Friday, June 17, 2011


Zandar directs my attention to this story, in which Mitch McConnell revives the old GOP talking point about Islamist terrorists and their superhuman ability to break out of American prisons by sheer force of jihadist will, then conduct horrific acts of unspeakable evil even if they're the targets of a national manhunt:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called on the Obama administration Tuesday to send two Iraqi nationals arrested recently in Bowling Green to the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The two were charged with helping to plot attacks on U.S. troops.

"Sending them to Gitmo is the only way we can be certain there won't be retaliatory attacks in Kentucky," McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday....

This despite the fact that

Since the September 11, 2001, attacks, hundreds of defendants have been convicted in the federal court system of terrorism or terrorism-related violations, said Dean Boyd, a U.S. Justice Department spokesman.

In none of these cases has a judicial district suffered retaliatory attacks, Boyd said....

McConnell also made this case in an op-ed for the D.C. political newspaper The Hill. And, naturally, he got backup: Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin carried McConnell's water, and, back in Kentucky, McConnell got some local backup -- and now we see what the point of this might be:

A day after his Republican opponent charged he lacked the courage to do so, Democratic Governor Steve Beshear has issued a statement calling for the two Iraqi nationals facing terrorism charges to be sent out of Kentucky.

On Wednesday, state Senate President David Williams challenged Beshear and House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, to join him and U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky,, who initially demanded Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi be sent to the controversial military base to be tried as enemy combatants....

Did you follow that? You see, the Democratic governor of Kentucky is running for reelection this year -- so McConnell and the governor's Republican opponent are Muslim-baiting him and the Democratic speaker of Kentucky's House (there'll also be legislative elections this year). So McConnell (and Jennifer Rubin) were aiming at President Obama and Attorney General Holder, but this is also very much about state politics, particularly about who wins.

It's not about terrorism. For Republicans, it never is. For Republicans, it's only about winning -- all the time.

(And, of course, this worked at the state level: under pressure, the Democratic governor did what he was pressured to do, as did the House speaker.)

After several weeks in which we've been consumed by a scandal involving a Democrat who was perpetually on the defensive, and who got no backup from his party, it's good to be reminded how the Republicans do it: make news rather than react to it by going on offense at every possible moment, and do it with a gang.

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