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In what has become SOP for this administration, President Obama has once again capitulated under the slightest pushback from the GOP obstructionists, although without too much of a struggle I might add. After leaving his nominee to head the OLC, Dawn Johnsen to “twist in the wind for more than a year,” Ms. Johnsen withdrew her nomination.

“The struggle between President Obama and Republicans on Capitol Hill has claimed a fresh victim — Dawn Johnsen. She was Mr. Obama’s choice to lead the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department. Ms. Johnsen withdrew her nomination after more than a year. It was clear that the White House was not going to fight to save her from Republicans who were refusing to allow a vote on her confirmation.

Ms. Johnsen’s problem was not that she lacked strong qualifications to be the legal adviser to the executive branch, informing the White House about what the law requires and what it prohibits.”

Ms. Johnsen’s “problem” was that she is a staunch advocate for the limitation of executive power and an opponent of the president’s “look forward, not back” policy in relation to dealing with abuses of power by the previous administration. In a March, 2008 piece in Slate she wrote:

“The question how we restore our nation’s honor takes on new urgency and promise as we approach the end of this administration. We must resist Bush administration efforts to hide evidence of its wrongdoing through demands for retroactive immunity, assertions of state privilege, and implausible claims that openness will empower terrorists.”


“Here is a partial answer to my own question of how should we behave, directed especially to the next president and members of his or her administration but also to all of use who will be relieved by the change: We must avoid any temptation simply to move on. We must instead be honest with ourselves and the world as we condemn our nation’s past transgressions and reject Bush’s corruption of our American ideals. Our constitutional democracy cannot survive with a government shrouded in secrecy, nor can our nation’s honor be restored without full disclosure.”

Glenn Greenwald at Salon writes:

“What Johnsen insists must not be done reads like a manual of what Barack Obama ended up doing and continues to do — from supporting retroactive immunity to terminate FISA litigations to endless assertions of “state secrecy” in order to block courts from adjudicating Bush crimes to suppressing torture photos on the ground that “opennees will empower terrorists” to the overarching Obama dictate that we “simply move on.”

Could she have described any more perfectly what Obama would end up doing when she wrote, in March, 2008, what the next President “must not do”?

A rhetorical question, I presume. The answer is painfully obvious.