Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 4, 2010

ERIC CANTOR'S ODD CHOICE OF COMPLAINTS.... Just 48 hours after a terrorist tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square, Obama administration officials tracked down, arrested, and have begun interrogating a suspect. It's effective counter-terrorism all Americans can be proud of.

And yet, House Minority Whip and notorious post-turtle Eric Cantor (R-Va.) gave a speech today going after President Obama on -- you guessed it -- national security grounds.

Does Eric Cantor have the slightest clue on national security? The short answer is no.

In a speech that was about as divorced from reality as you might expect, today at the Heritage Foundation, Eric Cantor assailed the Obama administration's record on national security. The speech should serve a strong reminder that the GOP has little qualms about politicizing our security in this 2010 cycle. Fortunately for progressives, the rebuttal is based not on wild allegations or campaign rhetoric, but clear evidence.

Frankly, I'm hard pressed to imagine what Cantor and other Republicans are so upset about. After 15 months in office, President Obama's record on national security features plenty of success stories on everything from capturing and killing terrorist leaders to preventing deadly attacks to withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq to breakthroughs on nuclear counter-proliferation. It's rarely talked about, but nearly three times as many terrorists were killed in Obama's first year as there were in all of President Bush's second term.

You'd think Cantor would find something different to complain about, especially given the fact that he has no credibility, background, or expertise on national security issues anyway.

The seriousness of Cantor's event at the Heritage Foundation was captured nicely by an exchange during the Q&A. An attendee asked why the president should not be considered a "domestic enemy," to the delight of the assembled far-right crowd.

Cantor smiled, but responded that "no one thinks the President is a domestic enemy." The comment generated boos from the Heritage audience.

And to think conservatives lack credibility on national security matters.

Steve Benen 2:10 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (33)

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Comments

he's upset because we haven't invaded anyone, we haven't threatened to invade anyone, we aren't torturing anyone, we aren't illegally wiretapping anyone, we aren't saying "either you're with us or you're against us" to anyone - how can we possibly be upholding national security without any of those things happening?

Posted by: howard on May 4, 2010 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans have a major problem-- Democrats have taken over the 'sane' positions in just about every policy arena. It's not easy being nuts.

Posted by: MattF on May 4, 2010 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

yep, and booing with them were chip reid, ed henry, wolf blizter, katie couric, brain williams, chuck todd, paul allen and the entire staff at politico, of course the fox propaganda people, diane sawyer, mrs.greenspan, etc, etc, etc .........

Posted by: stormskies on May 4, 2010 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

...the rebuttal is based not on wild allegations or campaign rhetoric, but clear evidence.

Consequently, the rebuttal will never be heard or believed by mainstream America.

And to be real for a minute, it's important to remember that the quick capture of the alleged terrorist isn't an Obama success story. it's an American one. Many of the systems that led to his apprehension were put into place years and even decades ago. Saying this is an Obama victory makes no more sense than saying this is Obama's fault.

Posted by: chrenson on May 4, 2010 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

"And to think conservatives lack credibility on national security matters."

As opposed to other matters on which they maintain credibility? I think you could have ended that sentence after the sixth word.

Posted by: Jon on May 4, 2010 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Reflex action, its like blinking!

Major event, attack president.

They hate him so much that if he decided to be a republican tomorrow, they will become democrats!

Posted by: yESmAN on May 4, 2010 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Obama and his administration and many Democrats still consistently treat Republican politicos as a responsible opposition with whom they can reason and compromise --- and not vigorously attack as being responsible for most of our current economic and military problems. It is a huge error to so treat those whose primary goal is their return to power and your destruction. It is the Neville Chamberlain/Henry Wallace approach to those that are basically authoritarian. It doesn't work and is a political disaster.

Posted by: gdb on May 4, 2010 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Cantor and his crowd are unAmerican!

They thrive on sedition, and haven't made a positive contribution to our bodypolitik in some time now. When all their efforts have been to see this sitting president fail, they've not noticed they are playing an everyone loses game if they do indeed succeed in tearing down the actual credibility President Obama has carefully been constructing since he inherited a complete national mess from the previous administration!

They've forgotten how to be liberty-minded Americans, and instead have embraced wingnuttery! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on May 4, 2010 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

What's this with:
"It's rarely talked about, but nearly three times as many terrorists were killed in Obama's first year as there were in all of President Bush's second term."
Last time I checked, nobody gave any of these individuals a trial, so at best they were enemies in a time of war- thus no more a terrorist than a German Private during WWII. Killing people is not a gauge of success for anything, unless the aim is killing as many people as possible.

Posted by: mogwai on May 4, 2010 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Nuts. Just...nuts.

The escalating actions of the right proves to me beyond reasonable doubt that religion is skin deep.

Posted by: Skip on May 4, 2010 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

An attended asked why the president should not be considered a "domestic enemy," to the delight of the assembled far-right crowd.

Those people have a lot of nerve to talk about anyone being a "domestic enemy," a label that could easily apply to that entire room of seditious Heritage Foundation gargoyles.

Posted by: electrolite on May 4, 2010 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Reality bites-

The Reagan revolution, or was it the southern strategy, the downfall of conservatism?

Believing your own propaganda or the makings of a cult?

Currently there are a lot of "true believers" being preyed upon by charlatans-and reality keeps getting in the way. It's hard to watch people realize that the are wrong. And then try to come to terms with themselves. Fantasies and acting out are part of that struggle. Unfortunately some can't deal with reality well and turn to radicalism. More fodder for the charlatans....

Posted by: golack on May 4, 2010 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

Once upon a time, I'd thought Gingrioch was an unconventional mind with the capacity to lead. He proved me wrong.

I am feeling deja-vu with the Heritage Foundation. I'd been under the impression that the group had been a stern, thoughtful calculating group of curmudgeons with plutocratic goals in mind that differed from my own, but had the intellectual capacity to be an esteemed opponent.

If they ever WERE such an organization, they have developed into a Tea Party with a pedigree.

As Mr. Benen likes to say, "Better opponents, please."

Is there no tiny core in the conservative universe with intact minds by which the Democrats might be tested and their strength maintained? Mediocrity beckons with siren song.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on May 4, 2010 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

"he's upset because we haven't invaded anyone, we haven't threatened to invade anyone, we aren't torturing anyone, we aren't illegally wiretapping anyone, [etcetc}"
Posted by: howard on May 4, 2010 at 2:14 PM

I humbly and respectfully, but strenuously, disagree.
The moment the Obama administration publicly acknowledges that they're doing any of those things (and who's to say they're not?), the Publicans will come out against them.
Nothing that the Pubbies say has anything to do with what's actually going on, esp w/r/t President Obama; it's all, and only, about attacking and weakening President Obama, the Congressional Dem's, and anyone who would support, donate to, or vote for any of them -- even at the cost of devastating damage to our country and our citizenry.
I'd have thought that was completely obvious by now.

Posted by: smartalek on May 4, 2010 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Benen: "nearly three times as many terrorists were killed in Obama's first year as there were in all of President Bush's second term

I agree with mogwai's criticism. Apparently, if Obama does it, it's *Good*.

Posted by: flubber on May 4, 2010 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Ditto to mogwai and flubber... Christ, Steve, what were you thinking with that comment?

Posted by: Glenn on May 4, 2010 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans oscillate between fear and anger tactics. When Tea Party anger leaves the front page, they switch back to fear of terrorism attacks.

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on May 4, 2010 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

And to think conservatives lack credibility on national security matters.

That's the problem, THEY DON'T. At least not according to the SCLM. The Hiatt/Cohen/Broder cabal think the GOP is just hunky dory on security issues.

Eric Cantor is a VERY serious man. Just ask them.

Posted by: howie on May 4, 2010 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

You have to wonder what is going on in the head of the gentleman who asked if the President was a "domestic enemy?" Andrew Sullivan has an excellent blog entry last week on Sarah Palin and the Fox News/Conservative Talk Radio/Conservative Blogs business enterprise as political movement. Something started to be let loose in this country in the 1990s, as Bob Somerby noted, and the mainstream media has played the role of useful idiot as this thing has grown. Limbaugh and right wing media are now saying, without a scintillia of evidence, that the BP oil rig was destroyed by some conspiracy of the Sierra Club and the President to thwart off-shore oil drilling. And this will be instantly beleived by about 30% of the country right now because it is now part of their identity as "real Americans." So this is where these folks are right now, andn it is very dark, racial, tribal place.

Posted by: sherparick1 on May 4, 2010 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

nearly three times as many terrorists were killed in Obama's first year as there were in all of President Bush's second term.

In Steve's defense, this is the sort of thing you'd think a room full of conservatives would applaud. Except it only counts when conservatives kill people.

Posted by: Jon on May 4, 2010 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

They are IDIOTS! I worry about the education system when these morons spew crap like this. I heard Pence this weekend chastising Obama for making a joke about John McCain and AZ this weekend at the big dinner. HONEST TO GOD! Pence goes around the country, all over the media, denigrating the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES and he has the balls chastise the president about a JOKE??? And they call themselves AMERICANS? So they DIDN'T flip a screw when the Dixie Chicks did it? The hypocrisy is really gonna put me in an early grave...

Posted by: SYSPROG on May 4, 2010 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Cantor smiled, but responded that "no one thinks the President is a domestic enemy." -- Steve Benen

Translation: "MY wife and teenage daughter don't think Obama's cuter than I am"

Posted by: exlibra on May 4, 2010 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

What's with this "domestic enemy" stuff? Is this some kind of coded language that these so-called respectable loons use to justify sedition? In which case they are the ones who are actually domestic enemies? Yikes, that's just nutty all over the place.

Posted by: xpatriate on May 4, 2010 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Shame on Eric Cantor for his shallow intellect and shortsightedness, and shame on the Heritage Foundation! Oh right, the Heritage Foundation has no shame.

Posted by: Carol A on May 4, 2010 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

if by "domestic enemy" they mean an enemy of hysterical bed-wetting hypocrites with a pre-school understanding of geopolitics, then let's hope so.

Posted by: rip on May 4, 2010 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

I find it somewhat indicative of the confusion of our times that the audience at the Heritage Foundation is unfamiliar with the laws of the nation concerning sedition.

There are explicit laws concerning offences that tend to undermine the authority of the state.

Posted by: SteinL on May 4, 2010 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

Just 48 hours after a terrorist tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square, Obama administration officials tracked down, arrested, and have begun interrogating a suspect. It's effective counter-terrorism all Americans can be proud of.

Really Steve? Which "Obama administration officials" tracked down, arrested and interrogated Shahzad?

Last I checked, the NYPD, JTTF and federal agents were not Obama administration officials.

You see, most adults use the term "Obama administration officials" for those who are appointed by Obama to work in the government.

You know, people like Janet Napolitano, who assured us, shortly after the bomb was found, that the perp was probably a domestic person with no foreign ties, just a "one-off."

I know you make good money carrying water for the Obama administration, but foisting the credit from law enforcement professionals onto Obama's crew is pathetic.

Posted by: ExPostFacto on May 4, 2010 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Cantor can tell us more about the ballistics of the bullet that went through his campaign office window before making comments on national security.

Never mind, that means thinking before speaking, he sure is the master of that.

Posted by: EndTheEcho on May 4, 2010 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK
Frankly, I'm hard pressed to imagine what Cantor and other Republicans are so upset about. After 15 months in office, President Obama's record on national security features plenty of success stories on everything from capturing and killing terrorist leaders to preventing deadly attacks to withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq to breakthroughs on nuclear counter-proliferation. It's rarely talked about, but nearly three times as many terrorists were killed in Obama's first year as there were in all of President Bush's second term.

I believe this is known as answering your own question.

Posted by: Hieronymus Braintree on May 5, 2010 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

Further proof that my great-grand-uncle who worked for Harry Truman was right:

"The only 'good Republicans' are pushing up daisies."

Posted by: TCinLA on May 5, 2010 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

Mr. Benen: "nearly three times as many terrorists were killed in Obama's first year as there were in all of President Bush's second term

I agree with mogwai's criticism. Apparently, if Obama does it, it's *Good*.
Posted by: flubber

Ditto to mogwai and flubber... Christ, Steve, what were you thinking with that comment?
Posted by: Glenn

What a trifecta of morons. Go back to eating your cucumber sandwiches.

Posted by: TCinLA on May 5, 2010 at 2:30 AM | PERMALINK

When you are in a "war", as the Republicans demand we are, you expect the enemy to try to hit back when you are hammering him. But this causes the Republicans to become hysterical.

Posted by: bob h on May 5, 2010 at 4:51 AM | PERMALINK

Eric Cantor is the Eddie Haskell of politics.

I actually think he's not as insane as the audience. But since he has chosen to smarm his way to power, the only people who follow or listen to him are those who are too clueless to see through the act. So he'll always be stuck in front of audiences like these.

Posted by: du on May 6, 2010 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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