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.