Monday, February 15, 2010

Biden vs. Cheney

Vice President Joe Biden was interviewed by David Gregory on Meet the Press Sunday: 'Meet the Press' transcript for February 14, 2010. While I think Biden probably has more consistent liberal instincts than Obama, I continue to be amazed at the way leading Democrats pass up obvious opportunities to shift the narrative frame against Republicans. Biden did make some good criticism of Dick Cheney. But he stepped on his own criticisms by trying to find nice things to say about him. Some examples:

Dick Cheney's a fine fellow.
[Again:] Dick Cheney's a fine fellow ...
No, he's not. He's confessed to being part of the decision-making process supporting torture. He's a war criminal and should be tried as such. No, he's not a "fine fellow" at all. And he's been publicly trashing the current administration's policies both himself and through his family surrogate, his daughter Liz Cheney, for the whole time Obama has been in office.

I, I, I'm not going to guess about his [Cheney's] motive.
Why not? The Republicans have not problem accused your President of the most malicious motives about everything.

And maybe he isn't--literally, I'm not being facetious, maybe he's not fully informed of what's going on. I mean, the progress we have made [in fighting terrorism].
Yes, Dick Cheney knows very well what's going on. And so do Obama and Biden. He's trying to create as much political pressure as possible against prosecuting the torture perpetrators - of which he's publicly admitted to being one - and against prosecuting the various other criminal activities of the Cheney-Bush administration from the Iraq War to military contracting to the outing of Valerie Plame as an undercover CIA officer to malicious and partisan Justice Department prosecutions. To name some of the better known ones.

The success rate [of this administration in fighting Al Qa'ida] exceeds anything that occurred in the last administration. And they did their best. I'm not, I'm not impugning their effort.
And why not? There's plenty to "impugn" about it. Why not take the chance to do it? Cheney is sure "impugning" your own administration's efforts.

Biden did repeat the point several times that Cheney is trying to rewrite history. And that's important. It's important that they fight back against Cheney's criticisms.

But the best way - the right way - to do that is to do a thorough investigation and appropriate prosecutions of the known crimes committed in the previous administration, starting with the torture program.

But since they won't do that, at least for now, we're stuck with hoping things like that we can get the administration to stop stepping on their own messaging against Cheney. It's worse than sad.

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