Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 4, 2010

PLENTY OF COWARDICE TO GO AROUND.... Last week, after Dick Cheney's loathsome condemnations of President Obama, I called the disgraced former vice president a coward. Apparently, the spinelessness isn't limited to the man who helped run the Bush administration.

Peter Baker has a lengthy NYT piece on the ways in which the Obama White House approaches counter-terrorism, and Matt Yglesias flagged an illustrative paragraph:

A half-dozen former senior Bush officials involved in counterterrorism told me before the Christmas Day incident that for the most part, they were comfortable with Obama's policies, although they were reluctant to say so on the record. Some worried they would draw the ire of Cheney's circle if they did, while others calculated that calling attention to the similarities to Bush would only make it harder for Obama to stay the course. And they generally resent Obama's anti-Bush rhetoric and are unwilling to give him political cover by defending him.

This is pretty sad. These former officials are worried, even now, about Cheney and his minions? Nearly a year out of office, the disgraced former vice president might punish senior Bush-era officials if they dared to offer a positive assessment on Obama-era counter-terrorism efforts?

Remember, this is the team that ran the executive branch -- badly -- for eight long, painful years.

As for resenting Obama's "anti-Bush" rhetoric, this is awfully petty. For one thing, Obama hasn't bashed the former president directly since taking the oath of office. For another, Bush did leave a series of crises for Obama to clean up -- the Great Recession, two wars, a job market in freefall, a huge deficit, and crushing debt, a health care system in shambles, a climate crisis, an ineffective energy policy, an equally ineffective immigration policy, a housing crisis, the collapse of the U.S. auto industry, a mess at Gitmo, a severely tarnished global reputation, etc. -- and it hardly seems unreasonable for the president to make occasional references to what he "inherited" the day he took office.

Or as Matt put it, some of the loyal Bushies "don't want to say he's doing the right thing because their feelings are hurt that a Democrat said bad things about his grossly unpopular Republican predecessor? For this they're going to undermine support for policies that they themselves believe are keeping the country safe?"

It's hard to overstate how much better off the country is now that these folks are just major media personalities, instead of top White House officials.

Steve Benen 12:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (21)

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Coward, indeed. REM Cheney getting a Vietnam deferral; he said ~ "I had other priorities." (Like, making money by getting into the big-government corporatist scheme.)

Posted by: neil b on January 4, 2010 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Just more proof republicans are pantswetters.

Posted by: Dave on January 4, 2010 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

"just major media personalities, instead of top White House officials."

Beware the revolving door. Plenty of these ex administration celebs would love to retake their seats in the navigation room of the Titanic.

Posted by: lou on January 4, 2010 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

After the recent HCR fiasco, we on the left should worry more about the Democrat cowards in the senate than about the cowardice of the out of power mid level Republicans keeping their resumes clean for future jobs.

Posted by: banned on January 4, 2010 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

I'd love to start hearing people hit back against the righties on this. Every single time there is a debate about terrorists we should simply ask why would we take the advice of a party of cowards?

Posted by: citizen_pain on January 4, 2010 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

..."some of the loyal Bushies "don't want to say he's doing the right thing because their feelings are hurt that a Democrat said bad things about his grossly unpopular Republican predecessor?"

The Bushies' reflexive reaction to ANY problem they encountered while in office - terrorist attacks, the recession, you name it - was to blame it on Clinton/Gore. They're still at it (see Perino and Matalin). And NOW their poor widdo feelings are hurty-wortsy? Nauseating.

Posted by: eeyore on January 4, 2010 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

There are no more adults left in the Republican party.

The problem, of course, is that American politics tend to be carried out at about a fifth-grade level, so the absence of adults isn't that noticeable.

One might even say, it's a feature, not a bug.

Posted by: bleh on January 4, 2010 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

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

Posted by: neill on January 4, 2010 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

"This pretty sad." Steve, I love your work, but please read what you type before you post it.

Posted by: walrus on January 4, 2010 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, these people are cowards, but they also have reason to be afraid. Dick Cheney and his rabid daughter are vengeful spite personified, and I'm sure they would stop at nothing to damage the career of anyone who disobeys them. Most of these mid-level functionaries are unemployable, except for "grace and favor" positions at right-wing foundations and think tanks. If you are on the vast Dick Cheney enemies list, it might be hard to get a well-paid sinecure, and God knows they wouldn't want to be in the real-world job market right now.

Posted by: paul Gottlieb on January 4, 2010 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

....and fittingly, just today Politifact.com rated Cheney's recent comment with a "pants on fire."

STFU, indeed.

Posted by: Walt on January 4, 2010 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

I think Paul's onto something structural there. The United States economy is turning into a big patronage system that rewards loyalty instead of merit.

Posted by: inkadu on January 4, 2010 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Echoing paul gottlieb above,

Cheney shot one of his own in front of the others so they'd learn.

As a bone-chilling encore he had the hideously scarred victim publicly apologize for having caused Cheney so much embarassment.

There's cowardice, and then there just good horse sense.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on January 4, 2010 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

the disgraced former vice president

If there were any justice in this world, he would be disgraced. But so far he has not been. Perhaps you are aware of something that I am not. If so, please share.

There are any number of richly merited and unpleasant adjectives to be applied to Cheney. But he has not been disgraced.

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on January 4, 2010 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

There must have been one official who was willing to go on the record, right, out a dozen officials

Posted by: bishop on January 4, 2010 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Dick Cheney will never stand eye to eye with any potential adversary! A lily-livered coward who hangs out in undisclosed locations, has not a microgram of respect, and who is loathed around the world as the one who sends others to fight and die is how he will be remembered in history! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on January 4, 2010 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

gop 2010: party over country...

once again...

Posted by: mr. irony on January 4, 2010 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

So let me get this straight: loyal Bushies are so afraid of other loyal Bushies that they can´t be honest about the good things they see under Obama?

These people are flat out nut case cowards.

Posted by: Rob Marine on January 4, 2010 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

"But he has not been disgraced." Roddy McCorley @ 3:30 PM.

OK, how 'bout "...disgraceful former VP."?

Posted by: Doug on January 4, 2010 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Cheeky stood by and let his chief staff be pilloried , quite deservedly . After that personal disgrace cheeky played the get out of jail card free , what we call "Admitting to sufficient facts" or "Disgraced". The terrible disgrace of the vice president "cheeky monkey" is not less than his mentor treecky deeck .

Posted by: FRP on January 5, 2010 at 7:54 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry. Never let the demands of tomorrow interfere with the pleasures and excitement of today. Help me! It has to find sites on the: Lcd tv monitors. I found only this - lcd monitor component. Solid replica monitors and contact user, lcd monitor. Lcd monitor, to only realize audio, a poor today that allows into a other outloud has to be flooded. With love :eek:, Canute from Mozambique.

Posted by: Canute on February 17, 2010 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK



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