Insofar as his defenses parallel the likely narrative of Obama’s reelect campaign, it’s worth looking at his takes on criticism of Obama from the right (Sullivan also addresses criticism from the left, which won’t play much role in the campaign) on major issues:
The issues are
- Foreign policy
Foreign policy. Sullivan focuses on the least controversial aspect of Obama’s record, claiming “Obama reversed Bush’s policy of ignoring Osama bin Laden, immediately setting a course that eventually led to his capture and death.” In reality, the key info to finding bin Laden was gathered from Operation Cannonball, launched during the Bush administration. Sullivan also claims:
[W]here Bush talked tough and acted counterproductively, Obama has simply, quietly, relentlessly decimated our real enemies, while winning the broader propaganda war. Since he took office, al Qaeda’s popularity in the Muslim world has plummeted.
Confidence in al Qaeda was declining for years in the Muslim world before Obama took office. Then again, confidence in Obama has declined in the Muslim world from 2009-11 (the most recent Pew Global attitudes poll). The latter was one of Sullivan’s arguments for electing Obama in the first place. Sullivan also argued that Obama could reduce the polarization in Washington. Obama started poisoning that well three days into his presidency, becoming one of the most polarizing presidents in modern history.
Which brings us to Dear Andrew Sullivan: Why Focus On Obama’s Dumbest Critics?
A major defense of the president exaggerates Obama’s accomplishments and misses the point: his scandalous transgressions against rule of law, which starts with
After reading Andrew Sullivan’s Newsweek essay about President Obama, his critics, and his re-election bid, I implore him to ponder just one question. How would you have reacted in 2008 if any Republican ran promising to do the following?(1) Codify indefinite detention into law; (2) draw up a secret kill list of people, including American citizens, to assassinate without due process; (3) proceed with warrantless spying on American citizens; (4) prosecute Bush-era whistleblowers for violating state secrets; (5) reinterpret the War Powers Resolution such that entering a war of choice without a Congressional declaration is permissible; (6) enter and prosecute such a war; (7) institutionalize naked scanners and intrusive full body pat-downs in major American airports; (8) oversee a planned expansion of TSA so that its agents are already beginning to patrol American highways, train stations, and bus depots; (9) wage an undeclared drone war on numerous Muslim countries that delegates to the CIA the final call about some strikes that put civilians in jeopardy; (10) invoke the state-secrets privilege to dismiss lawsuits brought by civil-liberties organizations on dubious technicalities rather than litigating them on the merits; (11) preside over federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries; (12) attempt to negotiate an extension of American troops in Iraq beyond 2011 (an effort that thankfully failed); (13) reauthorize the Patriot Act; (13) and select an economic team mostly made up of former and future financial executives from Wall Street firms that played major roles in the financial crisis.
and concludes with,
It isn’t that I object to Sullivan backing Obama’s reelection if his GOP opponent runs on bringing back torture. Is he the lesser of two evils? Maybe so. But lauding him as a president who has governed “with grace and calm” and “who as yet has not had a single significant scandal to his name”? If indefinite detention, secret kill lists, warrantless spying, a war on whistleblowers, violating the War Powers Resolution, and abuse of the state secrets privilege don’t fit one’s definition of “scandal,” what does? If they’re peripheral flaws rather than central, unacceptable transgressions, America is doomed to these radical, illiberal policies for the foreseeable future.
That the second article comes from The Atlantic, not your hive of vast-right-wing-conspirators, is even more telling.
By the way, I’m not pleased to be giving importance to Newsweek, a worthless publication that doesn’t deserve any. The important thing about Sullivan’s article is that Sullivan is laying out the narrative for Obama’s re-election campaign. That’s why both articles above should be read in full.
Linked by Obi’s Sister. Thanks!