Marc Ambinder Doesn’t Know What the Political Conflicts of the Day Are About

by Brien Jackson

Marc Ambinder is an access-obsessed wanker who will dutifully print anything someone marginally important tells him to if it means he’ll keep being fed quotes to write stories. This isn’t exactly an Earth shattering observation. Still, it’s surprising to realize just how ignorant people who, ostensibly, make a living by reporting on political issues can be on, well, political issues, as Ambinder clearly is here:

The Post reports that Holder, upon taking receipt of the OLC opinion, asked for other opinions and found that his solicitor general would be able to fix an argument for an eventual three-stage court fight that would end up in the Supreme Court. The Post suggests that Holder’s decision “may expose President Obama’s Justice Department to some of the same concerns raised by Democrats during George W. Bush’s presidency.”   



There are, however, some significant differences between the two administration’s actions. The allegations in Bush’s case revolve around an overreliance on the opinions of junior lawyers within the OLC and the bypassing of formal and informal chains of commands.

Aside from the rather flabbergasting admission on Ambinder’s part that he understands that the false equivalency he’s “printing” is in fact a false equivalency, Ambinder is simply wrong in his characterization of the problems with the Bush administration’s OLC. The problem with John Yoo had absolutely nothing to do with “chain of command,” Yoo’s seniority, or even looking around to office for different opinions. The chief complaint about Yoo’s activity in the OLC is that it’s pretty obvious that he was not acting in good faith. He knew the opinions he was writing were bullshit not grounded in the law, but he wrote them anyway for the purpose of greenlighting illegal policies senior administration officials had already decided to pursue, and to give those senior officials cover for their actions. Regardless of what you think of the case against Yoo or the Bush administration on the merits, political “reporters” who earn a paycheck from major media outlets like The Atlantic for “reporting” on the major political stories of the day like Marc Ambinder should at the very least understand what the arguments and controversies they’re “reporting” on are actually about.