To go back to this point about Obama’s progressivism for a second. I had a fun experience talking about Guantanamo on right wing radio this afternoon. The all-or-nothing mentality is really quite striking to behold in its natural habitat. Detainees either have full rights as U.S. citizens or none at all. Lawyers for detainees will communicate U.S. intelligence secrets by telephone to al-Qaeda. Pointing out that Guantanamo contributes to terrorism is to apologize for terrorism.
What’s so liberating about today was that today Barack Obama told the U.S. it’s time to wake up and grow up. Not to be fearful or hidebound or myopic. Not to conclude that embracing basic, noncontroversial human rights will augur the next terrorist attack. Not to live in the sick cartoon of the last seven years but to come back to reality.
What’s also so amazing about today was that Obama has said he was going to do this for, by my count, about 18 months now. For all of the handwringing and concern trolling and conserva-snarking about how his progressivism is part of a cynical bamboozlement or hijacking of the left, leading to nothing but tears and disappointment, Obama has in the first 48 hours of his presidency proven to be astonishingly progressive. I never imagined that two days after taking the oath of office I’d be on the phone with John Kiriakou, hearing him talk as if a burden was lifted not just from the country but from — and here I’m obviously making an inference — him personally.
Barack Obama does what he says he’ll do. Simple as that. What a day this is.