Saturday, 23 May 2009

Rachel Maddow’s Critique of Obama

Written by  Thomas R. Eddlem

MaddowLeft-wing MSNBC pundit Rachel Maddow has aired a surprisingly penetrating critique of President Barack Obama’s new prolonged detention, or preventive detention, policy, a policy announced in Obama’s May 21 speech at the National Archives. Under this policy, suspected terrorists may be held indefinitely by the executive branch without trial, based on the presumption that they may commit a crime in the future.

How good was Maddow’s critique? It is so good, and so dead-on, that every patriotic American should see it. There isn’t a word in the seven-minute critique with which any conservative who respects Creator-given inalienable rights would disagree.

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For those of us on the right, it’s a pleasant surprise to see at least one leftist holding Obama to the same standard the Bush Administration was held by the left. In this case, Maddow is holding Obama to the standard of the U.S. Constitution, and the Anglo-American 800-year legacy of common law liberties.

As a life-long leftist and Air America radio host, Maddow should be seen as an unlikely opponent of the Obama administration. It may not happen again.

I’m a conservative who took some flack from neo-conservatives for criticizing President George W. Bush over the past eight years, and I know how partisan push-back works. It couldn’t have been easy for her to stand up for the Constitution on the most Democratic of national news networks.

Maddow’s segment on Obama’s speech reminds me of an animated street debate I long ago witnessed during a rally where a leftist was arguing with a handful of young conservatives about some issue that I’ve long since forgotten. But I remember this bearded, middle-aged leftist man being peppered with questions from enthusiastic conservatives. The leftist man had made some correct factual statement that they had contested, and I told him that I agreed that he was correct on this minor point. The increasingly frustrated man replied without irony: “For that one moment of brotherhood, I am truly grateful.” Maddow’s segment on Obama’s “preventative detention” policy makes me want to tell her: “For this one moment of unity, I am truly grateful.”