Why Obama must truly hate Bush

WHY OBAMA MUST TRULY HATE BUSH…. Andrew Sullivan had an item this week, arguing that President Obama might have some strategy in mind that will, eventually, get the truth out about the Bush administration’s torture policies. Yesterday, Sullivan posted a reader response that did a nice job summarizing what the White House is likely thinking.

Imagine what such prosecutions would entail: years of courtroom drama, depositions, lawsuits and counter-suits; the long parade of powerful and high ranking ex- and current members of government, including a goodly number of Democrats, being called on the carpet and having to testify against one another; the enormous rancor and bitterness. This would be Watergate on steroids. And imagine the shot in the arm this would give the zombified Limbaugh Right.

The prosecutions you are asking for would simply swallow the Obama presidency whole. It is the kind of energy draining, oxygen consuming drama that is the nightmare of every president. It would come to define his presidency in the same way the Hostage Crisis defined Carter’s and there is zero chance he will opt for this.

President Obama is making a realistic, cold, clear-eyed cost-benefit analysis. This is the choice: Does he fix the economy, fix healthcare, get a handle on the two wars he’s dealing with, or does he prosecute Bush era war crimes? He has chosen his agenda and is asking us to choose that to.

Right. Obama, I suspect, just doesn’t want to deal with any of this anymore; he has too much else to do. Investigating alleged Bush/Cheney crimes, prosecuting alleged Bush/Cheney crimes, releasing photographs documenting alleged Bush/Cheney crimes … the president apparently doesn’t see the utility in any of this.

Indeed, I’ve been trying to think about this from Obama’s perspective. Bush left him with a generational economic crisis, an abysmal job market, a budget mess, a war in Iraq, a deteriorating war in Afghanistan, an nuclear-armed and unstable Pakistan, a nuclear-armed and nutty North Korea, a warming planet, a collapsing U.S. auto industry, an ineffective health care system, a massive debt, an absurd national energy framework, and a nation that has lost much of its global prestige.

Ready to dive in and start getting the nation back on track, the president is then told, “Wait, we have to deal with the consequences of the previous administration’s alleged war crimes, too.”

I can only assume the president wakes up every morning thinking, “God, I just hate that guy.”

He’s probably looking at all of this in cold, calculating terms, and has decided none of torture-related allegations and/or evidence advance the nation’s interests. Except, there’s a nagging problem — that darn rule of law.

While I can easily understand the president’s calculation, I still think some of Obama’s recent calls are mistaken, not because they’re inexplicable, but because expedience just isn’t a good enough excuse.

It’s a real shame Bush and Cheney screwed up so spectacularly, and ignored the law so systematically, that it’s interfering with Obama’s desire to govern. It really is. If I were in the president’s shoes, I might feel the same temptations. But he signed up for this gig, vowing to rebuild the nation. As much as he’d like to get beyond the recent past, nothing of any value is ever built on a corrupted foundation.