Thiessen defends the indefensible

THIESSEN DEFENDS THE INDEFENSIBLE…. Stop by the Washington Post‘s op-ed page today, and you’ll find Eugene Robinson condemning Liz Cheney and her Keep America Safe group for smearing Justice Department attorneys. Robinson doesn’t hold back, characterizing Cheney’s smear as “scurrilous,” and “unbelievably dishonest and dishonorable.”

Robinson explained, “The word ‘McCarthyism’ is overused, but in this case it’s mild.”

Elsewhere on the exact same op-ed page, readers will also find a piece on the same subject from former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen, now a Post contributor. With even conservative Republicans in the legal establishment denouncing the Cheney/KAS attacks, might Thiessen show some decency? No such luck.

The standard today seems to be that you can say or do anything when it comes to the Bush lawyers who defended America against terrorists. But if you publish an Internet ad or ask legitimate questions about Obama administration lawyers who defended America’s terrorist enemies, you are engaged in a McCarthyite witch hunt.

Oh, poor muffin. Thiessen’s apparently annoyed because he sees a double standard — loyal Bushies who flouted the rule of law came under fire, and the American mainstream didn’t leap to their defense. Now, attorneys who successfully fought in support of the rule of law are receiving support in the face of a right-wing smear campaign. How terribly unfair, Thiessen believes.


It’s tempting to go through the op-ed, argument by argument, surgically taking apart the whole thing, but it looks like Adam Serwer and Media Matters have already done that.

Suffice it to say, Thiessen’s morally bankrupt and misleading worldview does not deserve the imprimatur of the Washington Post.

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Steve Benen

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.