Cheney has put Obama on the defensive in the debate over national security. What more, Obama is losing the debate.
The Washington Times reports:
Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s sweeping indictment of administration policy changes on the handling of terrorism-suspect detainees has thrown President Obama on the defensive and scored points for the vice president and his party, according to pollsters and political analysts.
While Mr. Cheney has come under increasing fire from Democrats for charging that Mr. Obama’s policies have made the country more vulnerable to future terrorist attacks, polls show a majority of Americans side with him on using aggressive interrogation methods on high value al Qaeda prisoners and are against moving them from the detention facility at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to maximum-security facilities in the U.S.
This, in spite of the glaring bias, demonstrated by the MSM:
Thursday’s NBC Nightly News featured Andrea Mitchell chastising and correcting former Vice President Dick Cheney for his speech on fighting terrorism, but the network saw no need to correct anything asserted by President Obama in his address on the same topic while anchor Brian Williams asked if Republicans are “happy” to have Cheney as “their messenger?” CBS delivered contrasting conclusions in their two stories: With Obama, stressing his rebuke of his critics; with Cheney, emphasizing his unpopularity. Chip Reid ended his report on Obama by relaying Obama’s charge that “opponents of closing Guantanamo Bay are using the politics of fear,” but, moments later, Bill Plante concluded his look at former VP Cheney’s address on fighting terrorism by highlighting “Republicans who fear that the high-profile criticism coming from someone as unpopular as Cheney isn’t helping their party.”
Well, the unpopular Cheney’s aggressive criticisms have been scoring bulls-eyes with a majority of the American people, as witnessed by the Washington Times, whether they like him, or not.
“I have tested the message and the message clearly helps Republicans,” said Whit Ayres, a pollster for Resurgent Republic, a GOP advocacy group. A poll he conducted May 11 to 14 found voters supported “harsh interrogation” of al Qaeda prisoners by a 19-point margin, 53 percent to 34 percent – including 53 percent support among independents.
A similarly “strong majority believes the Guantanamo Base prison helps protect America, rather than undermines our moral authority. Independents are, again, much more like Republicans than Democrats on this issue,” Mr. Ayres said in a report on his poll’s findings.the
Cheney’s rock ribbed consistency is making Obama look weak and feckless:
It’s often said that Obama is learning what it means to be commander in chief, now that he bears the burden of the nation’s security. Governing, it is said, is different from campaigning. But do you really believe Obama didn’t know what was involved in closing Guantanamo back when he was giving all those campaign speeches? It is simply not credible to argue that Obama, during the campaign, didn’t know that our foreign allies would not take Gitmo prisoners, didn’t know that transferring them to our domestic prisons would involve significant risks and didn’t know that American communities would not welcome terrorists as neighbors.
But he glossed over it all. Now, he’s in office and he’s running out of time. The Senate’s ban on funding will remain in effect until Sept. 30, the end of this fiscal year. That means Obama can’t do anything before Oct. 1 and will have very little time to shut down Guantanamo before his self-imposed deadline of Jan. 22, 2010.
In 2007, Obama said, “That’s easy. Close down Guantanamo.” On Thursday, he said, “Let me be blunt: There are no neat or easy answers here.”
Moreover, are people really fooled by Obama’s *no prisoners have escaped from secure federal prisons* red herring? Because that isn’t what is at issue according to Dick Morris:
The reason we sent the terrorists to Guantanamo in the first place, rather than bring them onto US soil, was never really connected to worries that they might escape. The Bush administration feared, quite correctly, that if the inmates were in federal prisons on US territory, federal judges would take their pleas for constitutional rights more seriously.
That argument is still true, and bringing the terrorists to the United States puts us at risk that they could be freed by court order.
Some detainees will be tried in US courts on US soil. The first will be tried in New York.
This raises two problems: First, if he is acquitted, where will he be released? Likely, he’ll just be invited to walk out the door and onto the streets of New York. Second, is there a danger of terrorist retaliation or attempts to interdict the trial with violence?
Michelle Malkin points out a very another real concern in imprisoning Islamic extremists in American jails:
…his push to transfer violent Muslim warmongers into our civilian prisons – where they have proselytized and plotted with impunity– will only make the problem worse. A brief refresher course for the Left’s amnesiacs about the festering jihadi virus in our jails and overseas:
In 2005, Bush administration officials busted a terrorist plot to attack infidels at military and Jewish sites in the Los Angeles on the fourth anniversary of 9/11 or the Jewish holy days. It was devised by militant Muslim converts of Jam’iyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh (Arabic for “Assembly of Authentic Islam”) who had sworn allegiance to violent jihad at California’s New Folsom State Prison.
Jose Padilla, the convicted terror conspirator, converted to Islam during a stint at a Broward County, Fla., jail and reportedly fell in with terrorist recruiters after his release. Convicted Shoe Bomber Richard Reid converted to Islam with the help of an extremist imam in a British prison.
Aqil Collins, a self-confessed jihadist turned FBI informant, converted to Islam while doing time in a California juvenile detention center. At a terrorist camp in Afghanistan, he went on to train with one of the men accused of kidnapping and beheading Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.
In East Texas, inmates were recruited with a half-hour videotape featuring the anti-Semitic rants of California-based Imam Muhammad Abdullah, who claims that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were actually carried out by the Israeli and U.S. governments.
Federal corrections officials told congressional investigators during the Bush years “that convicted terrorists from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing were put into their prisons’ general population , where they radicalized inmates and told them that terrorism was part of Islam.”
Does Obama plan to keep these prisoners in solitary confinement? Is that to be considered more humane than Guantanamo, where prisoners are allowed perks like movies, books, newspapers, Sudoku puzzles and high-quality health care?
Providentially, it appears Cheney isn’t going away anytime soon. Former Cheney adviser, Mary Matalin tells the Washington Times that Cheney:
…has no intention of folding his tent and going into retirement anytime soon, as long as he feels Mr. Obama’s policies will endanger the country’s security. A major objective for him will be to force the administration to release key intelligence memos he says will show that aggressive interrogation methods were effective in producing valuable information that kept Americans safe from terrorist plots.
“As long as you engage the country in the policy debate, then people have a choice. This is why he is going to stay on this, advocating releasing the effectiveness memos.
That’s good news.
Also good news: if you’re on Facebook, you can join the new Facebook group, “Telling Dick Cheney To Keep Talking.
The Daily News, this morning, has the same take:
It was a tale of two speeches. One was clear, direct and powerful. Barack Obama gave the other speech.
It would have been heresy to write those words any other time, so commanding has President Obama been with the spoken word. But the real Mission Impossible was to imagine that wheezy old Dick Cheney would be the speaker to best Obama.
Yet that happened last week, and I predict it won’t be a fluke. From here on out, results will increasingly trump the sensation of Obama’s high-toned lectures every time.
Especially if they are as dreary as last Thursday’s, which was so disingenuous and self-reverential as to be one of the low moments of his presidency. Besides not being able to clearly lay out his plan for Guantanamo detainees, Obama never mentioned what will happen to others we capture in Iraq and Afghanistan. Perhaps we will take no more prisoners?
Meanwhile, the occasion showed that Cheney, the darkest of dark horses, is emerging as a fact checker in exile. With Democrats holding all Washington power, the ex-veep’s willingness to challenge Obama’s narrative of the war on terror is a poor substitute for an institutional check-and-balance, but it’s all we have.