Observations and inanities by a second-shift assistant supervisor in the Puppy-Grinding division of the Evil Atheist Conspiracy® (our motto: "Sure it's cruel, but think of the jobs!"), your host, Brent Rasmussen.
Spin, spin, spin.
Got an email from a friend this morning. It was short, almost despairing:
I agree with David Brooks. He makes sense. Is this some alternate reality I've fallen into and can't get up?
My friend was talking about this column from Brooks last week:
President Obama and Dick Cheney conspired on Thursday to propagate a myth. The myth is that we lived through an eight-year period of Bush-Cheney anti-terror policy and now we have entered a very different period called the Obama-Biden anti-terror policy. As both Obama and Cheney understand, this is a completely bogus distortion of history.
The reality is that after Sept. 11, we entered a two- or three-year period of what you might call Bush-Cheney policy. The country was blindsided. Intelligence officials knew next to nothing about the threats arrayed against them. The Bush administration tried just about everything to discover and prevent threats. The Bush people believed they were operating within the law but they did things most of us now find morally offensive and counterproductive.
* * *
By 2005, what you might call the Bush-Rice-Hadley era had begun. Gradually, in fits and starts, a series of Bush administration officials — including Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Hadley, Jack Goldsmith and John Bellinger — tried to rein in the excesses of the Bush-Cheney period. They didn’t win every fight, and they were prodded by court decisions and public outrage, but the gradual evolution of policy was clear.
Rank bullshit revisionism. As I told my friend:
Eh. This is the same thing Brooks was peddling during the recap of political news last Friday on NPR. Take a look at the piece again, and see his slight of hand: he praises Obama, and then uses that praise for Obama's centrism (Obama is a centrist - no doubt about that) to try and blunt the abuses of the whole Bush administration. Cheney's recent speaking tour has made this possible by his far-right stance on torture. But just because Cheney is indeed True Evil, doesn't mean that Bush is a centrist like Obama - and it doesn't let the rest of the Republican party off the hook (which is what Brooks is trying to achieve). Granted, there *were* changes during the second term, and it was clear that Cheney had lost influence - but that doesn't mean that Bush/Rice/Whomever had had a change of heart on their view of the executive; they were just evolving their use of executive power in response to the changing reality (Iraq had proven to be a huge debacle, even to the most hawkish it was clear that there really was no connection between Saddam & 9/11, people here in the country were starting to open their eyes, et cetera). Just because Bush II was trying to back-peddle from some of their biggest public failures (and yes, there was a lot of cover-up indicating that they knew they had screwed the pooch) doesn't mean that their policies were the same as the current Obama policies. Obama's whole attitude about the executive is different - and it isn't just rhetoric, for all that it is a reflection of the reality that Congress and the country are like a whipped dog who doesn't really understand how to trust a new owner yet.
Yeah, revisionism. False equivalency. Poll numbers for the GOP are in the toilet, and the 'leaders' of the party are doing their best to pull the handle to flush themselves right out of history. Brooks and a number of other more sane conservatives are trying to spin reality to make it sound like only the worst of the lot were guilty of massive abuse & deception, in an effort to salvage something of the party.
Don't let them get away with it.