. Bush’s actions during the 2008 campaign but upon taking office pursued the same abuse of the state secrets privilege in court cases involving rendition, torture and indefinite detention.
Just as Mr. Bush decided that his constitutional powers and the Congressional authorization for war in Afghanistan gave him the authority to tap our phones without a warrant and to approve the torture of prisoners, Mr. Obama decided he had the power to order the killing of Americans. He does not even think enough of the American people to come before them and explain his decision.
The White House on Wednesday directed the Justice Department to release to the two Congressional Intelligence Committees classified documents discussing the legal justification for killing, by drone strikes and other means, American citizens abroad who are considered terrorists.A step in the right direction. We'll have more on this in coming days, including essays on Sunday. For today, more punditry and opinion below the fold.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s big speech at the American Enterprise Institute has been analyzed for its tone (warm), its rhetoric (soothing) and its intent (to show that Republicans want to improve life for everyday Americans). What about its ideas? Here is an (admittedly subjective) evaluation of the policy proposals Cantor laid out. Some of them are new, many of them are familiar, and what he has left out on several big issues gives his party some room to maneuver.Brian Beutler/TPM:
The GOP’s real, immediate priorities are thus no different than they were before the election.Seung Min Kim/Politico:
Those priorities didn’t carry the day in November. And in the months since, Republicans, and the conservative movement writ large, have been debating amongst themselves whether their priorities need an overhaul, or whether they just need to shoehorn them into packaging that will appeal to the broad middle class.
That internal struggle continues to some extent over the issue of immigration reform. But the new argument on the right isn’t over whether the GOP’s problem is substance or salesmanship, but whether it should sell its real priorities, or a separate bill of second-order goods.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will give the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address next week, top congressional Republicans said Wednesday.Rubio is a much better speaker than, say, Bobby Jindal, but still a bit young and inexperienced for a presidential run IMHO.
Rubio, elected in 2010, is one of the Republican Party’s rising stars and widely considered to be one of the top contenders for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.
He is also the GOP’s most prominent Hispanic American and a member of the Senate group crafting a bipartisan immigration proposal offering a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants.
Their battle with Democrats will have to wait. For now, Republicans have their hands full fighting one another.Politico:
One high-profile Republican strategist, who refused to be named in order to avoid inflaming the very segments of the party he wants to silence, said there is a deliberate effort by party leaders to “marginalize the cranks, haters and bigots — there’s a lot of underbrush that has to be cleaned out.”Charlie Cook:
For establishment Republicans, this is all about survival, after two straight elections that saw extremely conservative candidates blow Senate races Republicans should have won. For Fox, it’s about credibility: The cable network, while still easily the top-ranked in news, has seen its ratings dip since the election, in part, conservatives tell us, because a lot of Republicans felt duped by the coverage.
Most Americans would be astonished to learn that North America could be energy independent by 2020, thanks to the technological advances in the exploration and production of natural gas and oil, along with progress in energy efficiency. Because of these advances, including hydraulic fracturing (fracking), we are quietly witnessing one of the most important transformational changes in our country’s history. The implications are significant for our national security, our balance of trade, the restoration of our economy, and the creation of jobs, in what is now being called the coming manufacturing renaissance.