How Can Anyone Think Both of These Things?

Guess which former New York Times columnist is praising Dick Cheney for his recent pr offensive against the Obama Administration? On reflection, I don’t find the Cheney media appearances surprising. These are the policies that he fought for as VP. Of course he wants the Obama Administration to continue practices like “enhanced interrogation,” warrantless wiretapping and an expansive view of executive branch wartime powers.

What’s truly weird is the subset of Obama critics who’ve tried to persuade me that he is a dangerous radical with ties to terrorists, or that he is plotting to transform the United States into a Communist dictatorship, or that he is going to seize the guns of law abiding Americans, or that he is an extreme leftist who cannot be trusted… and who nevertheless argue that President Obama should continue the Bush era practice of invoking the War on Terrorism to wield unprecedented executive power.

For example, Sean Hannity cast Obama as a radical with ties to terrorists throughout the Presidential campaign. Here he is arguing that the country is moving toward a socialist dictatorship, and that Obama Administration economic policies are dangerous. Newt Gingrich agrees, saying that his policies amount to liberal fascism.

Glenn Beck says the same thing with spooky graphics. Andy McCarthy thinks “Obama is a true revolutionary” who is anti-constitution, that he is hearkening in the death of freedom, that he seeks to criminalize political disputes with Republicans, and puts political posturing above the rule of law.

How can men who make these claims about Barack Obama simultaneously insist that a country governed by him is well served by an executive branch given expansive powers during war time? How can they insist that he’ll end freedom in America, and defend the idea of warrantless wiretapping? Is it credible to argue that he is a radical opportunist who seeks the prosecution of political opponents, and that he should have the power to order waterboarding, “walling,” and other brutal interrogation tactics? It’s as if one moment they’re comparing him to Joseph Stalin, and the next they’re demanding that he wield all the power they helped afford him by arguing for its righteousness during the Bush era.

As I’ve written before, I don’t have any respect for Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity, but I regard Andrew McCarthy as someone who writes what he actually believes. Absent some explanation of this seeming inconsistency, however, I fail to see how anyone can take both his warnings about President Obama and his persistence in defending a muscular wartime executive seriously. The guy he doesn’t trust is that executive now! Were President Obama even half as bad as some of his critics claim, shouldn’t they be agitating for less executive power, more Congressional oversight, and perhaps even conclude that they were mistaken to help increase the power of the executive branch given that they haven’t any idea who’ll hold the presidency in the future?