Monday’s NY Times, in a story about the remote possibility of torture investigations by the Justice Department, describes the Obama administration’s concerns:
A series of investigations could exacerbate partisan divisions in Congress, just as the Obama administration is trying to push through the president’s ambitious domestic plans and needs all the support it can muster.
“He wants to dominate the discussion, and he wants the discussion to be about his domestic agenda — health care, energy and education,” said Martha Joynt Kumar, a professor of political science at Towson University who studies the presidency.
The Bush national security controversies “are certainly a diversion from what he wants to do,” Professor Kumar said. “He wants to talk about the present and not the past.”
I’m sure the administration thinks this: it’s the standard, conventional wisdom. The question is, why should they think this?
While it’s not a perfect correlation, those who oppose meaningful healthcare legislation, not to mention many other good pieces of legislation, are either Republicans or those Democrats who wholeheartedly supported and defend torture. If these investigations were to (further) undermine their credibility and legitimacy, this is only a good thing.
Unless, of course, Obama really doesn’t want to pass good legislation….