I see a lot of possible wins out of the debate about what to do about the war crimes Bush and Cheney are now going around admitting authorizing, where everyone else sees doom and gloom. Which may turn out to be true, but I say is premature.

This is one of those deals where you can really see both sides of the argument, and I think where it all boils down is here: Our emotional impulses desire a sweeping of all these tawdry, embarrassing national-responsibility things about ourselves under the political and media rug…really, who wants to live through the last 8 years again? And any resources, even just pointy-headed intellectual ones or Congressional ones used on the pursuit of justice have the very practical and scary prospect of those same resources not using their collective pointy-headedness on the rather pressing issues of the day, while we are simultaneously bombarded with an almost unanimous conclusion among the media that the drama is real(!) and the window of time in which we have to move our glacial economy is just barely open so time is of the essence, all the way from the top, 44 hisself.

But then there is our rational side, even if it is screaming, that we can’t let it go, really, even a President and Vice President should rightly not declare different laws for themselves, in order for us to be a very healthy country. I mean, we all know what would happen if any of us had committed these kinds of crime outside the walls of power. We know the reality is different for The Man. But do we really just want to come out and say it, in a legal sense? In America? That’s a huge cultural shift, and I think most people could be persuaded a dangerous one.

And how exactly do we get better at preventing it from happening again if we’re not sure how and why it happened in the first place? Meanwhile, the law and rationality itself are pretty clear on the whole thing (fabulous post title bonus!) only adding to our dissonance.

I think people like Keith Olbermann and Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and the left and the netroots can win this debate. If this issue is hammered on long enough, they can all credibly claim they’re not left-wing partisan shills (try THAT, wingnuttia!), despite having left wing attitudes, and put the “what will they do if Obama is elected?” stupidity to rest.

Obama wins because he’s got it right on both counts. It’s everyone’s inclination to look forward and not go there, and some of those reasons are actually good. Obama ALSO said he didn’t think anyone above the law, which also represents a good 65% of the people. So what he’s done is framed the debate in a way most people can relate to, of either opinion. His problem is ours.

So he lets it play out, under his terms. The public has no excuse not to pick the ball up and roll with it now, and neither does the media, particularly on the left. The infrastructure is in place. This one is gonna be about who screams loudest and smartest and longest. It’s a choice between two rationally arguably crappy alternatives. The other side can be worn down.

I think most of us know in our hearts what the right, American thing to do is. But we don’t want to do it. It will be interesting to see how it plays out, but so far I can see some very cleverly placed chess pieces on the table, and losses for anyone severely mitigated.

So far, so good.