Dick Cheney

Americans are tired of war: Old Guard Republicans attacking Rand Paul show how truly out of touch they are

Power structures and ideological dynamics change quickly in Washington, and when a sea change happens you almost feel sorry for the losing side, who usually doesn’t realize it for a while, still clinging to their anachronistic worldview and thinking it’s mainstream. But there comes a time when you just have to point and laugh at people who have lost, and lost big, and don’t even realize it.

Politico has a new summary of all the defense hawk attacks on Rand Paul’s alleged “isolationism,” including Rick Perry, Dick Cheney, Elliott Abrams from the Council on Foreign Relations, and Mackenzie Eaglen from the American Enterprise Institute. In denouncing the freshman Senator’s skepticism of interventionism, they cite the current situation in Iraq, Afghanistan, and of course 9/11.

Yes, “it’s been a long time since 9/11,” as Cheney said, lamenting what he sees as forgetfulness about the threat of terrorism, but also, it’s been a long time since 9/11. At a certain point you have to stop buttressing your entire foreign policy narrative with the biggest failure of our national intelligence and defense systems since Pearl Harbor. We haven’t reverted to a pre-9/11 mindset, we’ve evolved to a post-post-9/11 mindset. The world has changed, again; global interventionists haven’t.

Perhaps sadder still than their reliance on the 9/11 shibboleth is the delusion that hawks are still the mainstream of public opinion or even the Republican Party:

Liz Cheney, Bill Kristol, And The Shameful NeoCon Attack On America’s Legal System

The latest controversy of the day among many on the right, led principally by Liz Cheney and William Kristol, involves attacking Justice Department lawyers who represented alleged members of al Qaeda or the Taliban detained at Guantanmo Bay.

As Kristol puts it:

[L]awyers now at the DOJ worked on the historic Boumediene case. That case established the Gitmo detainees’ right to challenge their detention in habeas corpus hearings. In effect, the habeas proceedings have taken sensitive national security and detention questions out of the hands of experienced military and intelligence personnel, and put them into the hands of federal judges with no counterterrorism training or expertise. That lack of experience shows. For example, in one recent decision a federal judge compared al Qaeda’s secure safe houses (where training, plotting and other nefarious activities occur) to “youth hostels.” The habeas decisions are filled with errors of omission, fact, and logic.

Still other lawyers did work on behalf of these well known terrorists: Jose Padilla (an al Qaeda operative dispatched by senior al Qaeda terrorists to launch attacks inside America in 2002), John Walker Lindh (the American Taliban), and Saleh al Marri (who 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed sent to America on September 10, 2001 in anticipation of committing future attacks).

Now, we don’t know what assignments these lawyers have taken on inside government. But we do know that they openly opposed the American government for years, on behalf of al Qaeda terrorists, and their objections frequently went beyond rational, principled criticisms of detainee policy.

Why I Loved CPAC

There were alot of wackos at CPAC. As I journeyed from booth to booth, I encountered several nutjobs. One man was dressed in eighteenth century garb, complete with rapier, illustrating that cosplay is not just a phenomenon of comic book and anime conventions. LaRouche cultists asked me if I was “ready to send Obama to the moon.” I heard quite a few Old Guard Republicans declare, when provided with literature from the Campaign for Liberty, “Ron Paul! That son-of-a-bitch wants us to surrender.”

Those amusing eccentrics were outweighed by the energy and enthusiasm there. I was among alot of leftists during the Bush years, and there was nowhere near the hatred and venom toward Obama that the left displayed towards Bush. While Dick Cheney scoured and groaned through his speech, Newt Gingrich, Glenn Beck and Ron Paul delivered magnificent speeches in which they provided counter-solutions to what the Democrats and Obama have put forth.

With all of the talk about markets, freedom and the foundations of America (countless venders were giving out copies of the Constitution), CPAC could have been confused with the 2008 Rally for the Republic. Keynote speaker Glenn Beck even spoke that America should not spread democracy but instead “lead by example.” Ron Paul winning the presidential straw poll was the icing on the cake. Sarah Palin, the incredibly unqualified beauty queen from Alaska, was nowhere to be found and a distant third in the straw poll. CPAC was wonderful and renewed my faith in conservatism, the Republican Party and America.

No, I don’t miss George W. Bush

You’ve probably heard about the “Miss Me Yet?” billboard in Minnesota, featuring a picture of George W. Bush. According to Fox News, a “group of small business owners and individuals,” obviously not fans of Barack Obama, paid for it.

Miss me yet? That’s all well and good, and while I’m no fan of Barack Obama, I don’t long for the presidency of George W. Bush.

From a fiscal perspective, the Bush Administration was a disaster. Before you repeat the Dick Cheney talking point that most of the spending was for defense and two wars. Let me go ahead and tell you, that’s not true. Bush was the biggest spender since Lyndon B. Johnson, dramatically increasing non-defense discretionary spending. Remember, he is a “compassionate conservative,” which is apparently a nice term for “statist.”

Bush signed a new entitlement into law, his administration enacted the most regulations since Nixon (“we’re all Keynesians now”) and he backed the Wall Street bailout while telling us that he “abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system.” This is only the tip of the iceberg on his fiscal policies.

Torturous Terms of Art

The matter of torture has been discussed over the past several years in connection with its use as a “tool” in the “Global War on Terror” or the “Overseas Contingency Operation” as it has now been called. Dick Cheney has been recently making rounds in an attempt to salvage some credibility and to fuel the partisan fire.

Today in Liberty: Intel agencies conducted warrantless searches for Americans’ communications, Halbig case could gut Obamacare

“I think that you can’t start to pick apart anything out of the Bill of Rights without thinking that it’s all going to become undone. If you take one out or change one law, then why wouldn’t they take all your rights away from you?” — Bruce Willis

Hey, neocons, Dick Cheney is irrelevant — maybe it’s time to find someone new

It has been entertaining to watch former Vice President Dick Cheney. He’s become a “thing” again as neoconservatives raise hell about the resurgence of the Islamic militants in Iraq as the latest failure of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy.

Cheney appeared on Fox News last week and was grilled by host Megyn Kelly over an op-ed he and his daughter, Liz, had written in the Wall Street Journal.

“[T]ime and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well in Iraq, sir,” Kelly told Cheney. “You said there were no doubts Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. You said we would be greeted as liberators. You said the Iraq insurgency was in the last throes back in 2005. And you said that after our intervention, extremists would have to, quote, ‘rethink their strategy of Jihad.’”

“Now with almost a trillion dollars spent there with 4,500 American lives lost there,” she continued, “what do you say to those who say, you were so wrong about so much at the expense of so many?”

Cheney, of course, didn’t back down. He defended the now-debunked intelligence showing that that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and claimed that “[i]t would have been irresponsible for us not to act” and that the Bush administration “did do the right thing” by toppling Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Today in Liberty: House Republican Leadership elections are today, terrible bipartisan idea to hike the gas tax on the horizon

“The more the state ‘plans,’ the more difficult planning becomes for the individual.” — F.A. Hayek

— Raul Labrador makes his case for Majority Leader: Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) pitched his candidacy on Wednesday for House Majority Leader to his fellow Republicans. “If you have an idea, I want to empower you to take it through committee. You will not always succeed, but I want you to feel like you had a fair shot. I want members of Congress to be more relevant than the staff. Why are we even here if the leadership staff is going to make all decisions any way?” Labrador asked, according to prepared remarks. “I want the process to work. If bills pass, they must pass on their merits. I don’t want any more SGR bills passing on voice votes, Transportation/Postal Reform deals that nobody has heard of, NSA reform bills that pass a committee unanimously and are changed and watered down in the Rules committee.” He also said that he wants bill text posted online for at least 72 hours before the House votes and for the Republicans to keep their pledge to “reform Congress and restore trust,” asking his colleagues if they believed that they’d followed through on that promise. “If you vote for the status quo [on Thursday], you will prove that we are still not listening,” said Labrador. “We will break our pledge and with that we may lose the ability to regain control of the Senate and eventually win the Presidency.” The vote is schedule for today. We’ll have the results posted as soon as they’re available. Courtsey of Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), you can get an idea of how some House Republicans plan to vote.

WY Senate: Liz Cheney to abandon primary challenge to Mike Enzi

Liz Cheney

Liz Cheney was never really ever to get her campaign against Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) off the ground. Despite her credentials as the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and endorsements prominent neoconservatives, she made constant missteps that hurt her standing with Republican primary voters.

The New York Times reported early this morning that Cheney will end her primary bid against Enzi, delivering a blow to a Republican establishment hoping to reassert itself in the 2014 election:

Liz Cheney intends to withdraw from the Wyoming Republican Senate primary, according to two sources familiar with her plans, bringing an abrupt end to her unsteady challenge to the incumbent, Michael B. Enzi.

Ms. Cheney, 47, the former vice president’s elder daughter, is expected to drop out of the race this week, citing family reasons. She did not respond to emails and phone calls late Sunday.
[…]
Having relocated from suburban Washington to the Jackson Hole area in 2012, she faced relentless questions about her residency and why she would move to the state her father once represented in Congress and almost immediately begin running for office against an incumbent. Longtime friends of the Cheney family in Wyoming, including former Senator Alan K. Simpson, fretted publicly about such a divisive primary. His open expressions of concern prompted a private rebuke from Liz Cheney’s mother, Lynne, who told him to “shut up,” according to Mr. Simpson.

The perception of Liz Cheney as a carpetbagger was compounded when it was revealed this summer in the Wyoming news media that she had sought a fishing license — a rite of passage in the state — by claiming on her application to be a 10-year resident.

Wyoming Republicans underwhelmed by Liz Cheney’s primary

Liz Cheney

There a quite a primary fight brewing in Wyoming that highlight the divisions in the Republican Party. Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, announced last week that she is going to challenge Sen. Mike Enzi in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Wyoming.

This isn’t an ordinary primary challenge. Though an incumbent, Enzi has a fairly conservative record. His has a lifetime score of 82% from FreedomWorks and 71% from the Club for Growth. Enzi’s biggest stumble recently was his legislative push for the online sales tax, which was opposed by Tea Party and grassroots organizations.

While Enzi’s voting record isn’t as good as it could be, Cheney isn’t like the primary challengers we’ve seen over the last couple of cycles. Tea Party primary challengers threatened Old Guard Republicans, calling into question big spending and the misguided foreign policy that was so prevalent during George W. Bush’s presidency.

Cheney’s argument for running against Enzi are sort of peculiar. She doesn’t question his credentials or even his record. There are no fundamental differences of which to speak between the two. Her argument for his run is, essentially, that Enzi is too old.


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