31 March 2014

A poll published on Wednesday at the Washington Post finds that a majority of even "liberal Democrats" approves of Obama killing US citizens. Of course, this would almost certainly be different if Obama were a Republican.

What if an organization with money but no partisanship (are there some?) were to commission a poll from a pollster willing to face a firestorm of attacks from the political parties (are there any such pollsters?), a poll that would ask people all their demographic info, including politics and party identification if any, and ask some of them:

  • If President Obama had to kill a US citizen to protect the nation, based purely on the word of the President, would you approve?
  • If President Obama had to imprison a US citizen with no trial to protect the nation, based purely on the word of the President, would you approve?
  • If President Obama had to launch a war without congressional authorization in order to protect the nation, based purely on the word of the President, would you approve?
  • If President Obama determined it to be necessary to deploy a nuclear bomb and did so, would you approve?

The poll would ask those questions of a large enough sample to be well represented in each demographic category. Then a similar sample would be asked the same questions with Romney substituted for Obama. Then others would be asked the questions about a President Santorum, and others with Gingrich.

The results would almost certainly show that many in the United States do indeed place loyalty to political parties or elected officials above matters of life and death -- at least the lives and deaths of others.

This would, of course, be shameful, and if it made it into the corporate news it would make all types of partisanship look bad. It might, very likely, however, make one brand of partisanship look worst. I would predict that Republicans would each be highly approving of these abuses by at least one Republican candidate, and that their approval would diminish for the others, and especially for Obama. Democrats, I expect, would be less approving, but still strongly approving in the case of Obama, but that there would be a particularly significant drop off in approval by Democrats of such crimes if committed by any of the Republicans.

What pollster would be willing to test these assumptions?

Of course, in reality there is such a thing as being too late. Opposing abuses when Bush is president, but limiting the opposition at the behest of the Democratic Party, was followed by support for Obama's protection of and continuation and expansion of the crimes. Now shady Bush policies have become open "legal" practice. It is too late to take them back from the next Republican president, or any president, without fundamental change to our government. If we continue down the current path, eventually the partisanship will retreat on this issue and supporters of presidential murder will tend to support it by any president and to imagine that no alternative to that exists.



David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online activist organization a href="http://rootsaction.org" target="_blank">http://rootsaction.org