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Where's the Fearmongering?

The Obama administration is considering moving dozens of Guantanamo Bay detainees to a single, high-security facility in the United States. And though that news would seem an easy way for Republican lawmakers to rile up their districts while they're home for August recess, so far it hasn't prompted the same GOP outrage we saw last time the issue was up for debate. There's been the odd disgruntled conservative blog post. Lawmakers from the two states reportedly under consideration for the new prison have threatened to “shut down” Congress. But, for the most part, Republicans aren’t screaming about the issue as loudly as before.

Is this a sign of responsibility and restraint? An implicit admission that the rhetoric earlier this year -- warning of apocalyptic terrorist prison breaks -- was overheated? Did GOP lawmakers read E.J. Dionne's column this morning?

More likely, the Republican leadership is focused on attacking Democrats on health care. (See the House Republicans’ latest web video, "I'm Not a Doctor, But I Play One on TV," featuring clips of President Obama talking about health care while “The Young and the Restless” theme music plays in the background). Obama also outmaneuvered the opposition a bit on this one -- a single prison site means that most Americans won’t have to even consider the remote chance of terrorists popping up in their back yards. Of course, there's still plenty of time for GOP lawmakers to fan the flames.

The real test will come when the planning gets less hypothetical and Obama goes to Congress with an actual proposal. The result will help to clarify whether the Republicans are actually trying to become a responsible alternative to the Democrats -- and, indeed, whether the Democrats in Congress can responsibly govern.

By Stephen Stromberg  | August 3, 2009; 5:24 PM ET
Categories:  Stromberg  | Tags:  Stephen Stromberg  
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Comments

When Barack is actually ready to begin the transfers, he already has communities with facilities that would willingly accept the prisoners, in republican states where Barack doesn't have to worry about losing votes he didn't get anyway. Note that the "most important number" post on the Fix shows four lovely red states, any of which would make great places to send detainees. So Idaho goes republican. Idaho WENT Republican, who would be able to tell the difference.

IF he times the transfers right, he can get the Republicans all worked up about the prisoners going to Red states, while he uses the distraction to put the finishing touches on Health Care. By the time the Republicans realize that the tune has changed, picked up the tempo and gotten ready to dance, that bill will also be to close to complete for the Republicans to delay it. and while they are still fuming over losing that skirmish, Barack can go off and engineer more change they don't believe in. Barack is well ahead of the power curve. The GOP, jointly and severally is so far behind the power curve that it is dead in the water and awaiting a tow.

(And, like so many tars before them, they get they added indignity of learning that the tug out to tow them home is an ARMY vessel, crewed by Army operators.)

Posted by: ceflynline | August 3, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Sad to see that Mr. Stromberg has Republican Derangement Syndrome, a distortion remarkably similar to Democratic Derangement Syndrome. As does his reader, ceflynline. The game is to keep the public's eye off the ball, and then Congress and the Administration can make the costly swaps that wind up as law on every aspect of American life. Partisan rancour is a wonderful way of covering up the fact that our government is stealing us blind.

Posted by: hyood | August 4, 2009 8:10 AM | Report abuse

"This is the Bush Legacy." Did the Cheney/Bush Administration do anything that made sense during past 8 years?

Those guys were a piece of work. They did more 'DAMAGE', to this Country, than Al Qaeda or the Taliban could have ever done.
Did they complete anything? Oh yeah, I forgot. They Completely "RUIN THE US ECONOMY". Ran it straight into the Ground.
Left the "VALUE", of the US Dollar to about 10 cent.
And the Republican Party are saying they can "FIT IT,,,,,YEAH RIGHT".

Posted by: austininc4 | August 4, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

What are the terrorists going to do once they escape?
How are they going to escape in the first place?
At least it's not like sending them back to start fighting again.
The whole thing is just a ploy for Obama to close Guantanamo as he promised in the campaign.
At least he would be doing that rather than not fulfilling other campaign promises such as the immigration problem where the paper today says he will continue Bush policies-ICE, Joe Arpaio anyone?
Ann Bier

Posted by: jimsbier | August 4, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Eventually, we have to do something with these Prisoners.
Mr. Obama want's to close the prison in Gitmo, but he understands that we can't "Try" them in America's Courts.
Think about the OJ Trial, and add torture to the mix. A pure fiasco! Plus we have Troops in Arab Lands, who will die because we mistreated these Prisoners.
I still think the best option Mr. Obama has, is to make these Prisoners "Disappear"! Someplace like AREA 51, only a bit more private. I'm sure we have one.
Keep them out of the Courts, and Quiet, until our Troops come Home.

Posted by: teganmcdonough | August 4, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

They should be sent to San Francisco. Progressives should take them into their community. In fact, it would have been even better if SF just join Cuba and take Gitmo terrorists with them

Posted by: pihto999 | August 4, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Very amusing, ceflynline! Interesting suggestions, and a colorful metaphor!

When I was in the Marines, I got some pictures of one of those Army tugboats, overseas, yet, in a Japanese port... don't think for a minute that ceflynline is making this stuff up!

Posted by: Iconoblaster | August 4, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

This reeks of bi-partisan 'backlash', with the Gates episode both parties are quietly rallying congress behind the president. Not for the remarks concerning what happened as much as it has to do with who he will give the coveted 'wink, wink-nod'; the republicans have no problems with moving the detainees to a facility here in the States, we have learned from what happened with Cuba, the importance here is whose district its going to be in, the lobbying for the legislation will be about whose issues make the cut say Wyoming, or North Dakota that have large per-capita's before were giving large premiums to the health care issue, now have a new player to add to the mix. With Congress on vacation no one is talking to the press about it, so when we return the veto is going to be everyones best friend.

Posted by: edtroyhampton | August 4, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

It's because they realized they have a lot of personal money invested in our prison system

Posted by: JRM2 | August 4, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Responsibility and restraint? This President intends to do things his way, I say let him and then let him reap his reward.

It is not responsible to bring these prisoners into the US where they will undoubtedly be released for all their suffering and abuse after reviews by the ACLU and Liberal judges, but hey, if he is determined to do it, then by all means...

Posted by: nancyrene3038 | August 5, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Instead of closing Gitmo, how about transforming Gitmo? In addition to the fact that "closing" was a campaign promise, I have to assume there are other reasons for the proposal to move the prisoners to a mainland State. I'd like to know what they are.

In any case, I surely hope the costs will come out of the military (Pentagon) budget, which is limitless. Likewise the costs of the trials. And, by the way, what are the laws governing the trials?

Mr. Obama need not be held to this particular promise if he assures us, as Commander in Chief, that Gitmo has been changed into a humane center of detention.

Posted by: moran1 | August 5, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

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