Dick Cheney

Conservative military charity faces serious allegations

Nidal Malik Hasan

Soldiers from Fort Hood march during the annual Veterans Day parade outside of Fort Hood in downtown Killeen, Texas, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009. Paul Sakuma/AP

Rachel Maddow

A Tea Party charity called “Move America Forward” is facing serious allegations of fraud — suggesting it may not be what it appears to be.  Complicating matters, the group has benefited from testimonials from Dick Cheney, Rick Perry, Rush Limbaugh and other high-profile Republicans.

Any time a charity is accused of fraud, it’s alarming, but especially during a war, there’s something even more outrageous about dubious charities that claim to be helping veterans and active-duty military personnel.
Last year, for example, Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) lieutenant governor, Jennifer Carroll, was forced to abruptly resign over her connections to something called Allied Veterans of the World. The Florida-based non-profit was accused of trying to “defraud the public and governmental agencies by misrepresenting how much of its proceeds were donated to charities affiliated with Veterans Administration.”
This year, a Tea Party affiliated group called Move America Forward, is facing allegations every bit as serious. Kim Barker’s piece in The Daily Beast raises serious questions the charity will have to answer quickly.
Move America Forward calls itself the nation’s “largest grassroots pro-troop organization,” and has recruited a bevy of Republican luminaries, including former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney, to support its efforts.
Yet an examination of its fundraising appeals, tax records and other documents shows that Move America Forward has repeatedly misled donors and inflated its charitable accomplishments, while funneling millions of dollars in revenue to the men behind the group and their political consulting firms.
Barker’s report raises allegations that, if true, may point to illegalities, including the possible use the charity’s funds to subsidize conservative political action committees.
The driving force behind Move America Forward is Sal Russo, 67, the longtime political consultant who is listed on the 10-year-old charity’s tax returns as chief strategist.
Russo is better known for helping to form the Our Country Deserves Better PAC, also known as the Tea Party Express, one of the largest Tea Party groups in the country.  Consultants from his Sacramento-based firm, Russo, Marsh and Associates, also set up two other PACs, the Move America Forward Freedom PAC and the Conservative Campaign Committee, to aid conservative causes and candidates.
According to its tax returns, Move America Forward paid out more than $2.3 million – about 30% of the group’s overall expenditures – to Russo or his firm.
Barker talked to a former Tea Party Express consultant who said, “It was just so shady. With PACs, I know it’s dirty money – it’s politics. But this is a charity that’s supposed to be helping the troops.”
It’s not clear who, if anyone, is handling the day-to-day management of this charity. The organization’s former executive director left in 2012 “and does not seem to have been replaced.”
The same report goes on to detail instances in which Move America Forward falsely claimed to deliver care packages to troops, used photos in fundraising and promotional materials that belonged to other organizations, and even boasted to donors about a partnership with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center that never existed.
And yet, despite all of this, Dave Weigel notes that Move America Forward benefited from testimonials from Dick Cheney, Rick Perry, Rush Limbaugh and other high-profile Republicans.
Obviously, the charges raised in this investigatory piece remain in the realm of unproven allegations. But given the evidence and seriousness of the potential wrongdoing, it’s easy to imagine law enforcement taking a keen interest in Move America Forward’s records, bank accounts, and activities.

Bill Maher calls out all the debunked GOP lies on Obamacare

 

I missed this earlier because I was offline…

Daily Kos

Last night, Bill Maher ripped the Republicans for their repeated lies about Obamacare that they never bothered to apologize for, or show any shame.

You know, you just wanna go, wait, when did we switch over? What happened to yesterday’s lie? It’s still out there forever, like a plastic bag in a tree. But now we’re just using the new one?Yes, because what they do is they pass a zombie lie down to dumber and dumber people, who believe it more and more.

Hank Paulson may be over the one about climate change being a hoax, but it’s still good enough for Sean Hannity. Who then gets quoted by Michele Bachmann. Who forms the intellectual core of the thinking of Victoria Jackson. And when you think the zombie lie has finally gone to die at the idea hospice of the absolutely stupidest people on Earth, there it is being retweeted by Donald Trump.

Video and full transcript below:

And finally, New Rule: Now that there’s been an uproar over all the neocons who liedabout the Iraq War with no consequences, someone must tell me why there isn’t a similar uproar over all the Republicans who lied about Obamacare with no consequences.  (audience applause)  It’s been four years since the bill passed.  Has anybody come across even one death panel?  The next liberal to tell a Republican, “you’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts”, should really just admit they’ve never seen Fox News.  (audience cheering and applause)

Now, look, I get it that neither party has a monopoly on lying, and in fact they all do it so often, they’ve invented their own word for it — “I misspoke”.  But how come the rule for one party — the Republican Party — is that when they get caught in a lie, they don’t have to stop telling it?

They said Obamacare would use death panels.  It doesn’t.

They said it was a government takeover, and the insurance industry is making record profits.

They said it covered illegals.  It doesn’t.

They said it was a job killer.  It hasn’t been.

They said there were elves who bake cookies in trees.  Well, almost.  (audience laughter and applause)

Now for sure, Obama also told a lie when he said everybody who likes their health care plan can keep it.  And for about 2% of the population, that did turn out to be false.  The difference is, he stopped saying it!  He stepped up and said, you’re right, my bad, because he understands there’s this thing called observable reality.  (audience applause)

But on the Republican side, observable reality needs more study.  (audience laughter) Which is why their talking points that have been disproven, remain!  Like a guest who’s been asked to leave a party, but does not.

It reminds me of a horror movie where you think you’ve killed the lie, but it won’t stay dead.  Which is why I call them zombie lies.  (thunder crackles and camera shakes)

And finally, New Rule: Now that there’s been an uproar over all the neocons who liedabout the Iraq War with no consequences, someone must tell me why there isn’t a similar uproar over all the Republicans who lied about Obamacare with no consequences.  (audience applause)  It’s been four years since the bill passed.  Has anybody come across even one death panel?  The next liberal to tell a Republican, “you’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts”, should really just admit they’ve never seen Fox News.  (audience cheering and applause)

Now, look, I get it that neither party has a monopoly on lying, and in fact they all do it so often, they’ve invented their own word for it — “I misspoke”.  But how come the rule for one party — the Republican Party — is that when they get caught in a lie, they don’t have to stop telling it?

They said Obamacare would use death panels.  It doesn’t.

They said it was a government takeover, and the insurance industry is making record profits.

They said it covered illegals.  It doesn’t.

They said it was a job killer.  It hasn’t been.

They said there were elves who bake cookies in trees.  Well, almost.  (audience laughter and applause)

Now for sure, Obama also told a lie when he said everybody who likes their health care plan can keep it.  And for about 2% of the population, that did turn out to be false.  The difference is, he stopped saying it!  He stepped up and said, you’re right, my bad, because he understands there’s this thing called observable reality.  (audience applause)

But on the Republican side, observable reality needs more study.  (audience laughter) Which is why their talking points that have been disproven, remain!  Like a guest who’s been asked to leave a party, but does not.

It reminds me of a horror movie where you think you’ve killed the lie, but it won’t stay dead.  Which is why I call them zombie lies.  (thunder crackles and camera shakes)

Ooh, what an effect!  (audience laughter)  Excuse me, I have a weak heart.

Yes, zombie lies.  Remember “fracking doesn’t cause earthquakes”?  Zombie lie!  So stop saying it!

Voter fraud?  We studied it, it’s not an actual problem.  Stop zombie lying about it.

Their entire economic philosophy — cut taxes for the rich, and it trickles down — is a zombie lie!  (audience cheering and applause)

And all these zombie lies are still out there, roaming the countryside, neither alive nor dead.  Like Dick Cheney.  (audience laughter and applause)

Hungry for brains.  Like Dick Cheney.  (audience laughter)

I mean, we think we’ve eradicated one, but it turns out it’s just lying dormant in a cave full of bat blood, like the ebola virus.  Or Dick Cheney.  (audience laughter)

Dick Cheney, who did not even bother in his recent return from the dead to update the lies he told about Iraq the first time.  He’s still out there saying, “Well, Saddam was building a bomb, and he was working with al-Qaeda.”

What??  It’s like when Chuck Berry sings “Sweet Little Sixteen”.  You’re 90, man!

There is no shame in their game.  One week they’re out there saying, “No one will sign up for Obamacare.”

And the next week, “Oh, OK, they signed up?  Sure, OK, but they aren’t paying the premiums.”

“Oh they are?  OK, uh, well, they’re paying, but it’s not the young people.”

“Oh, it is?  It’s the young people?  OK.  Uh, OK, but it only covers you if you’re gay.”  (audience laughter)

You know, you just wanna go, wait, when did we switch over?  What happened to yesterday’s lie?  It’s still out there forever, like a plastic bag in a tree.  But now we’re just using the new one?

Yes, because what they do is they pass a zombie lie down to dumber and dumber people, who believe it more and more.

Hank Paulson may be over the one about climate change being a hoax, but it’s still good enough for Sean Hannity.  Who then gets quoted by Michele Bachmann.  Who forms the intellectual core of the thinking of Victoria Jackson.  And when you think the zombie lie has finally gone to die at the idea hospice of the absolutely stupidest people on Earth, there it is being retweeted by Donald Trump.

9 Times Dick Cheney and the Neocons Were Horrifically Wrong on Iraq

Cheney

Dick Cheney | no attribution

Just sayin’…

The Daily Banter

With former Bush administration officials and other such neoconservatives coming out of the woodwork to offer their super ideas on the situation in Iraq while slamming President Obama, it’s never been a better time for a Throwback Thursday post to remind everyone why Iraq is the mess it is right now. It’s important to know history, but when there’s a group of people intent on distorting it, things can get murky. So to prevent that, here’s a list of some of the Bushies’ greatest Iraq hits. It’s not comprehensive, as I have a finite lifespan and simply cannot dedicate the time necessary for documenting every falsehood about the Iraq war. So please settle for 9.

1. Donald Rumsfeld gives a cryptic answer when confronted with the reality of no link between Iraq and al Qaeda.

“There are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

 

2. Dick Cheney links Iraq and al Qaeda and then lies about it.

– Cheney, December 9, 2001:   “It’s been pretty well confirmed that [9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service.”

–“No, I never said that.” Cheney, June 19, 2004

 

3. George W. Bush falsely claims Saddam Hussein tried to kill his father.

“After all, this is the guy that tried to kill my dad at one time.” (But it wasn’t true.)

 

4. Bill Kristol predicts the war will last 60 days.

“This is going to be a two month war, not an eight year war.”

 

5. Bush falsely claims Saddam tried to buy WMDs from “Africa.”

“The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein has recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” (But Bush’s own envoy found nothing of the kind.”

 

6. John McCain says Iraq will pay for the war after Saddam is gone.

“Post-Saddam Hussein Iraq is going to be paid for by the Iraqis. They have billions of dollars of income. They have vast oil reserves, and I think they will pay for it.”

 

7. Bush says we’ve made progress in Iraq…repeatedly over the years.

“Those weapons of mass destruction gotta somewhere… Nope. No weapons over there. Maybe under here.”

 

9. Bush wants everyone to help stop the terrorists… and watch his golf shot.

“We must stop the terror. I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers. Thank you. Now watch this drive.”

 

Bonus item:
10. Cheney actually gets Iraq right… in 1994 when explaining why the U.S. didn’t overthrow Saddam in the Persian Gulf War.

“[I]f we had gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn’t have been anybody else with us. It would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq. Once you got to Iraq and took it over and took down Saddam Hussein’s government, then what are you going to put in its place? That’s a very volatile part of the world.

And if you take down the central government in Iraq, you could easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off. Part of it the Syrians would like to have, the west. Part of eastern Iraq the Iranians would like to claim. Fought over for eight years. In the north, you’ve got the Kurds. And if the Kurds spin loose and join with Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey.

It’s a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq. The other thing is casualties. Everyone was impressed with the fact that we were able to do our job with as few casualties as we had, but for the 146 Americans killed in action and for the families it wasn’t a cheap war. And the question for the president in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad and took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein was, how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth? And our judgment was not very many, and I think we got it right.”

(If only he had taken his own advice.)

Carney destroys Cheney and Bushies: “Which president was he talking about?”

Outgoing Press Secretary Jay Carney | Pool via Getty Images

Daily Kos

Writing from an alternate reality in the Wall Street Journal, liar, war criminal, and all around not-nice-person Dick Cheney had this to say about President Barack Obama’s strategy in Iraq, apparently without a hint of irony or self-awareness:

Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many.

Ah, yes.  The Bush Administration’s rank incompetence and the consequencesthereof are rare indeed, but that’s not what Cheney was talking about.This fact was not lost on White House press secretary Jay Carney, who, at his last press briefing before stepping down, answered a question from ABC’s resident rightwing troll, Jonathan Karl.

Video is here, credit Tommy Christopher.  (Not sure how to embed DailyMotion videos, but I will if someone tells me how.)

KARL:  I wonder if you’ve had the chance to see this op-ed piece that former vice president Dick Cheney has written in the Wall Street Journal that has a rather critical tone to it toward the White House.  He says, “rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at theexpense of so many,” talking about the situation in Iraq and in the Middle East generally.CARNEY:  Which president was he talking about?

[laughter]

That’ll leave a mark.How nice of Carney to shove that quote back in Dick’s face during his last day as press secretary.  Oh, and rightwing troll and Benghazi fraudster Jonathan Karl as well.  They both got what they deserved.

Now if Cheney would just crawl back into his undisclosed location and shut up, we’d all be better off.

Megyn Kelly Confronts Dick Cheney: ‘History Has Proven’ You Were Wrong on Iraq

No attribution

Mediaite

Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz sat down with Megyn Kelly to talk about their joint column slamming President Obama on Iraq and a whole host of other foreign policy issues, but Kelly wasted no time in grilling Cheney on his role in the quagmire Iraq is in today.

She opened the interview by referring to Cheney as “the man who helped lead us into Iraq in the first place,” and told Cheney, in response to his claim that rarely has a president been so wrong about so much, “Time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well in Iraq, sir.”

Kelly went down a laundry list of Dick Cheney quotes about Iraq that turned out to be monstrously wrong, but Cheney refuted all of that and kept focus on going after President Obama. He said the Obama administration “precipitated the current crisis” in Iraq, while Liz said they started their new group Alliance for a Strong America because “there’s a lot out there being said that’s frankly not true” where the Bush/Cheney administration is concerned.

Watch the video below, via Fox News:

DICK CHENEY: “MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH THE IRAQI OIL WELLS” (Humor)

489851141-580.jpg

Dick Cheney |no attribution

The New Yorker

JACKSON HOLE, WYOMING (The Borowitz Report)—Former Vice-President Dick Cheney broke his silence about the crisis in Iraq on Tuesday, telling reporters, “My thoughts and prayers are with the Iraqi oil wells.”

Speaking from his Wyoming ranch, Cheney said that he had planned to remain quiet about the current state of affairs in Iraq, but “thinking about those oil wells has kept me up at night.”

“If Dick Cheney won’t speak for the Iraqi oil wells, who will?” he said.

Cheney indicated that, as of now, there was no fighting near Iraq’s oil wells, but warned, “If the violence spreads, those wells could be in jeopardy. And it’s up to the international community to insure that that worst-case scenario doesn’t happen.”

The former Vice-President said that he expected to “catch hell” for inserting himself into the debate about Iraq, but was resolute in his decision to do so. “If I prevent one drop of precious oil from being spilled, it will have been worth it,” he said.

The right’s ugly food-stamp obsession is back! Why lying dog-whistle politics returned…

The right's ugly food-stamp obsession is back! Why lying dog-whistle politics returned

Dick Cheney on “Cavuto,” on the Fox Business Network, Dec. 9, 2013. (Credit: AP/Richard Drew)

Salon – Joan Walsh

“Welcome to Obama’s America,” Fox’s Eric Bolling told his audience Tuesday – a dystopia where people now use food stamps to patronize “strip clubs, liquor stores, pot dispensaries.” Following up on its rubbishy August 2013 faux-exposé “The Great Food Stamp Binge,” Fox again profiled “surfing freeloader” Jason Greenslate, who is allegedly “livin’ large” in San Diego, thanks to the SNAP program, commonly known as food stamps. After Bill O’Reilly’s errand boy Jesse Watters caught up with Greenslate again Monday night, “The Five” used the lazy surfer as “the representative of literally millions of Americans,” in Bolling’s words. It was epic.

“He’s playing the system, he’s stretching the rules to their limits,” Bolling told Fox’s angry, fearful, mostly elderly viewers. “But what would you expect with a $105 billion program that’s almost tripled under Obamanomics? That’s what you would expect, right there, take a look at it. But what’s next? Strip clubs, liquor stores, pot dispensaries? Oh, that’s already going on, folks. Welcome to Obama’s America.”

Bolling’s rant came a day after Dick Cheney visited Fox and attacked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s military cuts, telling Sean Hannity, bizarrely, that Obama “would much rather spend the money on food stamps than he would on a strong military or support for our troops.”

The right just can’t leave that old dog-whistle alone. It’s 2012 all over again – Newt Gingrich will be reviving his claim that Obama’s “the food stamp president” any minute now. In “Obama’s America,” the right is determined to make the president the tribune of a moocher-rewarding, ever-expanding welfare state, even if they have to lie to do so.

Of course in Obama’s America (and everyone else’s) SNAP regulations prohibit buying alcohol or tobacco with food stamps, let alone drugs, and they can’t be used at restaurants or bars, let alone strip clubs. But Bolling wants Fox viewers in a perpetual state of moral panic, and the notion that slackers like Greenslate are “livin’ large” – Fox’s term — on the public dime just works, the facts be damned.



Cheney’s rant was in some ways more offensive. Charging that the cuts proposed by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel are “really devastating,” Cheney went on: “It does enormous long-term damage to our military. They act as though it is like highway spending and you can turn it on and off. The fact of the matter is he is having a huge impact on the ability of future presidents to deal with future crises that are bound to arise.”

Of course, as Think Progress noted back when Cheney began lobbying against defense cuts in 2012, the former vice president himself presided over a 25 percent cut to the defense budget back when he was defense secretary under George H.W. Bush. The fighting force was reduced by 500,000 active-duty soldiers, a move that was blessed by Joint Chiefs of Staff chair Colin Powell.

That was then. These cuts are the work of Obama’s team. So not only must they be attacked as dangerous, they’ve got to be framed as something the corrupt Chicago “gangster” is doing to reward his coalition of slackers, moochers and lazy white surfers.

Now, maybe it’s progress that Fox is making a white surfer the poster boy for food stamp abuse – but it’s the link to “Obama’s America” that updates Reagan’s old imagery about Cadillac-driving welfare queens and “young bucks” using food stamps to buy “T-bone steaks.”

In fact only 1 percent of SNAP funds are wasted in fraud. Three-quarters of SNAP households include an elderly or disabled person or a child, and fully 42 percent of adult recipients are also working, but making too little to feed themselves and their families. Among the nation’s food stamp recipients are almost a million military veterans, who were slurred by Cheney, and thousands of active duty military too. Military families spent $100 million in food stamp funds at military grocery stores in 2013.

Fox and Cheney don’t want you to think about the veteran or the soldier or the single mother or the disabled senior on food stamps. They don’t want Fox viewers to ask why 42 percent of recipients make such low wages that they qualify for food assistance, or why so many veterans and even active-duty soldiers need help. To distract from an economy that’s increasingly hoarding rewards at the top, they point to a cartoonish moocher and blame Obama.

The Inside Story Of Liz Cheney’s Tone-Deaf Candidacy

The Huffington Post

When Liz Cheney moved to Wyoming, in 2012, her path to the Senate seemed clear enough. Cheney had a famous name, a high-profile media presence, an impressive CV, and plenty of money. The Republican incumbent, a backbencher named Mike Enzi, was expected to retire. Most political pros would have had an easy time gaming out the next few moves: First, meet Enzi to divine his intentions. Make sure to kiss the ring. Maybe offer a nudge while you do so. Then sit back and let him to do the right thing. When it’s done, offer some gracious praise on the occasion of his retirement. And then await a coronation.

It’s a good bet that’s how Dick Cheney, a famously effective back-room operator, would have handled it. His cable-bred daughter, though, was not content to quietly make Enzi an offer he couldn’t refuse: She simply called him up and informed himshe was moving toward running against him. Not for the last time in the campaign, the shock and awe approach backfired. “I think Enzi would have dropped out if she hadn’t announced so early,” one Enzi donor says. “But Enzi did not want to be seen as being shoved out.”

Monday, it was Cheney who left the race, citing family reasons. (An insider describes the issue as something non-life threatening involving one of her daughters.) But there were political considerations, too. Cheney was trailing badly in early polls and having trouble finding a Washington firm to set up a super PAC. Which all added to the aborted campaign’s central mystery: Why did this well-prepared, well-connected, well-known political figure put on such an amateurish performance when she finally ran for office on her own?

Cheney’s campaign was marked by a Palinesque series of news stories involving ham-handed politics and small-time personal dramas: There was the kerfuffle over whether her dad was an old fly-fishing buddy of Enzi’s. (The senator says yes, the former veep says no.) There was the time her mom told former Sen. Alan Simpson to shut up when he announced his support for Enzi. (She was incensed that he’d stiff someone who’d campaigned for him as a preteen.) There was a $220 fine for in-state residential claims on her fishing license application. (Cheney hadn’t lived in Wyoming long enough to avoid the out-of-towner fee.) And, when that was reported in the local press, there was a controversy over whether she had wished death on the state’s well-loved small-town papers. (She said she was only talking about the liberal national media.)

There was also a much more serious break between Cheney and her sister over gay marriage. Candidate Cheney’s position was that states should decide for themselves. But she also said that she believes marriage is only between a man and a woman. That drew Facebook rebukes from Mary Cheney, who has two daughters with her wife. The whole tableau, transpiring on social media, had a touch of Jerry Springer about it.

You might say this pattern of cable-style bombast and public embarrassment is at odds with the taciturn Cheney brand. Pull back the camera a bit, though, and it starts to look less strange. “The Cheney women are very protective of, as we called him, The Man. That’s what we called him inside the system, The Man, capitalized,” says Kevin Kellems, Dick Cheney’s communications director during his vice presidential years. “You protect The Man at all costs. And two, if the enemy takes a shot at you, you never, ever, ever admit any level of accuracy on their part. You always, always refute it. It is the centerpiece of their DNA.” It’s a tendency that blossomed in the fiery days after 9/11, and grew strong still as Dick Cheney’s reputation collapsed with the Bush administration. “Give no ground was the operating principle of the Cheney operation. Give no ground, ever.”

Continue reading here…

Michael Eric Dyson rips Mary Matalin for ‘amnesia’ after Cheney branded Mandela a terrorist

The Raw Story

Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson lashed out at conservative strategist Mary Matalin, a former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, after she defended her one-time boss for branding Nelson Mandela a terrorist in the 1980s.

Following Mandela’s death last week, several media outlets pointed out that Cheney had not only voted against sanctions on South Africa’s apartheid government, but had also maintained that he didn’t have “any problems” with the vote as late as 2000.

On ABC’s This Week, Dyson observed that “conservatives get a little bit of amnesia when they forget that Dick Cheney wanted to put him on the terrorist list and insisted that he stayed there, that Ronald Reagan resisted — he said on the one hand that Nelson Mandela should be released, but he depended upon a white supremacist government to reform itself within.”

“When will you ever get tired of beating up on Darth Vader, who said Nelson Mandela is a good man,” Matalin shot back, referring to Cheney. “It was a complicated situation, the ANC was a terrorist organization at one point. He has since said wonderful things about Nelson Mandela.”

“But when you say about excusing Darth Vader, so to speak, this is not just about rhetoric,” Dyson insisted to the former Cheney aide. “This is about public policy that prevented the flourishing of ANC, and look, when they had the feet on the neck of Nelson Mandela and millions of black people in South Africa.”

Watch the video from ABC’s This Week, broadcast Dec. 8, 2013.

 

Those Media Hysterics Who Said Obama’s Presidency Was Dead Were Wrong. Again.

New Republic

It’s been a pretty good week for the Obama administration. The bungled healthcare.gov Web site emerged vastly improved following an intensive fix-it push, allowing some 25,000 to sign up per day, as many as signed up in all of October. Paul Ryan and Patty Murray inched toward a modest budget agreement. This morning came a remarkably solid jobs report, showing 203,000 new positions created in November, the unemployment rate falling to 7 percent for the first time in five years, and the labor force participation rate ticking back upward. Meanwhile, the administration’s push for a historic nuclear settlement with Iran continued apace.

All of these developments are tenuous. The Web site’s back-end troubles could still pose big problems (though word is they are rapidly improving, too) and the delay in getting the site up working leaves little time to meet enrollment goals. Job growth could easily stutter out again. The Iran deal could founder amid resistance from Congress or our allies.

Still, it seems safe to say that the Obama presidency is not, in fact, over and done with. What, you say, was there any question of that? Well, yes, there was – less than a month ago. On November 14, the New York Times raised the “K” word in a front-page headline:

President Obama is now threatened by a similar toxic mix. The disastrous rollout of his health care law not only threatens the rest of his agenda but also raises questions about his competence in the same way that the Bush administration’s botched response to Hurricane Katrina undermined any semblance of Republican efficiency.

A day later, Dana Milbank gave an even blunter declaration of doom in the Washington Post:

There may well be enough time to salvage Obamacare.

But on the broader question of whether Obama can rebuild an effective presidency after this debacle, it’s starting to look as if it may be game over.

And Ron Fournier, the same week, explained in National Journal that things were so grim for Obama because his presidency had reached a kind of metaphysical breaking point:

Americans told President Obama in 2012, “If you like your popularity, you can keep it.”

We lied.

Well, at least we didn’t tell him the whole truth. What we meant to say was thatObama could keep the support of a majority of Americans unless he broke our trust. Throughout his first term, even as his job-approval rating cycled up and down, one thing remained constant: Polls showed that most Americans trustedObama.

As they say in Washington, that is no longer operable.

Granted, finding overwrought punditry in Washington is about as difficult as hunting for game at one of Dick Cheney’s favorite preserves. Making grand declarations based on the vibrations of the moment is part of the pundit’s job description, and every political writer with any gumption is going to find himself or herself out on the wrong limb every once in a while. That said, this has been an especially inglorious stretch for Beltway hyperventilators. First came the government shutdown and the ensuing declamations about the crack-up of the Republican Party. Then, with whiplash force, came the obituaries for the Obama presidency. The Washington press corps has been reduced to the state of the tennis-watching kittens in this video, with the generic congressional ballot surveys playing the part of the ball flitting back and forth.

What explains for this even-worse-than-usual excitability? Much of it has to do with the age-old who’s-up-who’s down, permanent-campaign tendencies of the political media, exacerbated by a profusion of polling, daily tipsheets and Twitter. Overlaid on this is our obsession with the presidency, which leads us both to inflate the aura of the office and to view periods of tribulation as some sort of existential collapse. Add in the tendencies of even more serious reporters to get into a chew-toy mode with tales of scandal or policy dysfunction, as happened with the healthcare.gov debacle – the media has been so busy hyping every last aspect of the rollout’s woes that it did indeed start to seem inconceivable that things might get better soon.

But things did get better, as one should have been able to anticipate, given the resources and pressure that were belatedly brought to bear on the challenge. The fiasco took a real toll on the law and on the liberal project, for which Barack Obama bears real responsibility. But the end of a presidency? Take a deep breath, folks.

The sad thing about this spectacle isn’t even the predictable display of presentism. It’s the evident ignorance of the constitution and the basics of American politics. For the next three years, Obama will occupy the presidency, a position that comes with remarkable legal powers, especially now that he’s been partly liberated from the filibuster’s constraints. Washington columnists—the folks who presumably get paid to disseminate this kind of wisdom to the rubes beyond the Beltway—ought to know this better than anyone else, yet even as they fixate so much on the office’s aura, they are awfully quick to declare an administration defunct. News happens, and in the Oval Office, or the House majority, you always the ability to influence it, even when you don’t deserve it. Kind of like certain well-known writers I could name.