The president’s conscience, on hold

Dan Froomkin writes:

The White House counsel ideally serves as the president’s conscience.

But late last year, Barack Obama’s conscience was surgically removed.

Greg Craig, as Obama’s top lawyer, was the point man on a number of hot-button issues, the fieriest being how to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. Craig argued for holding fast to the principles that Obama outlined before he became president, regardless of the immediate political consequences — an idealistic approach that, in a White House filled with increasingly pusillanimous pragmatists, earned him some powerful enemies.

After a steady drip of leaks over a period of months to the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and other news outlets to the effect that his days were numbered, Craig finally resigned in November.

He was replaced by Robert Bauer, a politically adept consummate Washington insider whose expertise is in campaign finance law — in short, a man whose job is to win elections, not defend principles.

At the same time, Attorney General Eric Holder has been increasingly marginalized and cut out of the White House decision-making loop. So now the coast is clear for the White House to make important legal and national security calls on purely political grounds.

The only question that remains is whether Obama himself will have any last-minute qualms about turning his back on his own principles.

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1 thought on “The president’s conscience, on hold

  1. Norman Morley

    One has to ask if the P.O.T.O.U.S. had any principals to begin with? It seems the ease he has displayed from the beginning of his term, notably turning 180* from his Campaigning for the job, only to come out at the last moments of the game, I.E., the quarterback in a football game to try for a field goal. At this point in his being in office, he has two big checks next to his name, the first A.A. & health care. Of course, he could leave tomorrow, but he would still be in the history books. What ever else he may do, will be noted, but short of ending all this War Mongering, the rest will appear as just plain window dressing. To a great many, he is just another politician, who once elected, flips all the little people the middle, kisses the the uppers, and puts the sign out, no, not the one that says “The Buck Stops Here”, the other one, “Business as Usual”.

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