Are Barack Obama's liberal supporters turning against him? One couldn't escape sensing that watching Rachel Maddow's show last night. Not only did Maddow express her own grievances, but Newsweek's venerable gumshoe Michael Isikoff reported on a meeting between Obama and liberal supporters that went completely off the rails.
According to Isikoff, there was a "secret meeting" held at the White House yesterday to discuss Obama's treatment of the whole torture issue. Attending the meeting were the leaders of various unnamed human rights and civil liberties groups, as well as many key Obama administration officials—-Eric Holder, Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod—-which sort of indicated how serious the Obama people were taking it. The purpose of the meeting seems pretty clear—-Obama and company, according to Isikoff, reached out to the leaders of the various groups present and basically said, "Ok, what do we need to do to make you people happy so this will all go away." In fact, Isikoff quoted Obama as saying something along the lines of "(Attorney General) Holder is having to spend way too much time on this." The leaders of the groups present floated the idea that Obama should appoint some sort of "truth commission" to investigate everything fully, thereby taking the burden off of Holder and the Justice Department, but Obama shot that idea down, going on to say that he was "firmly against" any sort of investigatory committee. Another idea floated by the groups was for Obama to go after one key prosecution in the case (Dick Cheney perhaps?) in the hopes of obtaining "a trophy," a head for the troops to rally around, but Obama shot that idea down as well. At one point, one of the group leaders took a shot at Obama, saying that he was "allowing President Bush's policies to become his own." According to Isikoff, this pissed Obama off greatly, to the point where he was visibly shaken by the comment, "demonstrably not pleased" according to Maddow.
It should be noted that Maddow asked Isikoff how it was that he came to know the details of the "secret meeting" to which he responded, "it's called reporting." We love that guy.