In the Arena

The Guantanamo Mess–Is it Obama’s Fault?

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Over at TPM, Brian Beutler is reporting that part of the problem has been the Obama Administration’s failure to get its act together on this issue. I think there’s something to that. Yesterday, Jane Harman made a similar point in an interview with me, saying that Obama should have addressed all the various asymmetrical warfare issues–military commissions, Guantanamo, the torture photos, the need for a full accounting of the Bush Administration horrors–in one big speech:

A more politically effective strategy would have been to put together a package, including all the issues that surround 21st century threats, rather than dribbling out individual proposals in a way that has enabled the Republicans to play the fear card.

Presumably, the President will make the case for his moderate course on these issues in his “Guantanamo” speech tomorrow. But it’s late–and, I suspect, that the Republicans will continue to play the fear card and the Congressional Democrats will continue to squirm, no matter what Obama does. I’ll have more on this nexus of issues in my print column this week.

Update: Matt Yglesias notes this from Diane Feinstein, a sharp contrast to the craven behavior of most of her colleagues.