Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 1, 2009

RUN, DICK, RUN.... The Wall Street Journal's James Taranto has a piece this week that's almost hard to believe.

We'd venture that for most people the Obama administration's see-no-evil approach is comforting. After years of fear and vigilance, it's nice to be able to relax and not worry so much about terrorism.

It's nice -- but potentially dangerous. If the Bush administration's policies really did keep us safe for 7 1/2 years, then it stands to reason that the Obama administrations' policies may be endangering us now. Certainly that is how the public would see it in the event of another terrorist attack.

If that happens, heaven forbid, Obama will be seen to have failed in the most basic presidential duty, and the Bush administration will be vindicated. As inconceivable as it may seem today, the 2012 election may end up turning on national security. Republicans would be wise to nominate someone with both toughness and experience. Under such circumstances, it's hard to think of a better candidate -- assuming, of course, that he could be persuaded to run -- than Richard B. Cheney.

It's like reading a dispatch from an alternate reality. Taranto believes the White House isn't taking national security threats seriously. That's crazy. Taranto believes the Bush/Cheney team was effective in combating terrorism. That's wrong. Taranto believes Dick Cheney should be the Republican presidential nominee in 2012. I don't even have a good adjective for that one.

But it's Taranto's point about how he wants the public to react "in the event of another terrorist attack" that's especially odious here. It falls into a tired and offensive pattern among far-right voices -- laying down markers now so they can blame Obama if/when there's another terrorist attack on American soil. This has been happening pretty consistently for months, and it continues to be ridiculous.

As Jason Zengerle noted when this rhetoric started, "You almost get the sense [these conservatives] are hoping for an attack so that they can blame Obama when it happens."

"Almost."

Should tragedy strike, a few too many conservative voices will want to tear this country apart. They're intent on laying the groundwork now.

Steve Benen 9:10 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (42)

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Comments

The new national motto for the United States of Amerika: Torture is us!

Posted by: SadOldVet on September 1, 2009 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

The "loyal opposition" has become The "Disloyal Sedition"- a once proud, confident party reduced to Birchers, Birthers and people who want to see America fail. Are they perhaps, sleeper agents?

Posted by: johnnymags on September 1, 2009 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

God damn Dick Cheney's shit-filled soul to hell.

Posted by: neill on September 1, 2009 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

I have never fully understood this logic, it is simplistic, yet foolish, almost beyond comprehension.

Bill has not raped a child since the last time he raped a child, almost eight years ago. Bill's ability to not rape a child, since he last raped a child, shows his incredible success in restraint and is proof that he is the least likely person to rape a child. Please allow Bill to babysit your children to prevent them from being raped.

Posted by: ashton on September 1, 2009 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

Since speculation is now on the table what happens if the next terrorist attack is a far right nut blowing up a federal building?

Posted by: grinning cat on September 1, 2009 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

The right's lies have worked in the health care debate, why should they believe the public won't swallow their national security BS?

Posted by: minimus on September 1, 2009 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

Please allow Bill to babysit your children to prevent them from being raped.

And if your child gets raped by someone else, it will be because you failed to seek Bill's advice.

Posted by: Danp on September 1, 2009 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

And the Washington Post has an editorial in today's rag that calls for no investigation of torture done by our country...

Our country has a sizeable portion of the population (and most of the corporate media) who now profess that there is no value in upholding the Constitution and the laws of our country.

Does our country any longer have any soul or any morality?

After WWII, courts held that 'following orders' was not a reasonable defense for crimes against humanity by Germans. After WWII, Japanese were tried and executed for acts of torture that we have had publicly acknowledged as having done in our name.

Our current president has disavowed his oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution and to uphold the laws of our country.

Are we, as a nation, fucked or totally fucked?

Do we learn from history? Apparently not! After Nixon and Watergate and after Raygun and Iran-Contra, investigations were waylaid and persons in government flouting our laws were never prosecuted. There is a long list of these individuals were ended up back in government under Bush I and Bush II. If violations of law by government officials are never investigated and prosecuted, they will keep reoccuring!

Posted by: SadOldVet on September 1, 2009 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

If that happens, heaven forbid, Obama will be seen to have failed in the most basic presidential duty, and the Bush administration will be vindicated.

Of course, the Bush administration spectacularly failed in that most basic duty on 9/11.

Posted by: Jinchi on September 1, 2009 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

"Almost" my ass. Taranto and his ilk are salivating at the prospects of Republican gains as a result of a national tragedy. They are evil, soul-less fucks greedy to regain power at any and ALL costs to this country.

Should tragedy strike, a few too many conservative voices will want to tear this country apart.

"Revolution", "Coup" "Take our country back". Haven't you noticed? The wingnut voices aren't waiting for a tragedy to tear this country apart. Simply losing an election was enough.

Posted by: ckelly on September 1, 2009 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

In one sense, though, he's right: the Bush / Cheney administration should have been held responsible for their gross negligence in failing to disrupt the 9/11 attacks -- the months of derogation of Richard Clarke and his team at the National Security Council, the low priority given to the issue of terrorism, Bush's obvious lack of interest ("You've covered your ass, now go back to Washington"). Not to mention their sheer panic and bumbling on the day of the attack itself.

Posted by: larry birnbaum on September 1, 2009 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

It is sad that such intellectual depravity would be published! It is important for the sane among us to ridicule such un-American tripe.

Fantasies from the far right are seemingly becoming unfathomable! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on September 1, 2009 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

If something does happen, we should look first at these conservative war mongers as suspects. They have much more to gain than anyone else. Thats all they know. These guys are worse than traditional terrorists as they live within and are doing a bang up job of inciting violence.

Posted by: Ajay on September 1, 2009 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney, Plain and Mittens in the 2012 GOP primary might neccesitate given Stewart and Colbert their own 24 network. The stupid just never stops.

Posted by: ChicagoPat on September 1, 2009 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Should tragedy strike, a few too many conservative voices will want to tear this country apart. They're intent on laying the groundwork now.

Much like grinning cat, I would think that something happening would be the result of right-wing nutbags.

But I think it may be a bit deeper than that.

As I adjust my tin-foil hat, it wouldn't surprise me in the least if something does happen, which is later (perhaps much later) identified as having been the work of a group funded/directed by neocons, a group that is essentially a well-funded private army that has already demonstrated its usefulness (like oh, I don't know--Blackwater or whatever it's called now), who do it all 24-like, painting an Islamic-militant culprit via 'evidence' planting. All to rile up the frothing base to storm the WH, remove the muslim plant there, and reinstall our benevolent neocon saviors. Or at the very least to silence and stem the tide of a popular Democratic administration who is (perhaps, we'll see) starting to do good things that people can materially see. Can't have that.

Posted by: terraformer on September 1, 2009 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

>> If that happens, heaven forbid, Obama will be seen to have failed in the most basic presidential duty

Nice to finally hear a conservative commentator admitting that George W. Bush "failed in the most basic presidential duty" when we were attacked on 9/11.

Posted by: Hoosier Paul on September 1, 2009 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

The Right ABSOLUTELY wants another terrorist attack. It would feel better than Wesson Oil, rubber sheets and a Sarah Palin spread in Playboy. Since fully half the nation is insane little more than another couple points during the 2012 election would swing the White House to Republicans. Smoking downtown Chicago would be more than a fair trade if it meant the uppity nigger was proven a loser. Hell, it'd be a twofer, he's out of power and hasn't a hometown to return to! You ever tell a spouse to get away from something, they don't know how to use it (power saw? sewing machine?) and will either break it, hurt themselves or both? They persist, break it and hurt themselves. Are you angry they didn't heed your warning? Sure. Can you admit you're also just a bit pleased your dire predictions came true? C'mon, just say it, you're a bit happy the dumb bastard ignored you. "Maybe in the future they'll listen to me" you mutter, smugly. The Right really wants Obama to fumble the power saw. They'll be named Kings of the Garage forever if it happens. Democrats won't even be allowed to sniff the tool box.

Posted by: steve duncan on September 1, 2009 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

Wait. I thought we were all Muslims now. Why would Muslims attack a country with a Muslim president?

Actually, it stands to reason that the only people who can protect us from religious fundamentalist conservative wackjobs would be religious fundamentalist conservative wackjobs.

Posted by: chrenson on September 1, 2009 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

If there were to be another terrorist attack, the best solution would be to make Obama President for Life. I'm sure the Right will understand it's for the best of the nation.

Posted by: Bob M on September 1, 2009 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

What Taranto leaves out is the mechanism by which Obama "will be seen" to have failed. There is the implication that voters will just naturally come to the indicated conclusion. What's left unsaid is that, given the opportunity, he and people like him will do everything in their considerable power to plant a false idea in the public's minds.

Taranto's piece isn't a prediction; it's a statement of intent.

Posted by: K on September 1, 2009 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

We'd venture that for most people the Obama administration's see-no-evil approach is comforting. After years of fear and vigilance, it's nice to be able to relax and not worry so much about terrorism.**********************

The only See-No-Evil approach that Obama has taken is a See-No-Evil approach to Dickless Cheney's illegal wars, spying and torture programs. Comforting? No. Calculated to reduce riech-wing apoplexy? Yes. If we are attacked again, I repeat, it will be because of, not in spite of, Bush and the big Dick. A war of choice against a country that did not attack the US, waterboarding and other forms of torture on mere suspects (permanently maiming and killing some of them), indefinite detention (including pre-teens and 80+ year olds), DU bombs that will deform children and bring terrible disease and death for centuries, chemical warfare using white phosphorus to burn people to death with no way extinguish it, extraordinary rendition to country's known to torture and violate human rights, mercenary armies like Blackwater that killed civilians with immunity, suspension of the Geneva Conventions and habeaus corpus rights, etc. THEY have wrought any retaliation that comes upon us. The majority of Americans know this. Now, IF we only had a media that told the truth, the reich wing rabids would hear it instead of Cheney's constant load of self-protective bullshit.

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on September 1, 2009 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Just what the GOP needs: a presidential nominee with the life expectancy of cottage cheese.

Posted by: penalcolony on September 1, 2009 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

"I don't even have a good adjective for that one."

Totally batshit crazy?

Posted by: converse on September 1, 2009 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Bush said the Constitution is "only A god damn piece of paper", and treated it as such. We have allowed the neocons to get away with it by not prosecuting the war criminals, especially Bush, Cheney and Field Marshall von Rumsfeld.

So the next step towards a totalitarian dictatorship is obviously to obliterate the Constitution entirely.

And so we are. The fascists are very good at this sort of thing.

Posted by: rrk1 on September 1, 2009 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

When reading idiots like Taranto you have to pay attention to the major premise if you are to catch the slight of hand: "If Bush policies really did keep us safe for 7 1/2 years...then..."

"If cows really can fly then where are we going to get our milk..."

Posted by: Ted Frier on September 1, 2009 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Didn't Bush/Cheney serve eight years, not 7 1/2 or does he mean we weren't safe for that 1/2 year ? I like the idea, bring Cheney out front and center, let him answer for his record in public. Maybe his delusional daughter would be his running mate.

Posted by: ScottW on September 1, 2009 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

". . . it stands to reason that the Obama administrations' policies may be endangering us now."

It stands to reason? No it doesn't, at least as the word "reason" has come to be defined over the last 4,000 years.

These idiots don't just abuse public speakers at Democratic Party-sponsored town hall meetings, they abuse the English language itself. They think that because they can turn a phrase and mention big words like Supreme Court and Constitution that somehow these words will mean whatever they want them to mean.

I wish my 7th grade English teacher were here. She'd rip him apart.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 1, 2009 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

Taranto is being unrealistic. While highly qualified for the office of president and being a leading voice on national security, Richard Cheney is too old to be the republican candidate for president in 2012.

The obvious republican candidate for president in 2012 is Jeb Bush. Jeb is a very strong voice for national security, as witnessed by his foresight in being one of the original signers of the Project for a New American Century statement of principles. Jeb has very strong foreign policy credentials, as witnessed by his having the last name of Bush.

There is obviously no downside to Jeb Bush being the republican candidate in 2012. He will get the support of our Evangelical brethren. He will get the endorsement of our corporate media.

There is no better candidate to carry forward the strong legacy of the Bush family's dedication to our country.

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on September 1, 2009 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Suggestions above that there might be a neocon conspiracy to make a terrorist attack happen, notwithstanding somewhat self-mocking "tinfoil hat" disclaimers, are the equivalent of believing that there might be something "we need to check out" about the question of whether President Obama was born in Kenya or converted to Islam in Indonesia.

Posted by: larry birnbaum on September 1, 2009 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Why would Cheney want to run, he was already President for 8 years, while Bush was the "public face"?

Can you see Cheney with full Presidential power? MSNBC gets shut down as a security risk. We invade Canada for their resources. The European Union would be compared to the Axis Countries of WWII and we would have to attack all of Europe. Woman who have abortions will be hung in town squares. Halliburton, Bechtel and Blackwater...sorry XE, will get ALL government contracts. Bill O'Reilly will be Secretary of State. Dick will use to original copy of the Constitution to light his cigar and the Bill of Rights to wipe his ass. Elections will be canceled and he will declare himself President for life, and finally we will see a mass exodus of Americans to Mexico or Canada as we escape someone who is as crazy and almost as dangerous as Hitler was.

Posted by: Joe D on September 1, 2009 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Just look at the fools' wikipedia page. I had never heard of him before today, when I heard his frog voice on MSNBC saying "God forbid, we have another 9/11, god forbid" smirking the whole time, but the fucker couldn't even graduate from a shitty college, then he sued it. What a fucking idiot. Let me guess, "Another conservative railroaded by the liberal media/college/academia". Fat fucking idiot. Drop him off in the middle east. let him fight his own war. fat fucking chickenhawk.

Posted by: FuckTarantonot Toronto on September 1, 2009 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Fair's fair -- if Obama gets the blame for any terrorist attack on his watch, shouldn't Bush/Cheney get full blame for 9/11? After all, we know that they were warned, and contemptuously blew off the warnings. "They kept us safe for 7 1/2 years!" Well, in that there wasn't another foreign terrorist attack on American soil, maybe -- MAYBE -- they deserve the credit. But they accomplished it mainly by giving Bin Laden exactly what he wanted: American bases out of Saudi Arabia, American troops mired in the Middle East, a bungled response that made us hated throughout the Islamic world and a lot of other places as well, and turned moderate Muslims against us. In any case, saying that Bush kept us safe except for 9/11 is like saying that the Titanic had a pretty good voyage except for the iceberg.

Posted by: T-Rex on September 1, 2009 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK
If that happens, heaven forbid, Obama will be seen to have failed in the most basic presidential duty, and the Bush administration will be vindicated.

Speaking of basic duties: when sworn in, a new president swears to do the following two things only:

1. "faithfully execute the Office of President"
2. "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution"

Whatever you think about the first of these, it's glaringly obvious that Bush 43 failed (spectacularly) on the second. As, I should add, will Obama if he prevents the lawbreakers of the previous administration from being brought to justice.

Posted by: noncarborundum on September 1, 2009 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

If we applied equal measure to Bush and Obama, then Obama only needs to keep us safe (at home) for another ten days to outperform Bush. Even after that, he could beat Bush by avoiding taking us into another two wars, creating another Gitmo, not turning over FEMA to a horse show executive, not letting another rogue nation develop nuclear weapons capability, etc.

Posted by: tomj on September 1, 2009 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney is the perfect Republican presidential candidate because he represents everything that the modern Republican party stands for: torture, ignorance, distortion, illegal spying, running up deficit spending, cutting taxes for the wealthy, going to war as a first resort, opposing Democrats on every policy.

Posted by: cyb1851 on September 1, 2009 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

But remember, if the attack occurs in the next ten days, then it is Bushes fault becuase everybody knows that the new President doesn't become responsible until September 12.

Posted by: phg on September 1, 2009 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

If that happens, heaven forbid, Obama will be seen to have failed in the most basic presidential duty, and the Bush administration will be vindicated.

"Alright, you've covered your ass, now." -- George W. Bush upon receiving the "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US" memo, August 2001.

Posted by: Stefan on September 1, 2009 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

If the Bush administration's policies really did keep us safe for 7 1/2 years, then it stands to reason that the Obama administrations' policies may be endangering us now. Certainly that is how the public would see it in the event of another terrorist attack.

If the Clinton administration's policies really did keep us safe for 7 3/4 years, then it stands to reason that the Bush administrations' repudiation of those policies endangered us and allowed the 9/11 attacks. Certainly that is how history will see it.

Posted by: Stefan on September 1, 2009 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

It almost sounds like Quentin Tarantino wrote the piece, not Taranto. QT likes a lot of blood, too.

Posted by: Curmudgeon on September 1, 2009 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

It's like reading a dispatch from an alternate reality.

I think you meant lunatic asylum.

Posted by: thalarctos on September 1, 2009 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK
If the Bush administration's policies really did keep us safe for 7 1/2 years, then it stands to reason that the Obama administrations' policies may be endangering us now.

That's an interesting argument. But, really, can you find anyone who thinks that the Bush Administration's policies "really did keep us safe" from July 21, 2001, through the end of Bush's term?

Posted by: cmdicely on September 1, 2009 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

it's hard to think of a better candidate -- assuming, of course, that he could be persuaded to run -- than Richard B. Cheney

Close your eyes and imagine a stony-faced Stephen Colbert staring straight at you and delivering that punch line . . . it works much, much better!

Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on September 1, 2009 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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