Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Knowing Hope from Obama

I must say that I really didn't expect much from Obama. I did expect a huge improvement in the federal government, but that is more a reflection of just how horribly bad things were under Bush rather than any notion of how great things might be under Obama. Just getting halfway competent people who actually believe in following the law would accomplish vast improvements across the board.

But, like Glenn Greenwald, I am quite impressed with the choices Obama has made for the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) and for CIA director. I am particularly impressed with the OLC choice, given what she has said about the despicable behavior of the Bush administration and its contempt for the law.

It remains to be seen what those two will do when actually in office, just like it remains to be seen what Obama will do, but I can at least feel a little hope now. I am particularly concerned with the horrible damage Bush has done to the rule of law and to civil rights, so the OLC position is of special importance to me. (As I think it should be for everyone).

Of course, I still have little hope of actual prosecutions of all of the Bush lawbreakers (up to and including Bush himself), but it does occur to me that if there was to be such prosecutions, one important step to make for them would be an appointment to OLC like this. Not that I think this signals prosecutions, but it certainly doesn't hurt.

So I get to taste a little bit of hope now. I hope the taste doesn't turn bitter in a few months or years. And truly, I don't think Obama is going to be some progressive dream of a president, but one can only feel despair for so long (like say, the past eight years) before one needs a little mental break from it all. I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts.

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