The only thing worse than an opportunist media that will do everything in its power to shift the focus away from a Democrat president’s failures is when conservatives take the bait. We all know that mainstream news wants nothing more than to talk about the evils of Dick Cheney and George W. Bush right now, rather than Barack Obama’s mistakes. But that doesn’t mean Republicans — especially in an election year — need to fall into the trap. I sensed an unfortunate trend beginning last week when Megyn Kelly of Fox News was unexpectedly tough on Cheney. I don’t purport to know what Megyn’s politics are, but we all know she’s the crown princess of Fox these days. While I’m not arguing that her job is to serve up softballs to guests, let’s be honest here: Fox News knows who its audience is. There are plenty of places Cheney could have gone for an interview if he was looking to be interrogated. I just found it a little odd that in the same week that Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren generally failed to hold Hillary Clinton’s feet to the fire over Benghazi and other topics, Dick Cheney was raked over the coals.
Fast-forward to Sunday, and we had Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky telling NBC’s Meet the Press that the completely degraded state of Iraq right now is the Bush administration’s fault, rather than the current president’s. Is this really the message that the GOP needs to be broadcasting at this particular moment in history? Sure, it can be argued that Rand, as a libertarian, is more aligned with his father when it comes to foreign policy than most of his party. But it’s still not helpful for conservatives as the 2014 midterm elections inch closer. And it’s not like Iraq is expected to be magically restored to health by the time the 2016 presidential election rolls around, so this is a debate that will continue…and it’s a debate that the left-wing media loves to have. I’d submit that if Fox is honestly going to begin using the same anti-Cheney playbook as NBC, there’s a problem.
Fox News included, you can already begin to see the makings of a media-stoked inter-party rivalry between Rand Paul and Dick Cheney. The mainstream media loves this kind of stuff, since it ultimately becomes a complete distraction away from the ignorant boob who’s running the country right now:
See how quickly that happened? Now, we see the predictable “Smackdown: Dick vs. Rand” headlines (like this one) that truly do conservatives no favors whatsoever. Right now, the GOP’s best bet is to keep all eyes squarely focused on Barack Obama. That goes for you too, Senator Paul. Let the Democrats be the ones to relitigate the past. They were doing an excellent job of that yesterday. Here’s Barbara Boxer calling it “sick” to criticize Obama rather than Cheney:
Aw, poor Barbara had a “nightmare.” Does our favorite California whackadoodle need a little Ambien?
Let’s continue…you know, just in case you had any doubts that liberals are doing a fine job of keeping the anti-Cheney spirit alive without the need of any Republican help. Here was Keith Ellison on yesterday’s This Week, comparing the former vice president to the captain of the Exxon Valdez. At least I think that’s what he said:
The name “Dick Cheney” is already a Democrat dog whistle, so there’s no need for conservatives to jump into the fray too. If thoughtful GOP’ers want to contrast their policies and worldviews with those of Bush/Cheney, that’s one thing. But coming out as Senator Paul did on Sunday and blaming the Bush administration for a failed Iraq in the year 2014 — while simultaneously absolving Obama of any responsibility — makes no sense politically. As others have stated before, we ultimately did win the Iraq war, despite the loss of much blood and treasure…but it was Obama who lost the peace. It might behoove Rand to put a little more of his focus on where we’re at right now, as opposed to decisions made a decade ago.
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