Thursday, June 14, 2012

Liberal Disingenuousness

Yes, yes, conservatives can be disingenuous, too. But hear me out on this.

Here's two example over the past two days, and these are mere examples of a very widespread phenomenon, in which liberals get away with making unchallenged claims about conservatives that simply would not stand if made from the other direction.

The first was Daniel Klaidman, author of the book Kill or Capture: The War on Terror and the Soul of the Obama Presidency, about drone strikes. The NPR show was about the contradiction that under President Obama drone attacks have increased enormously, even to the point of taking out U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, even though attacks of that nature were deplored under Bush. Klaidman went on and on about how carefully Obama, and his legal adviser Harold Koh, had thought through the question of drone strikes, whether they were legal, etc. And he admitted that even though Koh had vehemently opposed U.S. military action prior to 2009, his opinion changed when his perspective did.

At no point did the NPR interviewer ask where this perspective was during the Bush years. Did he not imagine that the people making the tough decisions then might have had similar quandaries? If Koh felt so strongly, he should have not taken the appointment, or resigned when he found that Obama would be overriding him constantly. Instead, he "thoughtfully" came down on the side of strikes and defended their use. But doesn't this entirely exonerate the Bush strategy of using them and other targeted methods of going after terrorists?

Not for Klaidman. His parting shot was to mention that he was glad, with all the power drone strikes bring to the table, that the person in the White House making the calls was "so thoughful and deliberative", unlike, it did not need saying, its previous occupant. How convenient. So we are to judge a policy by the thoughtfulness of its executive? To Klaidman, the same policy can be deplored in one case and celebrated in another, because the amount or type of thought behind it came from a different man.

The second case comes from an old standby, Howard Dean. On MSNBC recently he said: "People fundamentally don't trust Mitt Romney; they believe he only cares about people who have great wealth, which is probably true." (My emphasis.) Which is probably true! I'm trying to imagine the titanic backlash that would come from a conservative saying that people believe that Obama only cares about people of color, "which is probably true." We'd never stop hearing about it.

And liberals tell me that their problem is they're too nice. Pshaw.

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