Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol as dung beetles.
This week Cheney and Kristol, through their Keep America Safe political hit organization, put out a video attacking Department of Justice lawyers who had served as legal counsel for prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, essentially accusing them of being traitors, al-Qaeda sympathizers, and (say it with me now) providing “aid and comfort to the enemy.” In other words, defending the legal rights of the accused in a court of law, military or civilian, is in their eyes undermining the War on Terror (Sic) and endangering American lives.
Naturally, Glenn Greenwald is all over this (and always worth reading.) But you know who else is pissed about this? Former members of the Bush Administration. And the influential conservative blog Powerline.
This all within the same week as a Politico story breaks news of a Republican National Committee powerpoint presentation outlining GOP fear and smear tactics, outraging the political talking class for at least a news cycle. The RNC tactic features the usual “socialism” and “big government” bullshit that is so old, I don’t understand how it has any currency with anyone; but as the teabaggers prove, there are a lot of gullible, uninformed people out there, so it works.
The Cheney-Kristol tactic doesn’t come from nowhere, of course. Prejudice against defense attorneys is embedded in our popular culture: stereotypes of sleazy mob lawyers, cynical shysters and ideological do-gooders from the (gasp) ACLU abound on shows like Law & Order, undermining the State, putting up trivial defenses, finding loopholes, getting bad guys off while the victim’s families cry. Mix that in with fears of Muslim Jihadist Extremist Islamofascist Radical Terrorist Swarthy Bad Guys and disdain for Fancy Talking Pinhead Liberal Elites — well, it’s a toxic brew.