Belmont Club

"Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."

The BBC reports that “President Barack Obama has confirmed military trials will restart for some Guantanamo inmates, months after announcing they would end.” The Wall Street Journal writes, “President Obama’s endorsements of Bush-Cheney antiterror policies are by now routine: for example, opposing the release of prisoner abuse photographs and support for indefinite detention for some detainees, and that’s just this week. More remarkable is White House creativity in portraying these U-turns as epic change. Witness yesterday’s announcement endorsing military commissions.” The Associated Press writes, “President Barack Obama said Friday he would reform and restart the military tribunals he once reviled for Guantanamo Bay detainees, jeopardizing his timetable for closing the prison by January and dismaying many supporters who suggested he was going back on campaign promises.”

It’s even on Russian TV.

Both liberals and conservatives had an a priori estimate of what Barack Obama was. Several months into his term it is possible to ask whether and how much they have revised their beliefs a posteriori. Is he more fiscally responsible? Stronger on national defense? Kinder and gentler? Less prone to invoke executive privilege? More tolerant of dissent? Has he made America safer? What did you hope for? What did he change?

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