The Capitol City Project reminds us of, perhaps, the first Obama promise that met the buzzsaw of reality once he was in office. Who would have thought closing a detention center full of detainees no country actually wants, which was designed to face the new and complex challenges of a 21st-century war without nation states or uniforms would be more complicated than just saying you want to close it?
A review by the administration during that time found 50 of the roughly 240 prisoners held at the facility were too dangerous to ever be released and should be held indefinitely, and only 36 of those held could be prosecuted in a federal court. It was also suggested 126 detainees be transferred to their home countries or another country that would openly accept them. However, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) criticized the report saying there was political interference coming from the White House.
The administration has made several pushes to make the transfer or prisoners easier. As of December 2013, 155 detainees remained at Guantanamo.
But it illustrates more than just Obama’s introduction to the real—not false— choices of being president and having to secure a nation (though there’s been plenty of that). It also illustrates that, when Speechmaking Obama overestimates the abilities of President Obama to actually follow through on something, neither Speechmaking Obama nor President Obama knows what to do after that. It’s why a guy who once had 60 votes in the Senate and sky-high approval ratings acts as if he’s never held a house of Congress. It’s why Obamacare is falling apart. It’s why we’re going to talk about “income inequality” all year and Obama’s going to “appeal to the American people” and “get out of the bubble” and “pivot” with a series of speeches, and it’s why none of it will work. Again. He can’t move the ball unless he can move the ball all by himself with a speech or an extra-consitutional penstroke. That’s his one and only move.