You say Obama, I say Osama

I read this post over at The Dish and quite honestly thought it said “Obama” and not “Osama.”  Which changes everything, of course.  Read the following passage substituting the word Osama with Obama:

Paul Cruickshank thinks that if Osama is ever captured we should put him on trial:

It would be nothing short of a watershed moment, doing much to restore the public’s confidence in American institutions and the rule of law after years of being told that they were too quaint for the challenges of a new era. And it would go a long way, too, in restoring the moral high ground for the United States in the court of global opinion.

And you know what? It was surprising but not that surprising when I first mis-read this.  The right-wing is so far gone at this point it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if some member of the birther fringe wanted to capture Obama and put him on trial – “doing much to restore the public’s confidence in American institutions.”  It isn’t that far from what some on the right are already saying about our Muslim, fascist commander in chief who, despite government’s incapacity to do anything right, will somehow take our country from us and turn it into a socialist, European, Islamic hellhole (yes, Denmark).

And isn’t this belief in the all-powerful president strange also?   When it comes to domestic policy, the president sets the agenda but not much else.  He’s not really a “decider” so much as a guide.  He doesn’t really enact anything.  He can sign his veto and therefore halt legislation, but he can’t single-handedly tear up the fabric of our society.

The only way that a president can do that is with his foreign policy.  As these past eight years have shown, the president has a disproportionate amount of power over our foreign affairs.  Our spineless Congress rarely musters the courage to play the opposition, allowing the commander in chief ro run amok, leading the free world toward whatever disaster such a consortium of exuberance and power and arrogance can only naturally lead.  Indeed, it’s quite common for a president who becomes frustrated at a stalled domestic agenda to turn their attention overseas where they can really let loose.

But in terms of healthcare reform, it is merely Obama’s agenda that we’re talking about.  His guiding principles.  It’s the Congress that enacts the legislation, and they’d do the same basic dance whether Obama or Clinton or any other Democrat were in power.  They’d do the same thing, or at least try, even if John McCain were in the White House though there would be that looming veto pen hovering above them then.  A president with a great force of will can help shepherd his party in the right direction, but as with all things government, the actual capacity for the executive to do good or ill is severely limited.  It’s just odd that so many people who claim government can’t do anything right have such a deep-seeded fear of said government.

And I’m talking visceral fear here, not fear that the government will simply do things poorly, but a real bubbling, angry fear.  The sort of fear that would lead people to hope for Obama’s capture and trial.

Then I noticed this was a Foreign Policy Magazine blog.  I read it again and noticed the name in question was Osama, not Obama.  Well then.  Nevermind.

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