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You missed the war crimes prosecutions.

And he didn't have to let the TBTF banks fail. He could have taken them into receivership, kept them running and gradually unwound their balance sheets.

Would it have worked?

Quick withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan would not have worked. Slow withdrawal would not have worked. Escalation is not going to work. Bust the Lesser screwed those countries over, and that's about the long and short of it.

Prosecution of war criminals and domestic espionage felons has to be divided into two distinct objectives: Doing justice for crimes committed, and preventing future crimes of the same kind.

The level of prosecutions necessary to achieve the former objective would fail. Or rather, they would require accepting an almost complete paralysation of the American federal government, for several years.

But the latter could be achieved with only a handful of prosecutions. Because all you'd be aiming for would be teaching the mid-level apparatchiks of the Bush/Cheney administration that if they ever end up as senior criminals, they run a very real risk of twenty years in the slammer. Precisely the kind of object lesson that Ford failed to teach Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and the rest of the mid-level Nixon administration apparatchiks.

The executive can release Guantanamo inmates immediately if it so desires. All that requires is complying with existing court rulings.

Taking banks into receivership would work better than bailing them out. Like Afghanistan and Iraq, there's no way to make it "work" - but you can make it blow up in the least damaging and spectacular way possible.

Tobin taxes and infrastructure projects would work, in the sense of cutting the financial sector back down to size and taking up the resulting slack with useful production. But here we leave the realm of what can be done from the Oval Office. Taxes and stimulus is Congress' bailiwick. So that's Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi who need to be grilled.

Threatening senators would have to be done with some care, but if done with a deft touch, it should be workable.

If Obama were serious about negotiating an ambitious climate treaty, it is hard to see how anybody could prevent him from doing so. After all, he could accomplish it simply by brokering an agreement between China (not an insurmountable task) and his European vassals. They could then enforce such a treaty against the US. Senate or no senate.

Would Obama still be alive?

Largely irrelevant, unless they also got Biden.

But the subtext of the question is: Can the Bush-era Stasi 2.0 apparatus be redirected to targeting white, Christian terrorists? And that remains to be seen.

Would centrist Senators fall in line?

Not all of them. But he doesn't need all of them. All he needs is to make a credible threat to have the filibuster rule removed.

Would the economy have gone into free-fall

Wrong verb tense. The economy did go into free-fall.

So why are we surprised?

We are not surprised. Maybe some of the Kossacks are, though...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Dec 16th, 2009 at 08:38:11 PM EST
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