Far left progressives constantly bash Obama for not closing GITMO, but a closer look at the facts reveals that their blame has been misplaced.
On January 22, 2009 as one of his first official acts in office, Barack Obama signed an executive order to close GITMO within one year. On that day Obama said, “This is me following through on not just a commitment I made during the campaign, but I think an understanding that dates back to our founding fathers, that we are willing to observe core standards of conduct, not just when it’s easy, but also when it’s hard.
In May 2009 only 6 Senate Democrats voted NO on the amendment to, “To prohibit funding to transfer, release, or incarcerate detainees detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to or within the United States.”
Progressive heroes Chuck Schumer, Byron Dorgan, and Russ Feingold all sided with the Republican minority and voted to deny Obama the funding that he needed to close GITMO and relocate the detainees. Only six Democrats stood with the president on closing GITMO, Durbin, Harkin, Reed, Levin, Leahy, and Whitehouse. The rest of them caved to fear tactics and voted with the Republicans.
Fast forward to December 2009, Obama signs a presidential memo ordering Attorney General Holder and Defense Sec. Gates to acquire the state prison in Thompson, IL as a replacement for GITMO.
In May 2010 the Democratically controlled House Armed Services Committee votes unanimously to prohibit the opening of any GITMO replacement facility in the United States, and the dream of closing GITMO was dead.
This timeline is important because it demonstrates that the Obama bashing far left’s retelling of “Obama breaking his promise and not closing GITMO” bears little relation to reality. The president tried repeatedly to close GITMO only to be stymied by a Democratic Congress who saw its numbers bolstered in 2008 based on their vow to work with Obama. After the election, congressional Democrats took their gain of 21 House seats and 8 Senate seats, and promptly put their own political survival ahead of the Obama agenda
If far left progressives want to be angry, they should be upset with the behavior of the Democratic Senate. However they must keep in mind that Democratic Senate was never what they thought it was. The Reid Report has a great post up debunking the myth that Obama ever had a progressive majority to begin with,
Of the 56 Democrats and 2 Independents caucusing with the Senate majority when Barack Obama took office, (there were two seats unfilled, due to a disputed race in Minnesota that wasn’t resolved until July, and the former Obama Senate seat in Illinois) — 17 represented red or red-leaning states…Another 27 represented blue or blue leaning states…The remaining 12 repped swing states.
The president never had the great progressive majority that the Obama bashing left believes existed. At best Obama was 16-18 progressive votes short on every measure. The Democratic majority of 58 Dems and 2 Independents in the Senate lasted for exactly 5 months in 2009.
The howls from progressive critics that, “Obama lies” are the cries of a group of whipped up followers who have been consistently and consciously misled by their leadership.
I know better than to believe that facts will be enough to help them see reality. The Obama bashing left is a kissing cousin of the same people who protested Obamacare while at the same time screaming don’t touch my Medicare!
Anyone who wishes to hold their leadership accountable, whether it is the President of the United States or the local dog catcher must understand the facts before they can carry out their civic duties, as watchdogs who aren’t tethered to facts end up watching the wrong things and eventually they aimlessly float away on a sea of opinion.
Deprogramming the brainwashed takes time, and it is my sincere hope that if enough of us keep administering the antidote of facts and truth, maybe a few of these poor lost souls will awaken from their ideologically induced stupor and return to political reality with the rest of us.