When I was in college (1984-89) I remember being told in American History class that all American presidents govern “toward the middle”. I really didn’t think too much about what the professor meant by that. Reagan had just finished his first term in office and was about to begin his second. It appeared that he was about to take us into a nuclear war with Russia. The last thing I was concerned about was the right or left leanings of his political agenda. I just didn’t want to get drafted and be sent into World War III.
However, last week I read an article from the New York Times about President Obama that brought back memories of that lecture as if it were yesterday. The article by Charlie Savage reported that President Obama had upheld the Bush administration policy on military detainees in Afghanistan. The report stated that: “In a two-sentence filing late Friday, the Justice Department said that the new administration had reviewed its position in a case brought by prisoners at the United States Air Force base at Bagram, just north of the Afghan capital. The Obama team determined that the Bush policy was correct: such prisoners cannot sue for their release.”
Wow! All through his campaign Obama criticized the Bush justice and human rights policies and scored big points with liberals. In light of the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo fiascos it seemed that he had hit on a legitimate issue. But, now he has been elected. Now he is governing, not campaigning. He has begun to show his moderate, more centerist self. With little or no regard for the way it has angered his base, Obama has upheld a position that was in the best interest of national security and not the best interest of his political base. I must admit I’m even more pleased with his governing style than before. He is truly a “Real American President”.