Cennamology Chief Editor
If Obama cured cancer tomorrow, Republicans would accuse him of eliminating incentives for people to become scientists. No matter what Obama does, he will never catch a break.
No where is this more evident than the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the prisoner of war who has been held captive by the Taliban for almost five years. Getting our enemies to release one of our soldiers (and bringing home a captive whom five other soldiers died trying to find), in most realms, would be considered an accomplishment and praised by all. But this is the political realm, the place where almost nothing makes sense.
Instead of celebrating a soldier's return, Republican lawmakers are instead accusing the president of breaking the law by "negotiating with terrorists." They base this on what was necessary to secure Bergdahl's safety, which involved the transfer of five Taliban officials from Guantanamo Bay prison (Gitmo), to Qatar. These officials were slated to be released eventually anyway.
But, unfortunately for Bergdahl, he was rescued by a Democratic president, meaning that his release, instead of being celebrated, will be exploited by political opportunists who see this as another thing with which to damage the president.
My accusations are not just me moaning about Obama not being treated fairly, it's very clear that the party of the president is the only factor as to why conservatives are criticizing the president for bringing a POW home. This morning, Huffington Post political reporter Amanda Terkel tweeted about a conservative site whose opinion flipped pretty much immediately after Bergdahl was released. The site, PJ Media, posted a petition six months ago calling on the president to secure the release of Bergdahl as soon as possible and with all means necessary. After their wish was granted, they flip flopped. Now, PJ Media's editors are accusing the president of intentionally breaking the law with the purpose of liquidating Gitmo. How rich.
Which makes me wonder: was PJ Media ever really concerned about our soldiers' well-being? Or are they just doing whatever they can to damage the president? Wait, I do not need to wonder, it's pretty obviously the latter.
Republicans are also complaining that Obama did not notify Congress about the Gitmo prisoners' transfer at least 30 days in advance as legally required. However, President Obama is not legally required due to the fact that when he signed that bill, he also issued a "signing statement," which said that the notification requirement is an unconstitutional breach of executive power. Signing statements are perfectly permissible and are essentially executive branch protests against a bill. However, Republicans say that Obama's use of signing statements means that he is leading an "imperial presidency." This is a ludicrous claim, as almost every president in the last 50 years have issued signing statements, including Bush's warning that he would not enforce an amendment to a bill banning torture. Bush used signing statement much more aggressively than Obama ever has.
Obama is very tame on signing statements, according to Francine Keifer of the Christian Science Monitor. A signing statement was necessary in this case as Bergdahl's health was failing, leaving Obama little time to have to turn to a Congress that operates slower than a 1980s fax machine (also, if Bergadhl had died in captivity, Republicans would have mercilessly lampooned Obama for that as well). Is that really "imperial" compared to Bush, who lied to Congress about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in order to get their approval for the invasion of Iraq?
As for the "negotiating with terrorists" allegations, that is also nothing new. The god of the Republican Party, Ronald Reagan, did just that by facilitating the sale of arms to Iran in order to fund the Contras in Nicaragua and release several hostages, all of which was done without telling Congress. This came to be known as the little scandal known as Iran-Contra. To find out more, Stan Smith from American Dad gives a Schoolhouse Rock-style history less on the affair here.
This double standard that Republicans have for president Obama is so obvious that it is like a joke getting too old too fast.