Posts Tagged ‘Pete Hoekstra’

The Hypocrisy of Hoekstra

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Thanks to an officemate listening to talk radio, I just heard Lou “Mr. Independent” Dobbs,  follow the new right talking point that the Obama administration is “politicizing” national security. He had on Rep. Pete Hoekstra to claim exactly that, specifically commenting on how the Obama administration “politicized” the Christmas Day bombing – which is especially rich given that Hoekstra himself sent out a fundraising letter citing the attempted bombing THREE (3) days after Christmas.

It is infuriating to hear this level of blatant hypocrisy go unchallenged.

The next thing we’ll see is a Wall Street Journal op-ed from Karl Rove chastising the Obama administration for “politicizing” such an important issue as the War on Terror while the journalist whose show he is on nods seriously.

[Image by republicanconference licensed under Creative Commons.]

Get It Through Your Heads: No President Can Keep You Safe

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

[digg-reddit-me]Speaking of rooting for catastrophes, it’s hard to see anther reason for Dick Cheney’s continued attempts to politicize national security issues and terrorism. There is a ghastly calculation at work – as Cheney is attempting to set the scene for a Republican reemergence in the aftermath of the next successful terrorist attack.

There is so much glaring idiocy at work in the opinion page responses to the attempted Christmas bombing. Few seem willing to admit the obvious truth: No centralized power can keep us safe. No intelligence system will be perfect. No watch list will be all-inclusive. No screening procedures are foolproof. We can make it harder for a terrorist to succeed, but in order to win, we need to prevent every attack; while they only need to slip through the cracks once. And there will always be cracks. Even in a totalitarian regime, there are cracks. Part of the price we pay for a free society is vulnerability.

Yet, instead we seem to blame or credit the President himself for whether or not he kept us safe. We “got lucky” this time – it is said – but the President should get his act together and prevent another attempt. It was nonsense to say that George W. Bush kept us safe after September 11. And it is nonsense to say that Barack Obama has kept us safe since being elected. They simply do not have the power to do this, fictional narratives like Vince Flynn’s and 24 notwithstanding.

What the president is responsible for – along with the rest of the government – is creating policies and enforcing laws that balance freedom and security. There were failures that allowed the now-spayed bomber to get through security. But – and let me speak clearly here – assholes like Rep. Pete King, Rep. Pete Hoekstra, and former Vice President Dick Cheney who are trying to exploit Al Qaeda’s bombing attempt to score political points are beyond contempt. Cheney especially seems to have made the calculation that he can preemptively politicize the aftermath of the next attack.

What further demonstrates the bad faith of these assholes is that they offered no such criticisms of George W. Bush after the “shoe bomber” slipped through security and attempted to blow up another plane in December, after which Bush failed to immediately call it terrorism, and after which he did not immediately comment. I didn’t blame Bush for this at the time – and neither did the Democrats. Yet now, when Al Qaeda attempts an attack, rather than unifying us, provides yet another excuse for King, Hoekstra, and Cheney to bash the man whose agenda they despise.

Even worse, in doing so, they support the illusion that a tough President has the power to keep us safe – that if only we acceded enough power to Big Brother, everything would be alright.

Stirring Up Trouble

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

Kevin Hassett in an opinion piece for Bloomberg calls on Obama to rein in Pelosi and try to bring in the spirit of bipartisanship that Obama talked about so much. He even compares Obama’s calls to civility (while running a civil campaign) to George W. Bush’s calls for civility (while running an exceptionally dirty campaign, especially against his Republican opponents.) Hassett is outraged that Nancy Pelosi said – to the Republicans who were threatening to vote against the stimulus bill:

Yes, we wrote the bill. Yes, we won the election.

How uncivil of her! Hassett continues:

If [Obama] wants to fulfill the promise of his rhetoric, he should take Pelosi to the woodshed and insist that she include Republicans, collegially, in the process. He should stand up to his party and threaten to veto a bill if it fails to make reasonable concessions to his friends across the aisle. He should advise his own staff to begin returning the phone calls of senior Republican aides.

Contrast Hassett’s hissy fit about how the Republicans in Congress are being marginalized with the comments of these Republicans themselves:

“If [the] President carries this on it does open door for a new tone!” – Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.)

“Sharp differences are muted.” – Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas)

“President Obama is speaking to House Republicans right now on Democratic stimulus bill. Good sales man, bad product.” – Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)

There are complaints about how the Democratic majority is running the process on the Hill – and Obama should look into that. I think an open and fair process should be the standard no matter which party is in control. But the situation is nothing like Hassett’s piece suggests – as Rahm Emanuel’s outreach to Republicans also demonstrates. It makes it seem like Hassett is just trying to build a meme to use against Obama later.

Meanwhile, Congressman Tom Price has told Rush Limbaugh to back off:

…it’s easy if you’re Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks. You don’t have to try to do what’s best for your people and your party. You know you’re just on these talk shows and you’re living well and plus you stir up a bit of controversy and gin the base and that sort of that thing….

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