22 January, 2009

Exponential Change

A friend stopped by my desk on his way home and asked what the news was. How's President Obama doing on his first day?

I had to point him to the intertoobz. Obama did so much on his first day in office that I couldn't keep up. Luckily, Joan Walsh has a snapshot for us:

By noon on his first day in office, Obama had called the leaders of Israel, Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority to talk about next steps for peace; asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates to halt Guantánamo trials and circulated a draft executive order to close the prison within the year; and attended a prayer service that included the first-ever sermon by a woman minister and the prayers of a Muslim imam.

In the afternoon he signed two executive orders and three presidential memoranda, tightening ethics rules for his staff, strengthening the Freedom of Information Act and giving the public greater access to presidential records. "Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency," he said as he signed the documents. Then he watched Vice President Joe Biden swear in his senior staff, and stayed to shake hands or embrace every one of them. After that he met with senior economic advisors and top military staff to discuss plans for the economy and Iraq; later, he hosted an open house for the American people, a new symbol of his commitment to access and transparency.

All of this, and retaking the Oath of Office, too.

As for those wondering if the abuses of power so recently enjoyed by the Bush regime will continue, I think we have got our answer:

It's encouraging, then, to know who'll be sitting in John Yoo's office for the foreseeable future.

A Georgetown source forwards over an email from that school's administration, reporting that Professor Marty Lederman's class will be canceled -- because he's joining the Obama administration.

Lederman, another former Clinton Office of Legal Counsel lawyer, is perhaps the most prominent of several high-profile opponents of the Bush Administration's executive power claims joining Obama, a mark that he intends not just to change but to aggressively reverse Bush's moves on subjects like torture. With hires like Barron, Johnen, and Lederman, Obama is not just going back to Democratic lawyers: These are anti-Bush lawyers.

Damn straight. Lederman has been a leading opponent of Bush's torture policies, and the legal reasoning behind them. He's even suggested that the former administration officials committed crimes in this area. Now, thankfully, Lederman is headed to the OLC.

And what an OLC it will be. The Lederman announcement came shortly after David Barron was named Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the OLC. Barron has been a staunch opponent of Bush's executive-branch power-grabs and war-time legal arguments.

Both Barron and Lederman will, of course, join Dawn Johnsen, who'll head the OLC, and whose record on these issues is sterling.

President Obama's not going to be 100% perfect. No one ever is. But it looks like I'm going to have to struggle hard to come up with more than quibbles with the job he's doing, and when I have the low-hanging fruit of right-wing idiocy to pluck, it's hard to muster the energy for more than a rousing shout of "Huzzah, an adult in office at last!"

Update: You can thank Obama for hitting the ground at Mach Three here.


Woozle said...

My latest OCT (Obama Conspiracy Theory: any theory which claims that an apparent wrong move by Obama is actually part of a larger game to force the right thing to happen) is that Obama's (and Biden's) claim that they want to "look forward, not backward" and not make a point of prosecuting Bush officials "unless there is clear evidence of wrongdoing" (or whatever the phrase was) is because Obama, as a Constitutional lawyer, knows that the evidence will eventually force him to act, at which point he can remind everyone of the importance of the rule of law. This way he avoids pouring any extra fuel on the wingnuts and perhaps buys himself just a little less antagonism (I wouldn't go so far as to say "more cooperation") -- something which will be very much needed.

This appointment of anti-Bushies is evidence pointing in that direction, I should think.

The Warren thing ended up being a bit of a screw-up, though, which seems most uncharacteristic. Not sure how to score that one as an OCT.

Dana Hunter said...

*cough* I rather think I took care of the OCT for you on that one. Allow myself to quote... myself:

"Some of you might get even more upset at Obama for allowing this Hitler-admiring, gay-bashing, African-dictator-enabling outrageous fucking freak to give the invocation. But I've now come around to thinking it's a brilliant idea.

"You see, before the spotlight got shone on him, all most people knew was that he wrote The Purpose-Driven Life, hosted a presidential debate, and seemed somewhat moderate to the casual observer.

"Now look at all the info emerging that proves he's a batshit-insane frothing fundie who's learned to speak in a normal-person voice. That, my darlings, is priceless. So yes, let him get up there and babble a few faux-holy words. It gives us such a delightful opportunity to introduce the country to the real Rick Warren."

I love your OCT regarding prosecutions. And I'd think we were indulging in straight-up wishful thinking, but you know something? I've seen the man do some pretty surprising shit, so I wouldn't quite put it past him to pull something like this.

Oh, and Woozle? Have I told you lately that I love you? I've been following your ongoing conversation with Mike, and I'm in awe.

Woozle said...

*beams* I was almost gonna email you to make sure I was neither overstepping nor being too feeble in my defenses, but I guess I win ^_^

I think I had read your turn-around on Warren (which was along much the same lines as my own Obama Conspiratizing) but then there was the more recent Bishop Robinson thing, for which I have yet to work out an OPCT (Obama Positive Conspiracy Theory -- I've decided this is a better acronym). If fumbles weren't so completely uncharacteristic of Obama, I would have to think that this was one... so I don't know how to score the Warren thing overall, but it's certainly got some major positive elements -- which may turn out to be all that really matters.

On the ongoing dialogue: I've just heard back from Guttmacher, so stay tuned. (Don't know if I'll have time to respond today, though.)

Unknown said...

He did more in his first day in office than Shrub did his first 6 months!!