John McCain praising the president while the ACLU lambastes him? It's not a full moon or anything. That was a week ago. It's just what happens when you engage in two perfectly executed flip-flops in three days.
Of course, the first flip happened Wednesday when the president announced he had changed his mind on releasing more abused detainee photos. The president said releasing them wouldn't "add any additional benefit," and he ordered government lawyers to fight the release.
The ACLU disagreed. The benefit is transparency. And by not releasing them, the Obama administration "will betray not only its promises to the American people, but its commitment to this nation's most fundamental principles."
The second flip happened today when the White House announced that Bush-era military tribunals -- put on hold in January -- would be resuscitated. The official line is that Obama is a longtime supporter of military commissions. All they need are appropriate "reforms."
The ACLU said you can't reform it. "These military commissions are inherently illegitimate, unconstitutional, and incapable of delivering outcomes we can trust," said Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU.
"President Obama would do well to remember his own infamous words during his presidential campaign: you can't put lipstick on a pig," he added, bringing up a rare Obama misquote from the 2008 campaign.
Meanwhile, the president was getting lauded by the GOP. But they don't share the opinion that the president didn't flip or flop. All they have to do is recall a statement from last June where he said, "By any measure, our system of trying detainees has been an enormous failure."
To this seeming change of heart, his former rival Senator John McCain said, "I am pleased that President Obama has now adopted this view."
Perhaps the most revealing event happened last night when the president, thought to be untouchable by late night comedians, got touched. And not by Jay Leno or David Letterman. But the all-powerful Jon Stewart.
Though not nearly as ruthless as Stewart can be (recall the roasting of Jim Cramer for reference), the comic jabbed Obama's apparent about-face (s).
But it was with kid gloves. He let him off the hook. That's what we think. Click here to watch the video so you can judge for yourself.
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