The Actual Power Of The Presidency: Bush And Obama

Glenn Greenwald examines the power as actually exercised by both presidents, and utterly debunks the excuses made for Obama that the presidency is a weak office. Greenwald’s conclusion:

The criticism isn’t that Obama tried but failed to stave off austerity policies, a public-option-free entrenchment of the private health insurance industry, the preservation of indefinite detention or similar “centrist”/right/corporatist policies; it’s that his lack of fight against them (or his affirmative fight for them) shows he craves those outcomes (just as nobody forced him to continue the vast bulk of the Bush/Cheney Terrorism approach he (and most Democrats) once so vehemently denounced). And whatever else is true, claiming that George Bush was similarly “weak” in the face of Congress is revisionist in the extreme.


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  • NTodd Pritsky  On Sunday August 21, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Only Greenwald can put parentheticals in parentheticals. I expect an update with even more nested…

    • Steve  On Sunday August 21, 2011 at 7:28 pm

      NTodd, Greenwald does that despite the lack of evidence that he was ever a s/w professional. Code-tappers do it constantly. When writing prose I find myself having to go back and replace every other nested pair with square brackets or curly brackets.

  • MandT  On Sunday August 21, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Simply put: The unitary Presidency—-Obama now has absolute power over life and death of any citizen he feels is a threat. Democracy is now moot. All the rest is propaganda window dressing and theater.

    • Steve  On Sunday August 21, 2011 at 7:32 pm

      MandT, democracy is not finished yet, though I agree it is in grave danger. Obama has not made a move to rid himself of the appearance of democracy, and I’m hoping he’s simply not courageous enough to take the last steps toward dictatorship. It’s going to be difficult for the rest of us old geezers’ lives, but I see some small hope we may, with the right president, discard the fixation on empire and regain the spirit of our nation’s most broadminded founders.

  • NTodd Pritsky  On Sunday August 21, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    The funny thing is one way I’d argue against the Unitary Executing by saying to (GOP) supporters, “Two words: President Hillary.”

    Okay, so it’s President Barack, but same diff. They should’ve feared the immense powers in the hands of any party. I guess they bought into the idea of Rove’s Permanent Republican Majority and that they’d only use it for good…

    • Steve  On Sunday August 21, 2011 at 7:38 pm

      NTodd, the GOP is a cobbled-together contraption so unsteady that no amount of chewing gum and baling wire will keep it together. Under enough pressure, the GOP will utterly collapse. If they happen to hold the levers of power in the U.S. when they do so, the nation will collapse with them.

      I hate being in a position where my usually pragmatic side simply cannot overcome my conscience to enable me to vote for the GOP prez candidates’ most powerful opponent, but this is probably my last presidential election in my life, and I just can’t bring myself to vote for a now-revealed tyrant and assassin. Sigh.

      • NTodd Pritsky  On Sunday August 21, 2011 at 10:24 pm

        Well aren’t you a ray of fucking sunshine tonight!

        BTW, I’ve recently been forced by the family to finally watch The West Wing. It’s really good. And it makes me want to cry almost every episode.

        • Steve  On Monday August 22, 2011 at 5:37 pm

          Well, NTodd, yeah, I guess I was. It happens sometime. I’m slightly less gloomy today. It could be because I had lunch with a couple of the sanest people I know, politically and otherwise, or it could be just because I’m full of pizza. Absent major political or personal events, my frame of mind generally tracks my health, and I do feel better today.

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