More on the Overton Window: Do different issues have different Overton Windows?
Varying sizes? Different locations on the right to left scale? Each issue its own window? General areas of governance? Or is it the general political philosophy? Social "feeling"?
Can Obama work toward leftward Overton movment on some issues while going rightward on others? Close some so the issues aren't even issues any more, simply not discussed? Open some so wide any and all attidudes are acceptable and thus, again, nonissues.
And, to the point of this post, what's he doing to the Overton Window regarding torture?
Listening to the McLaughlin Group today discussing torture was downright scary. Mort Zuckerman wa arguing for the "24" approach --since there are so many "ticking timebombs," ya know. Buchanan and Monica Crowley were arguing about torture as if it's a legal option, clearly accepted in some cases, and simply a matter of choice and necessity. Laws, either US or international? Only mentioned to buttress its use. Constitution? No mention. (Transcript/audio will be available at the link, not up yet.)
Eleanor Clift, iirc, didn't mention the word "torture," but argued in favor of everything Obama said in his speech this week.
Digby nailed it; we are indeed close to losing the argument on torture, and Obama is helping to make it possible for that to happen. Or. we may have lost and will have to fight the long fight to return to being a nation of laws.
Read where the shrinking or moving window has pushed Sen. Whitehouse (from Digby):
To argue by analogy, one can go to court and to a civil standard of proof show that someone is a danger to themselves or others, and obtain a civil commitment restricting their freedom. If we can do this with Americans, it seems logical that we could also do it with foreign terrorists. The question is, what checks and balances should surround the initial determination of danger, and what safeguards should stay with the person through the period of confinement? I look forward to hearing more from the Obama Administration about what schedule of rule of law safeguards they intend to apply, but I think that the example of civil commitment shows that it is not categorically forbidden to restrict someone’s freedom based on a finding of danger.
I think that may be even scarier than Gitmo. It implies use of psychiatric hospitals for political prisoners, a la the Soviet Union. It's a terrible analogy.
Finally, Digby's comments about the MCMers finding Obama's changing policies "just right" and just like Bush's seond term, when Condi Rice and Gates helped BushBoy turn away from the Dark Side and Darth Cheney to the light of reason and lawfulness. David Brooks was hitting this talkingpoint over and over and over on NewsHour Friday (and everywhere he appears in person or print) and Digby has the transcript for it. It was so good then! But Bush just couldn't explain it well to the public, see? And Obama can and does make the public believers. On this issue, Brooks is just fine with Obama.
Digby includes video (update at bottom of post) of Rachel Maddow discussing the Obama meeting with civil libertarians and consitutionalists. She points out the real news may be that Obama told them that he had "no interest" in criminal prosecutions, with Holder sitting right with him. Earlier, Obama has said it is up to DOJ to dertermine whether criminal prosecutions are appropriate and he could have said in the meeting that it was up to Holder and DOJ.
Does that mean Holder has investigated and decided to have no prosecutions? Or that Obama has simply decided there will be no prosecutions? Maddow asks if it shows hypocrisy, saying one thing to the public and another in private. (Rachel: He did this during the campaigns, nothing new here.)
Digby emphasizes that Obama did not like being compared to Bush: "It's not helpful to equate me to Bush" he's reported to have said. Whatchagonna do about that, Mr. President?
I like the Overton window concept and I'd appreciate input as to how is can be applied.