As this week’s Super Tuesday results promise to further extend the barroom brawl that has become of the GOP?nominating process, we thought we’d take some time to discuss a figure often overlooked in all the fevered angling to beat President Obama: President Obama. Mr. Obama has been without a doubt the No. 1 beneficiary of the Republican Party’s self-cannibalization in this year’s nasty and drawn-out primary season. So as other outlets focus on what this week’s election results mean for GOP prospects in November —here’s a hint: Romney will win the nomination, whether voters like it or not — we’re going to address what the president has been doing with his time while the rest of us have been off following the minutia of Newt Gingrich’s absurd moon colonization fantasies.
While the Republican candidates battle each other over the dubious distinction of most likely to bomb Iran back to the Stone Age, and as they relentlessly — and, if we must say, factlessly — attack the president over alleged weaknesses in foreign policy, they ignore how the Obama administration has been busy radically rewriting constitutional powers of the executive.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday finally got around to explaining, sort of, the president’s supposed justification for assassinating U.S. citizens abroad. “Due process” — the constitutionally enshrined right of Americans to basic legal protections, like not being killed by the CIA?in your sleep, for instance — is not necessarily the same as “judicial process,” he said. In other words, we are not actually guaranteed, as many had previously thought, the right to a fair trial before being judged guilty and terminated. Or, as Stephen Colbert parodied Tuesday night: “Due process just means there's a process that you do.”
The administration simply wants us to trust that they will not abuse their newfound powers of execution. Bizarrely, the right wing is OK with this; or rather, judging from their public statements, they (the non-Ron Paul presidential candidates, at least) find the policy not quite extreme enough. Even more bizarrely:?Democrats don’t seem particularly stressed over it either.
Here we see how party loyalty distorts independent belief: If this was a Bush — or, God help us, a Romney, Santorum or Gingrich — trying to pull something like this, Dems would be frothing at the mouth. Instead, they cheer this erosion of individual liberty.
But Obama won’t be president forever. U.S. politics are reactionary: Even if Obama wins re-election, we’ll have a Republican executive soon enough. So while the GOP pushes the limits of extremism, let’s not lose sight of extremity in the White House. The next tenant may not be quite as trustworthy.