Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 10, 2010

READY TO TRY EXCUSE #2?.... For the purposes of evaluation, the parallels between the Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab plot in December and the Richard Reid plot in 2001 are helpful.

Reid and Abdulmutallab used the same chemical, the same target, the same intended consequence, in same month of the year, with the same twisted ideology. They were both stopped by civilians. Reid's attempt happened when Bush was away from the White House; Abdulmutallab's attempt happened when Obama was away from the White House.

Both were read their rights upon being taken into custody, and both were charged with federal crimes to be heard in civilian U.S. courtrooms.

Republicans prefer to believe Reid's case was handled appropriately by Bush/Cheney, while the Obama administration has made a mistake with Abdulmutallab, the identical details notwithstanding.

But as Newt Gingrich's appearance on "The Daily Show" helped demonstrate, conservative critics just don't know what they're talking about.

After Gingrich assailed the administration for reading Miranda Rights to Detroit undie bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, Stewart drew a comparison to something that happened under George W. Bush.

"Didn't they do the same with Richard Reid, who was the shoe bomber?" he asked the Republican icon.

"Richard Reid was an American citizen," insisted Gingrich.

That might be persuasive if Gingrich was right. Except, as is usually the case, Gingrich is clueless -- Reid is a British citizen of Jamaican descent.

And yet, the myth of Republican competence on national security continues.

Update: Josh Marshall added that Gingrich's ignorance is part of "a larger illustration of how much Republicans are flailing to find any 'fact' to plug in to explain why the Abdulmutallab arrest was an outrage even though it went down just like every other arrest of a terrorist on American soil in like forever."

Steve Benen 10:45 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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Comments

But the lie is out there, like all the others, never to be refuted.

Posted by: Dems lose huge in 2010 on February 10, 2010 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Plus whether or not, the guy is a citizen is irrelevant. Under the rule of law in the U.S., both citizens and non citizens are treated the same in an arrest. Republicans don't seem to have noticed that the Constitution doesn't have two categories.

Posted by: Sagacity on February 10, 2010 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Did Stewart follow up?

I missed it.

Posted by: adolphus on February 10, 2010 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Stewart missed Newt's mistake. Maybe he'll note it tonight. It was a fascinating interview since Gingrich was pure smugness and presented Stewart with a can't-miss pinata to whack.

Posted by: walt on February 10, 2010 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

What Gingrinch meant to say was Richard Reid sounds American. Abdullahmullah, whatever, just sound so...foreign.

The rule is, if you can't pronounce the name, military court.

Posted by: doubtful on February 10, 2010 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

From HufPo "Later, when Gingrich acknowledged that part of his job is to reach out to the emotions of the American people, Stewart shot back, "I think that's wise. And don't let reality get in the way."

Posted by: ComradeAnon on February 10, 2010 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

I am reminded of Benen's column from last week - why are republicans consistently allowed to lie without consequence? Or his column from last month- why is Newt on television? Hasn't he been discredited over and over again?

Posted by: RolloTomasi on February 10, 2010 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

This just in: Gingrich pushes for citizenship for convicted terrorist!

Posted by: Vondo on February 10, 2010 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Rollo: (why are republicans consistently allowed to lie without consequence?) Follow the money...mass media , friends of Corporate America because they are Corporate America

Posted by: john R on February 10, 2010 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

Now that we know that all of these talking points about the underwear bomber were jointly agreed on by Cheney/Ridge. I would say I am surprised that Cheney Ridge & co know so little about what happens when someone is taken into custody.
I wonder how many other republican talking points come directly from the Cheney's, I sure wish the British would do a 'rendition' run on Cheney to make him appear at the inquiry on Iraq and the war.

Posted by: JS on February 10, 2010 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans don't do debate - they do misdirection. Misdirection doesn't have to be based on anything, or be consistent, or be logical. It only has to misdirect.

Mission accomplished.

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on February 10, 2010 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Gingrich must have unfurled that whopper on purpose. Why? To distract from the point that Sagacity mentioned above: all suspects arrested by U.S. authorities are entitled to Constitutional rights. Indeed, non-citizens would need the Miranda warning *more* than citizens who are plausibly aware of these rights.

Posted by: Grumpy on February 10, 2010 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Stewart DID note that Gingrich was mistaken...at the end of the program. The mantra of the GOP is LIE, but LIE WITH AUTHORITY. It worked with Saddam and they are hoping it will work again. For ANOTHER fascinating interview see Savannah Guthrie and Kit Bond on The Daily Rundown today. I don't believe they are 'clueless'...I believe they have decided to LIE and to keep the American public fearful so that they can be controlled.

Posted by: SYSPROG on February 10, 2010 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

I'd bet a hundred bucks that Gingrich knew Reid wasn't a US citizen, but also knew that few people would know that. Just toss one more lie out there to see what sticks. What an asshole.

Posted by: estamm on February 10, 2010 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

GIngrich knew he was lying!It is all about a full court press on the Obama administration.We agonize over how wrong they are but that isn't the point, they know they are lying, they got their point across. Most people won't analyze their statements. The Dems won't refute it, and if they do it won't get played. The Repubs are running a wonerful propaganda program. It's working!

Posted by: edr on February 10, 2010 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

That isn't ignorance (well, it is, but that isn't all it is)--that's dishonesty.

Posted by: Georgette Orwell on February 10, 2010 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Stewart is losing it. Interviews with Gingrich and Yoo were total fails.

Posted by: g. powell on February 10, 2010 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Republican competence on National Security will never be seen as a myth as long as the audience is so dumb and uninformed that it is incapable of recognizing a lie. If you knew it was a lie, the Republicans are not interested in leading YOU, they just want you to shut up. There's more than enough ignorant baffleheads out there to tip the balance.

It's pretty bad, really, when your route to power depends on making your country stupider.

Posted by: Mark on February 10, 2010 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Gingrich simply misspoke! He meant to say Richard Reid has an American citizen sounding name, and that's the reason the Nigerian (with a non-American citizen sounding name) needs to be held as an enemy combatant! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on February 10, 2010 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

It's simple. Abdulmutallab had a funny name.

Posted by: Rick Taylor on February 10, 2010 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Now where was it I read that the repubs read the Miranda rights to Reid 4 times in a 2 day period starting with 5 minutes after he was taken into custody.
Perhaps it was on Politico.

Posted by: js on February 10, 2010 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

In late 2001 were there military tribunals? Just a question was wondering if they had them set up yet?

Posted by: JNJ on February 10, 2010 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Once upon a time, I really thought Gingrich could make a comeback. He had a touch of the McCain maverick thing going once upon a time, but dang if he, too, didn't completely abandon any claim to stepping outside the tight fitting mold that is conservatism today.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on February 10, 2010 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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