“Like” and “trust” are sentiments appropriate for one’s friends and loved ones, not political leaders.

Purely as an analytical matter, releasing the OLC memos and advocating against prosecutions are two separate acts.  It’s perfectly coherent to praise one and condemn the other.  There is an unhealthy tendency to want to make categorical, absolute judgments about the persona of politicians generally and Obama especially (“I like him”/“I don’t like him”; “I trust him/I don’t trust him”) rather than case-by-case judgments about his specific acts.  “Like” and “trust” are sentiments appropriate for one’s friends and loved ones, not political leaders.  A politician who does something horrible yesterday can do something praiseworthy tomorrow.  Generally bad people can do good things (even if for ignoble reasons) and generally good people can do bad things.  That’s why I care little about motives, which I think, in any event, are impossible to know.  Regardless of motives, good acts (releasing the torture memos) should be praised, and bad acts (arguing against prosecutions) should be condemned. (#)

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