Thursday, January 25, 2007

On criticism of the President

I've read a bunch of stuff over the last few years about how it is tantamount to treason to question Dear Leader's decisions. I linked to Chuck Hagel's passionate rejection of that assertion yesterday (in spite of Toxic Joe's insistence that Gen. Petraeus agrees). I think that it would prove useful to read what Teddy Roosevelt had to say on this topic in 1918 (H/T Glenn Greenwald):
The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.

"Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star", 149
May 7, 1918

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