Given the Democrat vs. Republican and left vs. right rancor that seems to suffuse every issue today, the conservative pushback against the despicable Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol over their McCarthyite tagging of Department of Justice lawyers who defended terrorist detainees as the "Al Qaeda Seven" is enormously heartening.
In fact, a letter signed by dyed-in-the-wool conservative legal scholars and sometime Obama administration critics Ted Olson, Kenneth Starr, Phillip Zelikow and John Belllinger, who are among no fewer than 19 former Bush administration officials, is having an impact. The former vice president's daughter and her partner in slime from the Weekly Standard are now walking back from their vile assertion, albeit in baby steps and compounding the lies with more of them such as Cheney's contention that the "Al Qaeda 7" ad campaign ad "doesn't question anyone's loyalty."
Like Joe McCarthy himself, no charge is too outrageous for Cheney and Kristol although no effort to buttress a charge is made. Consequently, their throw-it-up-against-the-wall modus operandi has yet again had inconvenient consequences for them.
Like the fact that Michael Chertoff served as counsel to Magdy El-Amir, identified as a leading Al Qaeda fundraiser in North America, before going on to head the criminal division at Justice and then becoming George Bush's Homeland Security Czar. Or the fact that former Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey's law firm did pro bono work for Guantánamo Bay detainees.
The half life for right-wing whack jobs like Cheney and Kristol is regrettably only slightly less than that of uranium, so I don't expect either of these junkyard dogs to go away, let alone back off. And while they will always be Fox fixtures, their serial appearances on other cable news networks gives them exposure that they simple do not deserve given that they are so deeply disparaging of others' principles while they themselves have none whatsoever.
And while the ambitious Cheney certainly is capable of being elected dog catcher in some Virginia burg, I sense that she is shooting her political wad since her outbursts have uncannily coincided with success after success by the Obama administration against high-profile Taliban and AQ targets in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
This puts the lie to the assertions of she and her war criminal father, who is easily the most loathed public figure in America and the man most responsible for the U.S. sleeping through the run-up to the 9/11 attacks, that the president is weak on terror because he has replaced fear mongering with action.
Liz Cheney can no longer depend on silence from some of her father's most important Bush era cohorts. Her bloviating has become so morally repugnant that even a right-winger like Mukasey is prompted to push back at her.