Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Rotten Apple

Paging Joe McCarthy:

Liz Cheney’s group Keep America Safe, which has led the resurgent Republican attacks on President Obama’s national security policies, is releasing a video this morning that questions the loyalties of Justice Department lawyers who advocated for detained terror suspects during the Bush Administration.

The group has been hammering Attorney General Eric Holder for months on the issue, which has drawn increasing attention from Senate Republicans. Senator Charles Grassley last month pushed Holder to identify any lawyers who had represented detainees, and the Department said last month that nine Justice Department appointees filled that category — but he refused to name those whose work hadn’t been previously reported. Conservatives view the partial disclosure as another Holder misstep, and in a new video, the group is going on offense.

“Holder will only name two. Why the secrecy behind the other seven? Whose values do they share?” asks the video, suggesting that the lawyers support terrorism. “Americans have a right to know the identity of the Al Qaeda Seven.”

I was too young to witness the career of the late junior Senator from Wisconsin, but the scare tactics and paranoia he generated echoed after him. And I’m not surprised that Ms. Cheney, who is picking up the banner of her father in terms of both dour demeanor and grumbling pronouncements, is reaching back to the techniques of Tailgunner Joe. It’s easy to do; all you have to do is wave a bunch of papers in the air and make claims that play on the fear and loathing of the foolish and the weak. Instant ad campaign; just add venom and stir.

This, more than anything else, proves that Ms. Cheney and her gang are little more than bullies and cowards. They have no other way of making their case so they resort to this kind of crap. Setting aside the fact that the Supreme Court — the one with a majority of Republican appointees — certified that defendants held at Gitmo are entitled to legal representation, to imply that there is somehow a connection between a lawyer who takes a case and the cause the client stands for calls our entire legal system into question. Fortunately, there are some lawyers — including a senior prosecutor of Gitmo detainees during the Bush administration — who are denouncing this chickenshit attack.

I know the Cheneys have always had a problem with the concept of the rule of law and the United States Constitution, but to turn that disdain into a fund-raising ad for their new McCarthyism sets a new low for cynicism that is impressive even for them. It’s just more proof that the apple doesn’t fall far from the crooked old tree.