Sunday, April 25, 2010

Assassination and Crickets

Usually, your time would be better spent reading Matthew Yglesias or Ezra Klein than reading my blog. They usually provide great insight into complex political issues. However, if you are looking for their thoughts or opinions on Obama's assassination order of an American citizen, you will find nothing.

Unlike me, they have staff, they get paid to offer their opinions, and they do so prodigiously. In addition to covering most of the important stuff, Yglesias finds time to write about NBA basketball, and Klein finds time to write about his dinner recipes. Yet, somehow, neither of them has found time to write about Obama claiming the authority to assassinate an American citizen believed to be a terrorist.

We just went through eight years where the mainstream media dodged controversial issues so as not to upset the Bush administration. I certainly hope the left wing blogosphere doesn't adapt that same behavior toward the Obama administration.

It is not likely that Yglesias and Klein are unaware of Obama's claim of assassination authority (or execution capacity as Ezra might call it). It is also not likely that they don't have opinions on the subject. They have opinions on everything. It's their job. This leads me to conclude one of two things.
  1. They disagree with Obama, but they are afraid of alienating the Obama administration and the Obama-worshippers among their readers. This is cowardly.
  2. They agree with Obama, but are afraid to say so because they are afraid of Glenn Greenwald and alienating those readers, like me, who think the Constitution is not something to be abandoned whenever any president thinks they can get away with it. This is also cowardly.
I don't want to create a false dichotomy--maybe there are other options. Perhaps they think the role of the FISA court should be expanded to authorize assassinations in addition to wiretaps. Maybe they think a different secret court should be created specifically to deal with presidential assassination orders. It could be that they actually support an amendment to the Constitution that would give the President the authority he is claiming.

These are smart guys. Maybe they have some brilliant rationale that my feeble mind can't fathom. They should write about it! At best, they might be able to convince me that my view of the issue is wrong. At worst, I might disagree with them. Either way, at least I would respect them for not dodging the issue.

I hate to pick on Yglesias and Klein. They certainly aren't the only voices yielding to the crickets on this issue. They are just the most disappointing to me because I had come to hold them in such high regard.

UPDATED 9/29/2010: Credit where credit is due. Yglesias finally wrapped his head around this issue. It only took 5 months. Still waiting on Ezra.

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