Any day spent talking terrorism isn’t automatically a good one for the Obama administration, given the Republicans’ traditional edge on the issue among voters.
But debating Dick Cheney on terrorism? The Obama White House says it’s happy to do that anytime, as it did with Sunday’s split-screen standoff between Cheney and Vice President Joe Biden.
The dueling appearances, along with what is a clear administration strategy to play up its newly aggressive approach in Afghanistan, show a White House determined to project a posture of strength on national security and trying to gain the upper
hand with Republicans who wish to portray Obama as weak.
This is the height of political incompetence, in my opinion. Taking on the Bush administration is a total loser for the Obama administration. That's because no one in the Bush administration has anything to lose.
When you attack your opponent two things happen. First, your opponents negatives go up. Second, your negatives go up. The Bush administration won't be running for office. Dick Cheney's approval ratings can go to zero and it won't matter. He's not running for office. His criticisms will be run in a loop against Biden's.
So, think about that. Biden's defense is that they did the same thing the Bush administration did in the Richard Reid case. So, the negatives will go up for the Bush administration's handling of the Richard Reid case. That's not going to help with the approvals of Obama's handling of Farouk.
Democrats think they are winning because a recent WAPO poll gave the Obama administration 56% approval on its handling of the GWOT. Of course, the GWOT is a much broader thing: Iraq, Afghanistan, drones, etc. The public is overwhelmingly against civilian trials for KSM and they are none too happy with the Obama administration's handling of Farouk.
Let's go back to the Dick Morris theory. It doesn't matter how the media presents an issue. All that matters is what issue they are talking about. For the Obama administration anything in relation to the handling of the Farouk case is a total loser for the Obama administration. So, why draw more attention to it by getting into a spat with Cheney.