Friday, January 2, 2009

Krugman Explanations, Obama Expectations

Two notes from the New York Times:

In the Op-Ed section, Nobel laurate Paul Krugman accuses Republicans of "whining that almost defies belief."

Did Alberto Gonzales, the former attorney general, really say, “I consider myself a casualty, one of the many casualties of the war on terror”? Did Rush Limbaugh really suggest that the financial crisis was the result of a conspiracy, masterminded by that evil genius Chuck Schumer?
Yeesh, I hope not.

Krugman believes the Republican party's problems are far more entrenched than the missteps of a failed administration, and stretch back to their Southern strategy that developed in the wake of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, when the "G.O.P. decided, in effect, to make itself the party of racial backlash."

But what ails the party is more than a shift in demographics, argues Krugman. Instead it's their anti- government philosophy that doomed them to incompetence and lost the confidence of the American people.

Consequently, the Obama administration has an opportunity for bold action unmatched even in the Clinton years. Krugamn hopes they seize it.

What a convenient segue...

We highlighted Dick Cheney recently saying he anticipated the incoming Obama administration to embrace President Bush's expansion of executive power:
"Once they get here and they're faced with the same problems we deal with every day, then they will appreciate some of the things we've put in place..."
Well Cheney's theory will be put the test real soon. The Times reports that the Obama administration must submit a brief to the Supreme Court "on one of the most aggressive legal claims made by the Bush administration — that the president may order the military to seize legal residents of the United States and hold them indefinitely without charging them with a crime."

The position of the new President, a former Constitutional law professor, will go along way toward defining the kind of change so many believed in.

At the heart of the case is "Ali al-Marri, a Qatari student who was arrested in Peoria, Ill., in December 2001. The Bush administration says Mr. Marri is a sleeper agent for Al Qaeda, and it is holding him without charges at the Navy brig in Charleston, S.C. He is the only person currently held as an enemy combatant on the mainland, but the legal principles established in his case are likely to affect the roughly 250 prisoners at Guantánamo."

Among the many cases on the docket, experts say a shift in course is most likely in Al- Marri's.

From the article:
Many legal experts say that all of the new administration’s options in Mr. Marri’s case are perilous. Intelligence officials say he is exceptionally dangerous, making deportation problematic.

Trying him on criminal charges could be difficult, too, in part because some of the evidence against him may have been obtained through torture and would not be admissible.

And staying the course in the Marri case would outrage civil libertarians.

“If they adopt the Bush administration position, or some version of it,” said Brandt Goldstein, a professor at New York Law School, “it is going to be a moment of profound disappointment for everyone in the legal community and Americans generally who believe that the Bush administration has tried to turn the presidency into a monarchy.”

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