A Blowjob for Liz “BabyDick” Cheney

Joe Hagan has an epic softball in the New York Magazine describing PapaDick Cheney’s plan to salvage his legacy. Or rather, Liz “BabyDick” Cheney’s plan to salvage Daddy’s legacy, and with it, launch her own career. (At several points, the piece comes close to suggesting PapaDick’s mental acuity is finally going the way of his heart.) It relies on such hard-hitting sources as Rush Limbaugh, Elliott Abrams, former Cheney press aide Pete Williams, and Michael Goldfarb saying, “You have a little crush on her … It’s hard not to.”

Since I’ve mentioned Pete Williams, this description of how much NBC loves the Cheneys is one of the best parts of the article.

Fox is a regular pulpit, of course, but Liz is also all over NBC, where she happens to be social friends with Meet the Press host David Gregory (whose wife worked with Liz ’s husband at the law firm Latham & Watkins), family friends with Justice Department reporter Pete Williams (Dick Cheney’s press aide when he was secretary of Defense), and neighborhood friends with Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski, daughter of Carter-administration national-security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. When Mika criticized Dick Cheney on her show last year, the former vice-president sent her a box of chocolate cupcakes.

Lawrence O’Donnell, an MSNBC pundit who engaged in a particularly testy shouting match on Good Morning America with Liz Cheney over waterboarding, says the networks have allowed her a high degree of control over her appearances. “She had up to that point been completely accustomed to having interviews go her way and ceded on her terms,” he observes. “She has been careful to make sure that the interviews worked that way.”

Though somehow Hagan missed the detail from the Libby trial, Cheney’s Press Secretary explaining that Cheney got to set the agenda when he appeared on Meet the Press. Under David Gregory’s watch, I guess that has only gotten to be more true.

In the whole 8-page article, there’s just this hint that BabyDick’s constant press assault might be about legal liability for war crimes rather than political legacy Read more

Iran-Contra 2.0

A number of people are talking about David Rose’s article on US clusterfuckery with its Palestinian policy. If you need any convincing that the entire Administration–and Condi Rice above all–is dangerously incompetent, read this article.

The story explains how the Administration pushed an election for the Palestinians, not seeing what every sane observer saw–that Hamas would win. Immediately after the election, Condi started pressuring Mahmoud Abbas to dissolve Parliament. When he refused, the Administration started backing the Fatah strongman, Mohammad Dahlan, in hopes that he could strengthen Fatah and the Palestinian Authority’s security organizations–which had been devastated by Israel during the intifada–sufficiently to overcome Hamas. This set off a civil war between Fatah and Hamas. To end the bloodshed, Saudi’s King Abdullah brokered a national unity government, without warning the US he would do so. In response to Abdullah’s unity government plan, the State Department developed its own $1.27 billion plan, what Hamas considered "a blueprint for a U.S.-backed Fatah coup." The US handed that plan to Abbas and had him adopt it as if it were his own. Hamas responded by taking over Gaza and capturing the Egyptian weapons intended to strengthen Fatah.

In other words, the story is a description of the US’ profoundly incompetent Palestinian policy, one which has exacerbated problems with each new development. As one Fatah commander described it, the whole plan seemed destined to leave Hamas in control.

You know,” he says, “since the takeover, we’ve been trying to enter the brains of Bush and Rice, to figure out their mentality. We can only conclude that having Hamas in control serves their overall strategy, because their policy was so crazy otherwise.”

I wanted to focus on what Rose calls "Iran Contra 2.0." When the US decided to strengthen Fatah so it could combat Hamas, Congress refused to fund the effort. Given our political climate, Congressmen are not about to green light giving Palestinians–of any faction–improved arms and military training. Instead, the Administration turned to a tactic used in Iran-Contra: to have other governments fund the US’ desired foreign policy.

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