End of the Obama Era

Official portrait of Barack Obama
Official portrait of Barack Obama, by Pete Souza, The Obama-Biden Transition Project [CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons”
At 11:47a Eastern, Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States.  As that happened, Barack Obama joined the ex-President’s club, leaving behind a legacy that will probably take a little time to truly comprehend.  Just as Bill Clinton benefited from slow-developing policies enacted by George H.W. Bush, it can take years before a President’s actions are truly understood.

I’m not ashamed–why would I be?–to admit that I voted for Obama in 2008 based on his promises to clean up the messes left behind by George W. Bush. And there were certainly messes, not the least of which–but probably the most obvious–was the near-collapse of the economy.  The problems in America, however, were so much deeper.  George W. Bush had presided over an administration which had flouted international human rights norms through its policies of extraordinary renditions, operation of so-called Black Sites and Gitmo, torture, and specious spying on Americans.  Obama ran on a platform that promised to end these abuses, promised to provide greater transparency, and promised to curtail the abuses of the Bush Administration.

So, how’d Obama do?

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Seeing is Believing

Last week’s revelations that the “President’s Surveillance Program” was–no surprise–a whole hell of a lot larger than anyone admitted (AP via ABCNews) have stoked a little flame under Congressional Democrats, and even under Attorney General Eric Holder:

A senior Justice Department official close to Holder stressed anew yesterday that the attorney general had reluctantly come to lean toward naming a criminal prosecutor from inside the department, after months of reading classified material including a still-secret 2004 CIA inspector general report.  (Washington Post)
And, as noted, it appears the Dems want to get in on the party.
Ms. Feinstein, a Democrat of California, said on “Fox News Sunday” that Mr. Panetta had told senators last month about Mr. Cheney ordering that the program not be disclosed to Congress.

If Congress were kept in the dark, she said on Fox News Sunday, “that’s something that should never, ever happen again.”

Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, a Democrat, said that “absolutely” warranted an investigation.

“The executive branch cannot create programs like this one and keep Congress in the dark,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “To give the president unbridled authority goes way beyond the United States Constitution.” (New York Times)

But, like most things involving the amazingly Teflon-coated Bush, anything approaching an investigation resulting in anything that might be beneficial to the country will have to be seen to be believed.