She can’t help herself

SHE CAN’T HELP HERSELF…. On Tuesday night, CNN invited Liz Cheney back for yet another prime-time interview, and she delivered a rather predictable performance. She falsely claimed that closing Gitmo “makes us less safe” and badly misrepresented George W. Bush’s comments on Guantanamo Bay.

As a reward for the latest in a series of dishonest television appearances, and in an apparent bid to drive me batty, CNN invited Liz Cheney back onto CNN again last night, for another prime-time interview. And wouldn’t you know it, the former vice president’s daughter used her media platform, once again, to attack the president.

“…I would say one of the things that is troubling to Americans, I think, is extent to which this administration is focused on the president’s popularity overseas. We’ve now seen several different occasions when he’s been on the international trips, where he’s not willing to say, flat out, ‘I believe in American exceptionalism. I believe unequivocally, unapologetically, America is the best nation that ever existed in history, and clearly that exists today.’ Instead we’ve seen him do what we saw him do in the speech in Cairo, which is sort of, ‘on one hand this, on the other hand that,’ and then attempt to put himself sort of above it all. I think that troubles people.”

It’s always entertaining to hear discredited, unelected Republican activists speak on behalf millions of Americans. Liz Cheney doesn’t just say, “This troubles me”; she says this is “troubling to Americans.” How does she know? She just does.

As for the “substance,” Cheney insisted she’s never heard the president say, “I believe in American exceptionalism.” That would be true, if it weren’t false. On April 5, during an overseas trip, the president said, “I believe in American exceptionalism.”

In fact, I’d encourage readers to read exactly what President Obama said when asked about “American exceptionalism.” His remarks were thoughtful and nuanced — and apparently went right over Cheney’s head.

As for her demand that the president go to foreign audiences and tell them, “America is the best nation that ever existed in history” I’m not sure what, exactly, she’d hope to see Obama achieve with this. The president reminded his audience in Cairo, for example, “The United States has been one of the greatest sources of progress that the world has ever known. We were born out of revolution against an empire. We were founded upon the ideal that all are created equal, and we have shed blood and struggled for centuries to give meaning to those words — within our borders, and around the world.” He reminded his audience in Strasbourg a couple of months ago, “Instead of recognizing the good that America so often does in the world, there have been times where Europeans choose to blame America for much of what’s bad.” He told his audience in Berlin last year, “I also know how much I love America. I know that for more than two centuries, we have strived — at great cost and great sacrifice — to form a more perfect union.”

But for Liz Cheney, this isn’t quite good enough. As Ben Armbruster explained very well, Cheney “essentially wants [Obama] to stand in front of a room full of foreigners and say, ‘We’re better than you.’ This is exactly the kind of cowboy diplomacy that has hurt America’s relationship with its allies over the last eight years and ultimately its standing in the world.”