Monday, April 22, 2013


If Maureen Dowd really wants to know why a gun control bill couldn't pass in Washington, she shouldn't be examining President Obama's tactical skills -- she should be looking at the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, and asking herself how it's even possible to negotiate with a party that relentlessly politicizes everything, including (especially including) this attack.

How do you work with these people? The bodies weren't even cold and Lindsey Graham was pressuring the administration to treat Dhokhar Tsarnaev as an enemy combatant. John McCain piled on, arguing the same thing; so did Congressman Peter King on one of the Sunday talk shows. Graham went on TV Sunday and attacked the FBI; Michael McCaul, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, did the same.

Want to know what Democrats were saying in 2001 on the first Sunday shows after 9/11? Want to know how divisive they were?

Here's John Kerry on CNN's Late Edition on Septenber 16, 2001, talking to Wolf Blitzer:
BLITZER: Senator Kerry, you're of course well-known as a Vietnam veteran. When the United States got involved in the early '60s in Vietnam it looked a lot different, of course, than when the U.S. left in the '70s. Are you at all concerned that what the U.S. is getting itself involved in right now could turn out to be another Vietnam?

KERRY: No, I mean, it just isn't. There isn't even any comparison. The country is united, galvanized, I think is the word, because we have been attacked in the most clear and dastardly way.

I mean, every American understands the nature of this threat.
Here's then-senator Hillary Clinton on ABC's This Week the same Sunday:
I am absolutely confident that the president and his advisers will put together a plan that will take into account the great difficulty that we face.
Here's Senator Charles Schumer on CBS's Face the Nation the same day, praising President Bush's willingness to offer a generous amount of federal aid to New York in the wake of 9/11:
SCHUMER: But he didn't have to do this. We're part of the blue states, you know. We're not part of his political sort of coalition.

And the fact that he was so generous, and then, late that night, when some in the Senate didn't want to do it, he stood them down, and said, "We have to do this." It speaks for his ability to unify the nation, and Hillary and I are both just really grateful to him for his leadership and his help for New York, as we are to all of America.
That's how divisive top Democrats were in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

The unofficial media office of the Republican Party, otherwise known as Rupert Murdoch's media empire, is even less restrained than GOP members of Congress. A Wall Street Journal editorial reinforces the call for enemy combatant status and attacks the FBI. The Journal editorial page publishes an implicit call for enhanced interrogation from ex-Bush administration attorney general Michael Mukasey:
But if your concern is over the larger threat that inheres in who the Tsarnaev brothers were and are, what they did, and what they represent, then worry -- a lot.

For starters, you can worry about how the High-Value Interrogation Group, or HIG, will do its work. That unit was finally put in place by the FBI after so-called underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to blow up the airplane in which he was traveling as it flew over Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009 and was advised of his Miranda rights. The CIA interrogation program that might have handled the interview had by then been dismantled by President Obama.

At the behest of such Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups as the Council on American Islamic Relations and the Islamic Society of North America, and other self-proclaimed spokesmen for American Muslims, the FBI has bowdlerized its training materials to exclude references to militant Islamism. Does this delicacy infect the FBI's interrogation group as well?
Fox & Friends did an extraordinarily sympathetic interview with Greg Ball, a Republican state legislator from New York, who overtly called for the torture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev:
“Were you surprised that people responded to it?” asked [Gretchen] Carlson.

“I think a lot of politicians, quite honestly, are full of crap,” Ball replied candidly. “They’re scared to say how they feel. I basically said what I believe a lot of red-blooded Americans felt.”

He said that getting information from terror suspects can save lives, and he “would be first in line” to use whatever tactics are necessary to extract that information, including torture.
And the weekend edition of Fox & Friends attacked Attorney General Eric Holder, primarily using a guest named Alonzo Lunsford, who was injured in the Fort Hood shooting:
[Gretchen] Carlson opened with the leading question, "The question may be, is this administration too politically correct to deal with the harsh realities of terror attacks when they occur on American soil?"

Lunsford was in synch with the Fox agenda. He quickly asked, "How many more times are we gonna let events like this happen on U.S. soil?" Saying we need to "stop being reactive" to terrorist attacks and "start being proactive," he added, "We have enough power and enough technology in our grasp where we can stop this from happening." When asked by co-host Alisyn Camerota what might have been done to prevent the Boston bombings, he said the Boston Marathon area should have been "more secure" and that the FBI should have bore down harder on now-deceased Boston suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev when they first interviewed him "until he is no longer a threat."
Find me anything like this in the mainstream "liberal" press, or from prominent Democratic politicians, in the first week after the 9/11 attacks. Go on, show me. Yes, we eventually were at loggerheads as a nation -- after bin Laden got away, after postwar transitions failed in both Afghanistan and Iraq, after weapons of mass destruction weren't found in Iraq, and after torture was uncovered. But the first week? No.

In the first week after 9/11, the mainstream press and D.C. Democrats rallied around the flag. In the week after the Boston bombings, the GOP rallied around the GOP.


UPDATE: Typos fixed.


BH said...

Maureen Dowd knows about as much about how the Congressional sausage factory operates as I know about life as a big-name NYT columnist. I'd recommend Vols. 3 & 4 of Caro's LBJ biography to her, but... nah.

Victor said...

Well, in all fairness, the Democrats, after the SCOTUS gave the election to Bush, didn't spend the next 9 months praying for some horrific domestic terrorist act, like the Republicans have since Obama was elected.

The sun is now shining for them, the Good Lord answered their prayers, and they're trying to collect as much hay as possible, while it's still out.

And that's precisely their advantage - they are relentless about using politics, and they polticise any and every thing.

Hell, remember the time when President Obama threw out his first 1st-pitch?
Bush was the manlier man, and superior President, because he didn't throw like a woman wearing her "mom-jeans," like Obama, because after 9/11, he came to NY, put on a bullet-proof vest, and threw a strike!

It would NEVER occur to a Democrat to politicize an opponents 1st-pitch!

Bush's daughters went on booze-cations during a 'time of war,' and only a handful of Liberals said anything, and were shamed into STFU about it - but when Obama's daughter's went on vacation during the Bush-cession recently, the Conservatives didn't hesitate for a second to scream about how they were wasting the tax dollars money for that.
Hell, they begrudge the President's children getting Secret Service protection - as long as that President is a Democrat.

trnc said...

It's unbelievable that members of the gov't run to the nearest mic so they can attempt to conduct "policy" (actually, of course, politics)through the media rather than make a serious effort to work strictly within the confines of the govt. For that matter, wtf are any senators making public statements about purely executive actions? If they want to pass a law or conduct some oversight, fine. Until then, they should STFU.

I'm sure McCain is already booked for the sunday shows several months in advance now.

Laszlo said...

In the converse of the old saying, when Republicans have a nail – defeating Democrats and Obama in particular – then everything is a hammer. They don't care what it is, as long as it can be used to damage the other side. You're right, it's just impossible to negotiate with them. They're not interested.

The marvel is that we keep trying: "Oh, after Sandy Hook there's no way they can resist!" It'd be bad enough if we had to learn this the hard way, but even worse, we're not learning it at all.

Left Handed said...

The GOP will never play fair, it's not in their nature. It's always party first, never country first. You only have to look to the republicans on inauguration day. What were "they" doing? They, were plotting about how they could come up with a strategy to make the first black president a one term president. And that is exactly what they have done for the last five years. That's why Reid should deploy the nuclear option. Filibuster reform!!!