As do all U.S. Presidents, of course. But, like many abuses of power that he engages in, Obama has been doing it much more than his predecessors.
From the Guardian:
Barack Obama has rewarded some of his most active campaign donors with plum jobs in foreign embassies, with the average amount raised by recent or imminent appointees soaring to $1.8m per post, according to a Guardian analysis.
In any other country this would be referred to as corruption, but in the U.S. it’s democracy in action. At least that’s what democrats will claim until there’s a republican in the White House at which time it will once again be denounced as a sleazy practice.
The brazen handing out of political favors in exchange for campaign dollars carries no stigma in the American psyche and, to American party loyalists, any behavior of politicians of their own party is excusable simply by pointing out that the other party does the same thing. With voters being so willing to keep reelecting politicians who are so single-mindedly self serving, it should come as no surprise when those voters ultimately get exactly what they deserve. It is, however, unfortunate that the rest of us will also reap what they sowed.
Nick Gillespie has an article up at The Daily Beast that expands on the phenomenon of people being more accepting of bad policies if they come from their own party.
In the first flush of stories about how the National Security Agency is surveilling American citizens, one stomach-turning revelation hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves: We get the surveillance state we deserve because rank political partisanship trumps bedrock principle every goddamn time on just about every goddamn issue.
Every political issue that captures the public attention invariably degenerates into a political battle between the two parties. This is a clear indicator that republicans and democrats see every issue as being all about them rather than having anything to do with “what’s best for the country”. This is true even when their differences are microscopically small, as is it usually is when it comes to war, increasing government power, drug policy, being “tough on crime”, pork barrel spending, balancing the budget, corporate welfare, interfering in other countries, foreign aid, support for Israel, etc, etc.
So, when democrats complain about what a republican does, it makes perfect sense when their concerns suddenly evaporate when a democratic president does exactly the same things. It’s not about what they do; it’s only about which team they’re on.
The journalist Glenn Greenwald, who jump-started this overdue conversation on civil liberties and the war on terrorism, has promised that the revelations are just getting started. But nothing that comes out can be more dispiriting than the simple truth that Democrats and Republicans are both happy to love Big Brother as long as he’s got the right party affiliation.
Maybe are catching on to this an that’s why Americans want more independents in Congress.
Reason.com reports on a Pew research poll about the partisan shift in attitudes regarding the NSA surveillance issue. Isn’t it amazing how stuff democrats didn’t approve of when Bush was doing it is suddenly okay when their guy is doing it? The reverse is, of course, true as well. When Bush hugely expanded Medicare with the prescription drug program, republicans turned right around and reelected him.This mindless party loyalty defines the shallow nature of the majority of the American populace when it comes to politics. While, establishing principles and informing one’s self about actual issues is difficult, simply subscribing to the views of one of the two major league teams is pretty simple. It is that simplistic approach that permits both parties to be nearly identical while still eliciting near maniacal worship from their members.