Who’s in control in the White House?
If you thought the rogue sensibility went away with the Bushes, think again
By David Sirota
“I am in control here in the White House.” — Secretary of State Alexander Haig, 1981
Ah, the good old days when even a big shot like Gen. Al Haig, who died early Saturday, could get in trouble for such mavericky declarations that defy basic constitutional precedents.
In the 21st century, that’s ancient history. We’ve so idealized cowboy-style rebellion in matters of war and law enforcement that “going Haig” is today honored as “going rogue.” Defiance, irreverence, contempt — these are the moment’s most venerated postures, no matter how destructive or lawless.
The Bush administration’s illegal wiretapping and torture sessions were the most obvious examples of the rogue sensibility on steroids. But then came McCain-Palin, a presidential ticket predicated almost singularly on the rogue brand. And now, even in the Obama era, that brand pervades.