A RIDICULOUS STANDARD…. Marc Thiessen, up until recently George W. Bush’s chief speechwriter, has a twisted op-ed in the Washington Post today, arguing that if Barack Obama changes Bush’s national-security apparatus in anyway, he’ll invite domestic terrorism and will shoulder the blame for American deaths. Jason Zengerle described the piece as “despicable,” and I’m hard pressed to disagree.

Most of the arguments are tiresome and familiar: except for the catastrophic events of 9/11, and the anthrax attacks, and terrorist attacks against U.S. allies, and the terrorist attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bush’s record on counter-terrorism was top notch. As Thiessen sees it, Bush handed Obama a terrific national-security dynamic, which shouldn’t be tinkered with at all.

It reads like a laundry list of discredited talking points: torture works, warrantless-wiretaps are necessary, we can’t withdraw from Iraq or al Qaeda wins, etc. It’s the kind of inane demagoguery that a sensible person would be embarrassed to be associated with.

But it’s the shameless scare tactics that are truly offensive.

Al-Qaeda is actively working to attack our country again. And the policies and institutions that George W. Bush put in place to stop this are succeeding. During the campaign, Obama pledged to dismantle many of these policies. He follows through on those pledges at America’s peril — and his own. If Obama weakens any of the defenses Bush put in place and terrorists strike our country again, Americans will hold Obama responsible — and the Democratic Party could find itself unelectable for a generation. […]

President Obama has inherited a set of tools that successfully protected the country for 2,688 days — and he cannot dismantle those tools without risking catastrophic consequences. On Tuesday, George W. Bush told a cheering crowd in Midland, Tex., that his administration had left office without another terrorist attack. When Barack Obama returns to Chicago at the end of his time in office, will he be able to say the same?

As Zengerle noted, “You almost get the sense guys like Thiessen are hoping for an attack so that they can blame Obama when it happens.”

Update: Both the NYT and Joe Scarborough touted Thiessen’s arguments, without noting why he’s wrong.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.