Monday, May 25, 2009

Cheney's Enemies

I recently ran across a lefty commenting on a blog post. The lefty recommended that the blogger stop writing about Dick Cheney since no one cares about Cheney. This is of course contradicted by the fact that every news show on every network and cable outlet had been perseverating at length about Cheney for two days. And why would the commenter spend her time and energy on someone that no one cares about?
Talking about mindless and meaningless lefty talking points how about the endlessly heard claim about al Qaeda recruitment. I have become sick of hearing that the presence of Gitmo and the Bush interrogation methods have increased recruitment. Is there some definitive and reliable source of al Qaeda recruitment figures that only lefties have access to? Or are they so intimate a part of the network that they can read the books whenever they feel like it? I won’t say they are using the inducement of fear as a tactic because, well, just because I’m not going to say that today.
There is a great piece by William McGurn in the WSJ about the recent duel between Cheney and President Obama. It has a lot to say and is
tightly reasoned. So below are a few paragraphs the contain some of its best observations.

Ironically, it was left to Chris Matthews -- one of the vice president's most unrelenting critics -- to offer the best take on last week's dueling speeches. On his Sunday show, he put it this way: "I saw something from Barack Obama I never even saw in the campaign, a sense he was listening for footsteps, that he could hear Cheney coming at him and he was defensive."
Think about that. Back in those heady days after the 2008 election, anyone who suggested that Mr. Obama might find himself playing defense to Dick Cheney on Guantanamo would have been hauled off as barking mad. Yet that's exactly what Mr. Cheney has pulled off, leaving a desperate White House to try to drown him out by adding an Obama speech the same day Mr. Cheney was slated to address the American Enterprise Institute.
Of course, the effect was just the opposite. The White House reaction ended up elevating Mr. Cheney to Mr. Obama's level, and ensuring that his words would be measured directly against the president's. Like him or loathe him, Mr. Cheney forced the president to engage him.
For much of the Beltway, the Cheney surge is baffling. After all, when Mr. Cheney left office, his reputation seemed divided between those who thought him a punch line on late-night TV and those who thought him a war criminal. As so often happens, however, the conventional wisdom seems to have blinded Mr. Cheney's ideological opponents to the many advantages he brings to the table.
First is his consistency. The case he is making now is the same case he has been making for the past seven years. Even people who disagree with that case would have to concede its coherence, resting as it does on the notion that the United States is at war with terrorists and must react as a nation at war.
By contrast, Mr. Obama's war policies are increasingly incoherent. As a candidate, he excoriated the Bush approach to terror root and branch. As president, however, he has adopted some of the Bush policies, flip-flopped to the Bush side on others, and found himself at odds with his own party on closing down Guantanamo.
His speech on Thursday reflected these contradictions, at once reassuring the antiwar left that the Bush antiterror policies have been fully repudiated while trying to signal everyone else that he has retained most of their substance.



Grace Explosion said...

Bush, Cheney, Obama, and Biden are all part of the same political party. They are all on the same team and the same side - kind of like big time wrestling. You know, all the wrestlers wrestle for the WWF and are all in league together (though they put on a show for people who believe big time wrestling is real). What is it you like so about that political party??

Chris M. said...

I didn't say anything about political parties. I was writing about ideas.