While George W Bush was president it was possible to sustain what turned out to be a naive hope: that much of the harm he had done could be undone once he was out of office and the neoconservatives had been dislodged from power. But the harm personified by Bush and Cheney is now being institutionalized and by the removal of ideological baggage, lightened, with the effect that the post-Bush era is nowhere near in sight.
As President Obama sucks up to Wall Street (a sure way of financing his 2012 campaign, given that he will not be able to rely on the same level of grassroots support he enjoyed in 2008) and as his Justice Department argues that whistle-blowers are more dangerous than Americans who commit treason, Glenn Greenwald notes that the latest neocon singing Obama’s praise is Dick Cheney:
In the early months of Obama’s presidency, the American Right did to him what they do to every Democratic politician: they accused him of being soft on defense (specifically “soft on Terror”) and leaving the nation weak and vulnerable to attack. But that tactic quickly became untenable as everyone (other than his hardest-core followers) was forced to acknowledge that Obama was embracing and even expanding — rather than reversing — the core Bush/Cheney approach to Terrorism. As a result, leading right-wing figures began lavishing Obama with praise — and claiming vindication — based on Obama’s switch from harsh critic of those policies (as a candidate) to their leading advocate (once in power).
As early as May, 2009, former Bush OLC lawyer Jack Goldsmith wrote in The New Republic that Obama was not only continuing Bush/Cheney Terrorism policies, but was strengthening them — both because he was causing them to be codified in law and, more important, converting those policies from right-wing dogma into harmonious bipartisan consensus. Obama’s decision “to continue core Bush terrorism policies is like Nixon going to China,” Goldsmith wrote. Last October, former Bush NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden — one of the most ideological Bush officials, whose confirmation as CIA chief was opposed by then-Sen. Obama on the ground he had overseen the illegal NSA spying program — gushed with praise for Obama: “there’s been a powerful continuity between the 43rd and the 44th president.” James Jay Carafano, a homeland-security expert at the Heritage Foundation, told The New York Times’ Peter Baker last January: “I don’t think it’s even fair to call it Bush Lite. It’s Bush. It’s really, really hard to find a difference that’s meaningful and not atmospheric.”
Those are the nation’s most extreme conservatives praising Obama’s Terrorism policies. And now Dick Cheney himself — who once led the “soft on Terror” attacks — is sounding the same theme. [Continue reading…]