Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 29, 2009

MAYBE THEY FORGOT ABOUT RICHARD REID.... Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) doesn't want Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to face criminal charge in a federal court. Former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge doesn't want Abdulmutallab to have legal rights.

I had the same thought Josh Marshall had about the search for elusive consistency.

Remember, the AbdulMutallab case is virtually identical to the Richard Reid "Shoe Bomber" case from December 2001 -- to an uncanny degree. Same explosive, (PETN), same MO (blowing up an airliner bound for the US), same failed attempt.

It's really about as close to identical cases and you get. And, of course, Reid was tried in civilian courts and is now serving a life sentence. Seemed to work fine in his case. And unless I'm misremembering, I don't remember anybody criticizing this approach at the time.

Most of the criticisms we're hearing are pretty silly. But that's where the buck stops. It happened. Obama's president. It's natural that the political opposition will try to pin it on him. But can we at least get some demagoguing that isn't so transparently ridiculous and easily refuted by pointing out the policy the accuser followed when they were in charge?

Right. The Reid and Abdulmutallab cases offer nearly identical circumstances -- same chemical, same target, same intended consequence, same month of the year, same twisted ideology. Reid was charged, convicted, sentenced, and locked up for life. Neither conservatives nor liberals whined about it. But if the Obama administration subjects Abdulmutallab to an identical process, Republicans are outraged? Either they're idiots or they think we are.

But let's take this one step further. In December 2001, Reid tried to blow up an airplane en route to the United States, intending to murder the Americans on board. In December 2009, Abdulmutallab tried to blow up an airplane en route to the United States, intending to murder the Americans on board. To hear several prominent far-right Republicans tell it, Abdulmutallab's attempt must be President Obama's fault -- as they see it, the suspected terrorist wouldn't have tried to commit mass murder were it not for the administration's policies. Failed attempt or not, the effort itself, Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) said, is evidence of the White House's "approach" being wrong.

For any grown-up, that's obviously insane. But taken at face value, doesn't that necessarily mean that Bush/Cheney policies were equally responsible for Reid's nearly identical terrorist plot? If Abdulmutallab's attempt is evidence of Obama's national security strategy being misguided, wouldn't Reid's attempt also be evidence of the Bush/Cheney strategy being equally misguided?

What's more, is there any evidence -- any at all -- that congressional Democrats attacked Bush/Cheney for Reid's failed attempt? I suspect there isn't, which is why it seems like the two parties simply aren't playing the same game.

Steve Benen 2:15 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (31)

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What's more, is there any evidence -- any at all -- that congressional Democrats attacked Bush/Cheney for Reid's failed attempt? I suspect there isn't, which is why it seems like the two parties simply aren't playing the same game.

So WTF is wrong with the Senate Democrats?

And anyone who claims that the Democrats "need to grow a pair" had better explain their position on gay rights and feminism, because this is precisely what one would expect from limp-wristed sissies.

Posted by: mcbfride on December 29, 2009 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

For any grown-up, that's obviously insane. But taken at face value, doesn't that necessarily mean that Bush/Cheney policies were equally responsible for Reid's nearly identical terrorist plot? If Abdulmutallab's attempt is evidence of Obama's national security strategy being misguided, wouldn't Reid's attempt also be evidence of the Bush/Cheney strategy being equally misguided?

************************************************

So let's see if the corporate slut called David Gregory, or any of the other corporate media that is all Repiglicans, has any of these delusional idiots on their shows so that these questions can be asked ........ and of course this won't happen. Why ? BECAUSE THEY ARE REPIGLICANS.........

Posted by: stormskies on December 29, 2009 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Even more extraordinary is the fact that the 9/11 attack occurred just months before and the nation should have been on high alert. Doesn't it make charge against the Bush-Cheney admin all the more damning given their claim that the nation was safer because of what they did?

IOKIYAR!

Posted by: Kiweagle on December 29, 2009 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Of course the parties aren't playing the same game, Steve. Hasn't that been true for a long time? So why do we have to treat every instance of the Rethug's inconsistency and hypocrisy as if it was a new development?

The two incidents are essentially the same, but separated by eight years. No one remembers what happened in 2001, except for 9/11, and the corporate media helps us all forget. In any case reason and rationality no longer carry any weight. It's all about emotion and partisanship now. No one cares about the facts.

Posted by: rrRk1 on December 29, 2009 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Right, and let's remember that CIA report was on Bush's fucking desk, the one called "bin laden determind to attact the U.S." ......oh wait, that's right, Bush was on yet another vacation ...

Posted by: stormskies on December 29, 2009 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

what Kiweagle is getting at is right.
Since this is a terrorist attack and not a failed attempt according to righties, that make Richard Reid's attempt an attack and completely blows up the rightie talking point that we never had another terrorist attack after 9/11. Of course that only counts if you exclude anthrax and all the attacks on American across the world by terrorists(including the 2 wars), but hey why let facts get in the way of a good talking point(or a completely false one at that).

Posted by: Duae on December 29, 2009 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect that if you make this argument to a right-winger, he'll simply agree that the Bush administration was hopelessly inept, criminal and stupid -- just like the Obama administration!!!"

Posted by: hells littlest angel on December 29, 2009 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously if Abdulmutallab is Obama's fault, it means that Reid was Clinton's fault- after all, Mary Matalin said that we inherited 9/11 from Clinton.

Posted by: SP on December 29, 2009 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, you obviously don't understand.... Reid's attempt also because of Obama's failed approach.

There... it is all perfectly consistent. And if it is repeated enough, at least 1/2 the population believes it. Game over. Thanks for playing.

Posted by: Chrisbo on December 29, 2009 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

No matter the issue, they hate it. It's like the "terrible twos".

Anyone surprised, raise your hand.

Posted by: MissMudd on December 29, 2009 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

"It's really about as close to identical cases [as]you get." The big differences to Conservatives are that Reid was white and didn't have a Muslim-sounding name. He therefore couldn't have been as big a threat as Abdulmutallab and deserves rights that the Nigerian doesn't.

Posted by: 57Kevin on December 29, 2009 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Was Reid on the watch list?

Posted by: Coral on December 29, 2009 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

The problem is Peter King and Ridge won't be challenged on this when they appear as talking heads on CNN, MSNBC, or Fucksnews.

McCain and Gingritch will assert on MTP that this is an unprecedented failure on the part of Obama to secure the homeland. David Gregory will sagely nod his head in agreement.

If he looks like he's going to ask a follow up question, they'll interupt him and he'll forget that he was about to ask about the similarities between this case and the shoebombercase.

Then they'll go to a commercial break

Posted by: Winkandanod on December 29, 2009 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

By Deception shalt thou practice the Art of War.

Posted by: Ten Bears on December 29, 2009 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

In Richard Reid's case, there wasn't any legal option available other than a trial in American courts. Reid is/was an American citizen. The jockstrap jihadist is not.

Nevertheless, the call to give the underwear bomber anything but a trial in American courts is nothing but more cowardly Republican crybaby nonsense.

Posted by: Okie on December 29, 2009 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Reid is/was an American citizen.
----------------
Nope.

Posted by: Fleas correct the era on December 29, 2009 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

The only big difference between this guy and Reid is that the latest attempt was... the punch line of the joke that went around after TSA had people take their shoes off going through security. Yes, an underwear bomb.

Posted by: Marc in Denver on December 29, 2009 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

"Either they're idiots or they think we are." - They're mostly not stupid, they do *know* that their base are indeed idiots.

Posted by: neil b. on December 29, 2009 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Mr King is obviously setting a mass standard. 50g of PETN = federal court, 80g of PETN = military tribunal. So my question is this: which way do you go if the attacker uses 65g of PETN?

Posted by: fostert on December 29, 2009 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

If there is any doubt in anyone's mind that if a terrorist attack happens on American soil anytime in the next 3 years that they GOP will call for Obama's immediate resignation, well, you have your definitive answer. The really do take it to a farcical level-- sadly there are too many ignorant idiots who will gladly blame Obama for a failed attack but not hold Bush accountable for 9/11.

I am so sick of these bozos. Although what bothers me more is the chance they'll get back in power by default just because the only position dems can play is underdog. I really hope that we get our shit together, Obama unites the party, and 2010 is not a reenactment of 1994.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on December 29, 2009 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

"is there any evidence -- any at all -- that congressional Democrats attacked Bush/Cheney for Reid's failed attempt? I suspect there isn't"

Guess we'll never know. A journalist or writer or blogger or academic would have to look it up.

Posted by: flubber on December 29, 2009 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

King should be in military court, and then to prison for funding IRA terrorists so they could blow up the British and Northern Irish people.

Posted by: Joan on December 29, 2009 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

If there is any doubt in anyone's mind that if a terrorist attack happens on American soil anytime in the next 3 years that they GOP will call for Obama's immediate resignation, well, you have your definitive answer.
------------------
Also if a terrorist attack doesn't happen on American soil, etc.

Posted by: Fleas correct the era on December 29, 2009 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

"King should be in military court, and then to prison for funding IRA terrorists so they could blow up the British and Northern Irish people."

Umm, you obviously didn't get the memo. Christians are legally allowed and sometimes required to commit terrorist acts. We are not fighting terrorism, we are only fighting Islamic terrorism. When Christians do it, it's all cool. And you must know that when Christian bombs tear through your flesh, it doesn't hurt because Jesus takes away your pain. Ask any Englishman, he'll tell you. Okay, maybe not.

Posted by: fostert on December 29, 2009 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

People need to start saying over and over every chance possible, right before making the refutation in this post: "I don't know why the republican party feels the need to politicize absolutely everything." Obama needs to say this out loud and on camera.

When the GOP is called out they will shrink super fast.

Posted by: a reader on December 29, 2009 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

they know they can run wild for a couple weeks while daily show's off the air so it's only bloggers picking up on this

Posted by: TS on December 29, 2009 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

TS is absolutely right.... lol

Why is it a comedy show is the only place to get news from a common sense angle?...

Oh, I'm quite sure the people at Fox News are well aware they have free spin time until Stewart is back to clown them all. By then it will be too late, the sheep will already be in line.

Posted by: John on December 31, 2009 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Of COURSE the right will demand Obama's immediate resignation if there is a terrorist attack during his Presidency - in fact they are counting on precisley that - praying for it would not be too far off...

Posted by: Blaidd Drwg on January 2, 2010 at 6:11 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, let's forget that anti-terror apparatus wasn't in place when Reid hit, or that military commissions hadn't been set-up yet, or that Reid wasn't on an terrorist watch-list like Abdulmutallab was (and he also had an active visa which hadn't been caught), or did Reid's father alert the US embassy that his son was under the influence of Islamic extremists...But, the system worked.Oh wait, it's probably Bush's fault, isn't it. Well, at least that's all the empty suit can usually come up with. Only democrat "governance" could revive a dead republican party.

Amateur-hour at the White House continues.

Posted by: Darren on January 8, 2010 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Thank you for your good article, I benefited a lot

Posted by: العاب طبخ on January 16, 2010 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, they are so similar what are the Repubs complaining about! Oh, wait, forgot about all those little details like the watch list, etc. Yes, the devil is in the details and Benen seems to have forgotten them...

Posted by: KellyC on February 9, 2010 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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