Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 8, 2010

LUGAR DEFENDS OBAMA AGAINST CHENEY ATTACKS.... After Dick Cheney's loathsome attacks against President Obama last week, most Republicans were content to cheer the disgraced former vice president on. There have been a few exceptions.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), for example, said earlier this week, "I think [Cheney] had his eight years, and he's caused a lot of trouble for our country and perpetuated a war in Iraq unnecessary and wrong-headed. I would say it would be best he not be so critical right now." Similarly, former Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia, who left the GOP to become a Libertarian, called Cheney's vile criticism "asinine."

But as nice as it was to see Paul's and Barr's pushback, neither are especially influential with the political establishment. It's why I found this item, by way of Teagan Goddard, noteworthy.

Richard Lugar, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, defended President Barack Obama's handling of recent terrorism threats, taking issue with former Vice President Dick Cheney's criticism.

"It's unfair," Lugar said in an interview for Bloomberg Television's "Political Capital with Al Hunt," airing this weekend. "I think the president is focused."

Cheney, who frequently has led Republican attacks on the Democratic president since leaving office a year ago, told Politico on Dec. 29 that Obama "is trying to pretend we are not at war" with a "low-key response" to the Dec. 25 attempt to ignite a bomb aboard a flight to Detroit.

To the contrary, Obama has demonstrated "firmness" and "decisiveness," Lugar, who represents Indiana, said. "That's been the antidote to the criticism."

Keep in mind, Lugar isn't exactly a moderate -- he's always been a conservative senator.

And even he has no use for Cheney's nonsense.

I don't imagine this will suddenly change a lot of minds or alter the discourse, but Lugar enjoys considerable respect and credibility in the Senate, and his defense of the president will be noticed.

If there were only a few more like him in the Senate, we might even be able to have a real discussion about national security policy. It's a fanciful notion, I know, but I'm a dreamer.

Steve Benen 2:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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

Posted by: neill on January 8, 2010 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a dreamer.

But you're not the only one. I hope some day they'll join us, and the world will be as one.

Posted by: rea on January 8, 2010 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not suprised to see Lugar do this, given that (a) he has a good personal relationship with Obama and (b) he's one of the few grownups left in the GOP Senate caucus and their top foreign policy expert. Besides, he's been around forever and is an institution in his state, so he can say what he wants and the teabaggers can't touch him.

Posted by: gf120581 on January 8, 2010 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

club for growth threatning a primary in 3. 2. 1.......

Posted by: the seal on January 8, 2010 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney, and the bulk of the GOP, are still reading from Rove's tactical playbook: Find your own weakest point, and accuse your opponent of the very same failing, while not mentioning your own shortcomings.

Kudos to any and all who point out the naked absurdity of this tactic, and the GOP's lack of coherent strategy.

Posted by: Andrew in Berkeley on January 8, 2010 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

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

Posted by: neill on January 8, 2010 at 2:39 PM

Dick Cheney's shit-filled soul is already there. Why the management in Hell feels the need to give him a furlough to go on the Sunday talk shows is one of the sad-but-true mysteries of our time.

Posted by: electrolite on January 8, 2010 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

P.S. Yes, Cheney was vomiting his "opinions" forth to Politico, but as his faithful stenographers they're not any better than the Sunday a.m. gasbag shows.

Posted by: electrolite on January 8, 2010 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Seems to me that, by their own admission, Republicans are much more frightened of terrorists than Democrats are. That means that terrorism only really works against Republicans. I believe a major reason for this is that the Republican party has so many religious fanatics of its own.

Meanwhile, can you imagine the backlash if Al Gore had questioned George W Bush's response to 9/11 two weeks later?

Posted by: chrenson on January 8, 2010 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

One glaring flaw in our system of democracy is that the flailing, squawking, lying wackos seem to get endless airtime while more reasonable people like Lugar are barely audible.

Posted by: TLV on January 8, 2010 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

I'll get excited when a majority of Republicans says Cheney was wrong in his single-minded pursuit of being saloonkeeper of the Middle East Oil Bar. But at the moment most of them believe Dick Cheney simply dared to act on impulses that all of them would like to, but dare not.

Posted by: Mark on January 8, 2010 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Neill -
I second that!

Posted by: js on January 8, 2010 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

One glaring flaw in our system of democracy is that the flailing, squawking, lying wackos seem to get endless airtime while more reasonable people like Lugar are barely audible.

That's because we don't have a 'system of democracy'; we have a system of special interests. We always have -- only now a key special interest, the press, has gone completely over to the Dark Side.

For a long time after the birth of the republic, competing points of view found their voices in some of the most rabidly partisan 'news' papers that ever existed. (Think McCormick's Chicago Tribune, for example.) And as late as the '50s, most reporters were true working stiffs, not blow-dried jerks with journalism degrees and a hungry desire to move up in the corporate hierarchy.

Point is, there were powerful papers representing all points of view, not just that of the corporate establishment. Blogs, good as some are, somehow don't seem to have the same impact.

Posted by: JCB on January 8, 2010 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

I'm as far left as anyone. And Lugar is my Senator.

And I think he is a reasonable man and a good Senator. If only we could guys like him on the health care reform.

Posted by: jharp on January 8, 2010 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

How is raining Hellfire missiles down on the heads of militants in Pakistan refuges "pretending we are not at war"? What is more important, talking the talk about terrorism or actuallytaking the offensive to enemy? To Republicans, talk is all.

Posted by: bob h on January 8, 2010 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Senator Lugar's finest moment came in the late '80s when President Reagan sent him to report on the elections in the Philippines as Marcos was trying to cling to power. As the reality on the ground began to contradict the Reagan Administration Talking Points, to his honor, Sen. Lugar abandoned his Talking Points and began to honestly report on the chaos, irregulaties, and intimidation that ultimately lead to the success of "People Power." From that moment, I have respected Sen. Lugar though he and I have differed on specifics since that time.

More sane officials like Dick Lugar need to step up! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on January 8, 2010 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

Time for a "Two Minute Hate" of Goldber... I mean Cheney!

Maybe if Obama didn't blame his every problem on Bush and Cheney, as if no other president ever inherited a problem... For instance Bush inherited No Fly Zones in Iraq, an in motion 9-11 plot... on and on, every president does. If you will notice, the easy way to shut Cheney up would be to stop invoking him every time Obama is embarrassed.

Clinton never inherited any problems?
George H. W. Bush never inherited any problems?
Ronald Reagan never inherited any problems?

Please. You guys are calling for War Crimes trials of Cheney, and he is supposed to shut up and take it?

YOu guys are pathetic. You should go back and read 1984 again, except it would be a waste of time.

Posted by: tool of some sort on January 8, 2010 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

"Keep in mind, Lugar isn't exactly a moderate."

Isn't it so crazy--and not expected in my wildest, worst dreams--that a staunchly conservative, longtime Republican senator, counted on by his constituents and colleagues all these many years to be a strong, respected conservative voice and doing so reliably, now seems like a moderate centrist? Chuck Hagel got out in time, seems like. He'd probably be boiled by the Tea Baggers for being a liberal. It's kind of mind-blowing, thinking what this country used to be like, that we've truly come completely unhinged and are insane! Oh well. Room for vast improvement.

Thanks, Senator Lugar, for having integrity and concern for this country, despite politics.

Posted by: Giselle on January 8, 2010 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

"...Maybe if Obama didn't blame his every problem on Bush and Cheney...". tool of some sort @ 4:25 PM.

Please cite the occasions when President Obama has laid all the problems his administration is facing on the former occupant of the Executive branch? The facts are that the problems dumped onto this administration were caused by Bush and Cheney, both Republicans, carrying out Republican policies; on finance, on war, on tax cuts favoring the rich at the expense of all other citizens; shall I continue?
Many supporters of the President are upset that he hasn't been MORE partisan. Personally, I'd settle for Democrats just calling bullsh*t when Republicans lie, respond with the facts and let the voters make up their own minds and I really don't think you want to go there.
Oh, and I would like to state that, even as a Democrat and a liberal from Indiana, I have more regard for Sen. Lugar, Republican though he may be, than for Sen. Bayh - a morally-impaired, fake Democrat.

Posted by: Doug on January 8, 2010 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Bush did inherit a no-fly zone in Iraq, but I bet there's never been an American president before that suggested painting an American military aircraft in United Nations colours, in hope that Saddam would shoot it down and give him the excuse he wanted. You might have noticed Bush didn't have much use for the United Nations; unless he was....well...using them.

Posted by: Mark on January 8, 2010 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

OK, so Lugar is conservative. He is not an insane clown like Coburn, he is not an ineffectual moron like KY Sen Bunning, he is in fact a reasonable guy who has on numerous occasions worked with Democrats. I'd welcome a substitution of almost any Repukeliscum for another Lugar.

Note that I call for substitutions.

Posted by: POed Lib on January 8, 2010 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

First, I have to say that I love the name of the blog. Second, I was very glad to see Senator Lugar's comments. He has always been a thoughtful statesman and well respected for his foreign policy views.

Posted by: Charlie on January 9, 2010 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

Note to McCain and Palin:

Want some pointers on this "maverick" thing you want so bad? I got a guy....

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Posted by: Fanny on March 4, 2010 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK



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