Almost?

Steve Benen on the Cheney doctrine of blame:

This generally goes unsaid, but it’s a key aspect of the recent Cheney crusade — if something horrible happens, we’re not supposed to blame the team that left this mess for Obama to clean up, we’re supposed to blame Obama himself. If only the president kept torturing people like Cheney wanted, we’d all remain safe indefinitely.

This isn’t especially new, but it seems to be increasingly common. Back in January, just 48 hours after the president’s inauguration, Marc Thiessen, George W. Bush’s former chief speechwriter, argued, “During the campaign, Obama pledged to dismantle many of [Bush’s] policies. He follows through on those pledges at America’s peril — and his own. If Obama weakens any of the defenses Bush put in place and terrorists strike our country again, Americans will hold Obama responsible — and the Democratic Party could find itself unelectable for a generation…. President Obama has inherited a set of tools that successfully protected the country for 2,688 days — and he cannot dismantle those tools without risking catastrophic consequences.”

Jason Zengerle noted at the time, “You almost get the sense guys like Thiessen are hoping for an attack so that they can blame Obama when it happens.”

I credit Zengerle for going as far as he does here, but let’s be honest: obviously, guys like Thiessen are hoping for a terrorist attack so they can blame Obama. The only “almost” here is that they’re almost using those exact words. It’s time to just admit that.

I think it’s important to be careful with the “my political opponents are rooting for America to fail.” I don’t think opposing the Iraq war means that you want America to fail in Iraq (whatever that means). And I don’t think that wanting Obama to torture, wire-tap, keep Gitmo open, etc. means that you want America to get attacked. But openly fantasizing about the political price Obama might have to pay if we’re attacked again seems altogether different to me.






30 replies
  1. 1
    JasonF says:

    If Democrats were willing to play hardball, the second Thiessen or Cheney or whoever opened their mouth to say something like that, Bill Clinton and Richard Clarke would have been out there pointing out that there’s a reason they’re talking about President Bush aving kept America safe for 7 years even though his term lasted 8, and that the incoming Bush administration ignored the outgoing Clinton administration’s warnings about al Qaeda.

  2. 2
    C Nelson Reilly says:

    When in doubt, blame the Clenis.

  3. 3
    Bhall35 says:

    What a coinkydink!

  4. 4

    While it is generally difficult to ascribe motive to isolated statements made by any one individual what I found so striking about Thiessen was that he was everywhere. I saw him on at least three different shows within a couple of days of the inauguration. It was apparent at the time that this was a preemptive strike to begin the propaganda to shift blame for anything untoward that happened to Obama.

  5. 5
    linda says:

    and notice how little commentary there was by the washington magpies directed at those who talk about those gop fantasy scenarios.

    kinda brings to mind how the commentariat let slide the controversial move-on/betray us ad …. oh wait… ;-)

  6. 6
    MattF says:

    I have a suspicion that Cheney et. al. are also sending a threat to the remaining non-crazies in the Republican party– if you’re not totally in line about executive supremacy, torture, and the GWOT, maybe you should keep your mouth shut.

  7. 7
    kid bitzer says:

    you know, the funny thing is that only three days after 9/11, rove was saying to bush, “this attack was awesome! we’re going to turn this into a huge partisan wedge, use it as a pretext for that war with iraq you keep wanting, polarize the country with militaristic rhetoric, and make the democratic party unelectable for a generation!”

    and it worked pretty good for a while, too.

    so remember: if an attack happens on the democratic watch, it makes the democrats unelectable.
    if it happens on the republican watch, it makes the democrats unelectable.

    thank you, villagers, for your leadership of the country.

  8. 8
    dmsilev says:

    Well, since Bush et al. weren’t at fault for 9/11 (just ask them), it’s clear that anything that might happen in the first 9 months, at least, of Obama’s term isn’t his fault.

    Right?

    -dms

  9. 9
    jrg says:

    We do not negotiate with terrorists. We do, however, bring them into our national discourse whenever possible.

    As Jon Stewart pointed out the other day, terrorists hate us for our freedoms. That’s why we should openly offer to abandon those freedoms if and when the terrorists pull off another attack. That’s also why the American people should be represented by a trembling mass of urine and fecal matter like Dick Cheney.

  10. 10
    bago says:

    Every time I hear the phrase “kept us safe” I want to also hear “heck of a job”, “anthrax”, and “well, you covered your ass”.

  11. 11
    Zam says:

    This has become fucking ridiculous, if we ever experience another large scale attack the first thing we do is jump on the tv and blame the other fucking party. The polarization in this country is just fucking sick.

  12. 12
    aarrgghh says:

    about wanting us to fail in iraq, as i wrote a year ago:

    http://www.dailykos.com/commen.....650/15#c15

    i have a confession to make.

    i’m one of those crazy leftists who want us to “lose” in iraq.

    why? how could any true scotsman want to see his mother country fail?

    it’s quite simple really.

    a country that launches a war of choice against a country that posed no threat based on false pretenses and seeks to consolidate that land-grab with an ill-conceived bloody occupation founded on the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands and the desperate flight of millions, producing a diaspora that is destabilizing the region, while making a small coterie of profiteers immensely wealthy by bankrupting its taxpayers and their children, is a country that deserves to “lose”.

    and the country must “lose”, in a manner that all can see and understand, in order to fully demonstrate the folly of its current path.

    many thought we learned our lesson in vietnam. unfortunately those that didn’t — because at the time they “had other priorities” — have crept back into the saddle and will ride this ragged mare off a cliff rather than admit they took the country hostage as they recommitted one of the greatest crimes of the last century.

    they must be repudiated.

    and if this country must “lose” in iraq in order for that to happen, i really can’t see that as a “loss”, if the country wins back its soul as a result.

  13. 13
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    The Bush and Obama Administrations have nearly identical policies, neither of which makes sense or is in the country’s best interest.

    The first part of the policy is to pretend that Islam is a religion in the traditional sense, which it is not. Islam is a total system which dictates political, military, grooming, sexual, and dietary aspects of a society, to a greater degree than other religions. And the Believers believe. And there are enforcement mechanisms. This is why people in the press are afraid to criticize Islam. The government goes along with it because Islam is useful to the government.

    The second part of the policy is to use the threat of the Mohammedan to brand a new bad guy; ‘the extremist’. This is the NWO equivalent of the Catholic Church-1500’s ‘the heretic’; or the Culturist’s; ‘the racist’. See also Orwell’s ‘Snowball’. Refusing to associate ‘the extremist’ with the Mohammedan belief system makes it a more versatile label.

    The third part of the policy is to use the Mohammedan threat to define a new government program ‘The Long War’. This is to be funded in perpetuity, in exchange for industry kick backs to the political class. I had believed Obama went he said that he was going to pull one combat brigade per month out of Iraq starting in January. I was happy about the prospect of getting out of Iraq upon his election. Sigh.

  14. 14
    Mayken says:

    Meanwhile, domestic terrorism in the heartland will not be recognized as such because it’s only terrorism if brown-skinned people who speak a funny language do it.
    Unbelievable! They shot him in church! How very “pro-life” and “Christian” of them.

  15. 15
    Comrade Mary, Would-Be Minion Of Bad Horse says:

    And it appears that O’Reilly was one of the people whipping up a fervour over Dr. Tiller. Expect sanctimonious denials Monday.

  16. 16

    Islam is a total system which dictates political, military, grooming, sexual, and dietary aspects of a society

    Uh, James Dobson called and said for you to quit trashtalking his religion.

    The government goes along with it because Islam is useful to the government.

    Well, that’s basically the same reason why they let you post here, Billbob. You are a useful idiot. If there is any possibility of an insane line being drawn between two putative dots, we know that you will be there to draw it.

    I had a boss who used to look out the window of the airplane we were flying on a charter, and say, “I wonder what the stupid people are doing today?”

    With you around, we never have to wonder. That’s what makes you useful.

  17. 17
    Little Dreamer says:

    @SrirachaHotSauce:

    Oh you ARE alive, just checking.

  18. 18

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    I was happy

    Heh. Yeah, sure you were.

    When I think of you, I just go right to “happy.”

    Sriraously.

  19. 19
    omen says:

    I think it’s important to be careful with the “my political opponents are rooting for America to fail.”

    careful? discredited thugs having nothing to lose when they have a compliant media willing to coalesce and magnify their attacks. does it matter what the reality is, or how faulty their logic, when media is screaming in unison that obama is to blame? with the gitmo vote, we’ve already seen how quickly congressional dems are willing to throw obama under the bus. it took 6 long years for the country to wake up and finally recognize republicans didn’t represent their best interests. what if there is another attack? rightwing attacks are sure to pick up new resonance. the question is how long will that learning curve last next time around, for people to realize once again they’re being sold a pack of lies?

  20. 20
    Mayken says:

    @Comrade Mary, Would-Be Minion Of Bad Horse: Oh, yes, of course. “We just whipped up hate. Not our fault if people follow through on it.” A lot of so-called pro-lifers will be busy distancing themselves from this “one, lone crazy” come Monday morning.

  21. 21

    @Little Dreamer:

    I’m alive and kicking Bill.

  22. 22
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    In my opinion, the national debate should be over what we hope to accomplish in Afghanistan and Iraq, not about 3 guys who were water boarded many years ago, under a policy that was ended shortly thereafter. To me, the whole water boarding debate seems to be a distraction.

  23. 23

    @jrg:

    This is not exactly new. Apparently you missed the entire Cold War and the War on Democrats.

  24. 24

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    Careful, Bill, you are one notch short of saying something intelligent. Do you really want to take that step?

    Think it over, amigo.

  25. 25
    omen says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    didn’t you read this when i pointed it out to you? palin is in line, or even to the right of, muslim fundamentalists.

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/f.....mentalist/

  26. 26
    Little Dreamer says:

    @SrirachaHotSauce:

    I see that. He also seems to be doing a fairly good job of kicking himself.

  27. 27
    omen says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    it became a distraction the minute you realized you lost the debate.

  28. 28
    omen says:

    @kid bitzer:
    you know, the funny thing is that only three days after 9/11, rove was saying to bush, “this attack was awesome! we’re going to turn this into a huge partisan wedge, use it as a pretext for that war with iraq you keep wanting, polarize the country with militaristic rhetoric, and make the democratic party unelectable for a generation!”

    that’s what made rahm emanuel’s comment, that “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” so distasteful.

  29. 29
    Bhall35 says:

    Um, yeah. Is should have clicked through to Benen before linking the Rich column.

  30. 30
    Svensker says:

    @aarrgghh:

    Yes. Exactly. Not gonna happen, tho. We will be an empire until we drive off the cliff, and the wingers will be wailing and blaming it the sane people all the way down, until the final kersplat.

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