August 05, 2008

Freedom Rider: Obama Pardons Bush

Freedom Rider: Obama Pardons Bush
Presidential Politics 2008 - Obama
Wednesday, 30 July 2008

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

There will be no need for George Bush to pardon himself and his fellow criminals. Barack Obama promises to let the "W Gang" off, scott-free, when he takes over the White House. Impeachment? Heavens, no!

"That is not something I think would be fruitful to pursue because I think
that impeachment is something that should be reserved for exceptional

says Obama, apparently in the belief that Bush's behavior has been routine for an American president. Obama surrogates say bipartisanship should decide the question of investigating current and past presidents. In other words, Obama will let the Republicans decide if Bush gets away with murder. "So Bush crimes will be buried by a Democrat."

Freedom Rider: Obama Pardons Bush
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

"Obama will never investigate the Bush administration's well documented
criminal activity."
Barack Obama, like previous presidential candidates before him, is very good at sucking up. The candidate who sucks up best to the largest number of wealthy donors and check bundlers usually becomes the party nominee. Obama is no exception to that rule. The Senator would never have been able to launch a successful presidential race if he did not already have buy-in from very rich, very powerful people. Not only did he have to secure their support in order to run, he must continue securing it in order to win. That is why he will never investigate the Bush administration's well documented criminal activity. The rule of law doesn't apply to presidents, to their cabinet members, to members of Congress or to criminal corporations. Obama's backers would be most unhappy if they thought their guy was going to get into office and start calling powerful people to account on any issue.
"Obama is a genius at double talk."
All of which means that Barack Obama will never investigate any of the crimes committed in the Bush administration. When pressed because of the long campaign against Hillary Clinton, Obama was sometimes forced to give an appearance that he would actually preserve, protect and defend the constitution if he became president. The Senator spoke on the issue himself in April, and once again proved that he is a genius at double talk:
"What I would want to do is to have my Justice Department and my Attorney
General immediately review the information that's already there [emphasis mine]
and to find out are there inquiries that need to be pursued. I can't prejudge
that because we don't have access to all the material right now. I think that
you are right, if crimes have been committed, they should be investigated.
You're also right that I would not want my first term consumed by what was
perceived on the part of Republicans as a partisan witch hunt [emphasis mine]
because I think we've got too many problems we've got to solve." What kind of
investigation pursues only what is already known? It seems that Obama would
investigate only what he wouldn't have to look for, but not so much that
Republican sensibilities would be bruised. In other words, he won't try to find
wrong doing. If he did, he might have to take action and he is telling us in no
uncertain terms that he has no intention of doing that: "So this is an
area where I would want to exercise judgment -- I would want to find out
directly from my Attorney General -- having pursued, having looked at what's out
there right now [emphasis mine] -- are there possibilities of genuine crimes as
opposed to really bad policies. And I think it's important -- one of the
things we've got to figure out in our political culture generally is
distinguishing between really dumb policies and policies that rise to the level
of criminal activity. You know, I often get questions about impeachment at town
hall meetings and I've said that is not something I think would be fruitful to
pursue because I think that impeachment is something that should be reserved for
exceptional circumstances. Now, if I found that there were high officials who
knowingly, consciously broke existing laws, engaged in coverups of those crimes
with knowledge forefront, then I think a basic principle of our Constitution is
nobody above the law -- and I think that's roughly how I would look at it."
Again Obama emphasizes that he would look at what we know "right now." It is also worth noting that while Obama says "nobody is above the law," he doesn't say what he would do if he actually discovered that deliberate law breaking took place. Keep in mind that this parsed statement took place when he was still in the midst of a democratic campaign when he was trying to make the case that he was the progressive candidate. After Hillary Clinton's campaign ended he no longer had any need to pretend he was progressive. The FISA double cross was the first signal that the end of his need to win Democratic votes meant the beginning of his take no prisoners march to the political sea."

Obama has no intention of exposing Bush administration crimes."

Obama took a well deserved beating from angry supporters after he openly supported Bush and telecom industry law breaking. The brief moment of challenge was enough to make Obama leery of speaking for himself when he knows he is wrong. He now sends surrogates to tell us that he has no intention of exposing Bush administration crimes. Cass Sunstein is a friend of Obama, a law professor at the University of Chicago and new husband of former Obama aide Samantha Power. Lately he has been the Obama campaign go-to-guy on the issue of Bush criminality. Sunstein's job is to tell us to shut up and let Obama let Bush off the hook. Sunstein is also nervous about pursuing the law breakers. The professor thinks that only the commission of "egregious" crimes ought to be considered for investigation. The argument can be made that any crime emanating from the White House is egregious in and of itself. But Sunstein considers that point of view to be overly "emotional." He thinks that outraged citizens ought to just chill out and accept government torture, spying on citizens and lies used to start wars.
"So I guess I'm saying that emotions play an important role in thinking about
what the legal system should be doing. But under our constitutional order, we go
back and forth between the emotions and the legal requirements, and that's a way
of guaranteeing fairness. And as I say, very important to have a degree of
bipartisanship with respect to subsequent investigations [all emphasis mine]."
"Bush's crimes will be buried by a Democrat." Even Republicans expect Democrats to maintain and perhaps increase majorities in both houses of Congress. A Democratic president with a Democratic congress should not have to be bipartisan about anything he wants to pursue. The call for bipartisanship is a ruse, it is a call for doing nothing. So Bush crimes will be buried by a Democrat. We will never know what the government knew on September 11, 2001. We will never know the extent of spying on American citizens. We will never know about the manipulation of intelligence used to justify the invasion of Iraq, which violated the Geneva Conventions and universally accepted international law. We will never know what the Bush administration told Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, their partners in crime. We will never know anything we should know because the system won't permit that to happen.

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR.

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