Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Great Some Minds Think Alike II

Okay, let's take on the saga of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya.

You want a little backstory on how Zelaya was booted and how (and how quickly) Obama reacted? Here you go.

What accounts for the difference between Obama's reaction to Zelaya and Honduras and with his reaction to Ahmadinejad and Iranian protesters?


Remember during the campaign when we were all made aware of these Obama comments:

To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that. …

I’m not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. You know, the institution just isn’t structured that way.

Obama was speaking directly about the civil rights movement, and specifically about redistributive change in that context. The words are from 2001, but were brought to light in last year's campaign after Obama's "spread the wealth" comment to Joe the Plumber.

There were, in other words, "essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution" that Obama wished were not there. And Obama displays his, uh, lack of fondness for the "negative rights" aspect of the Constitution.

He doesn't like the idea that the Constitution fundamentally tells the government what it cannot do.

You know who else doesn't like that? Honduran president Manuel Zelaya. The Honduran Constitution had a "negative right" that said the president could not seek re-election.

Like Obama, he was not optimistic about changing that through the courts. And the legislature unanimously opposed his efforts. So, seeing the constitution as fundamentally flawed (like Obama sees the US Constitution), Zelaya sought to do a little populist community organization with a referendum that would allow him to run again, essentially giving him the power to become President for life, outside the strictures of the laws of Honduras.

It was from there that the court ordered his removal from the contry, which led to his ouster, and Obama's quick support.

Which leads us to this...

Zelaya: Likes Change Just Like Obama

Like Obama, Zelaya simply sees his Constitution as fundamentally flawed.

Like Obama, Zelaya simply wants change.

No wonder Obama came out so quickly to support him.

Like with Ahmadinejad, Obama and Zelaya think alike.

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