If you'll remember, I was guardedly optimistic about Obama. I just thought the hype was silly (starting with the whole first-black-president-not-to-be-descended-from-former-slaves thing, considering that a Native American-descended-from-rightful-land-owners has not yet assumed highest office). I thought he got a little too much credit for his oratory, as refreshing as it is after the grammatical wilderness of the Bush years.
I never thought it would be like this: discretionary bailouts on the domestic front and Orwellian Dick-inspired initiatives on the international front.
Do ALL presidential administrations have this talent at creating deeply cynical or clinically descriptive names for initiatives? I guess they do? In any case, "prolonged detention" is upsetting. Now I can have the following nightmare: the US and Russia sign a sweeping cooperation pact, under which I could be held indefinitely in a federal prison for my likelihood of failing to give the Red Army sufficient credit for liberating Estonia -- while the US government takes away my small business. Note, though, that last link has been spammed extensively by right-wing bloggers and is probably inherently not to be trusted.
Even on the environment -- where Bush had the "Healthy Forests Initiative" and you would expect a real change -- Obama is baffling, failing to give polar bears equal treatment. Like in other areas (military tribunals come to mind) he didn't reverse Bush where it really counts. Actually, there are a number of other Western and Northern species where the phrase "not out of the woods" comes to mind -- grizzlies, wolves -- and some that are rather recently "in the woods" -- salmon. There is no more important value to me in America than the national forests. Who's the pick to run them? Homer Wilkes, an urban planning guy from Mississippi, yeah, someone who no doubt hikes the Shoshone backcountry all the time and worries about pine beetle devastation...when he is not designing facilities.
But the way Obama has taken over the terrorism rhetoric in a way that I did not even hear from Bush is particularly vexing to me. As far as I am concerned, the only terrorism going on is nested references to terrorism made by politicians. Obama is a canny, youthful leader who should be able to recognize and discount a dogma from a mile away -- and here he is, essentially talking about how some guys engaged in asymmetric warfare against their own central governments ten thousand miles away could beat the US in the race to the perfect, state-of-the-art civilian mass murder disaster. As if. You know, what now really terrifies and terrorizes me is what sorts of indefinite initiatives will be instituted even if something does happen ("Three brown men held in plot to blow up Delaware"), not so much the act itself.