The “Cheney Was Right” Lobby

As the president prepares for his big national speech on dealing with Islamic State tonight, he’s obviously struggling with not only a complex situation in Iraq and Syria but with a climate of public opinion that is, well, conflicted. As we’ve discussed here at PA the last week, Americans want revenge for the beheading of Americans and other outrages committed by PA, but a majority doesn’t want “boots on the ground” or, frankly, any serious risk of U.S. casualties. Though polls haven’t focused on it yet, I’d betcha Americans also continue to oppose more defense spending.

This all benefits Republicans in the short term, of course, since they can be for anything other than a status quo with which Americans are unhappy. The one immediate thing that is most likely to build sympathy for the president’s position is great public realization that it differs from Dick Cheney’s argument that we should still be waging the last Iraq War.

So it’s genuinely puzzling that House Republicans invited the old warmonger and torture-defender and all-around scary person to address them on the eve of Obama’s speech, and that the Editors of the Wall Street Journal chose to title their anticipatory attack on the president’s position “Dick Cheney Is Still Right.”

In a confused and confusing world, the one thing that’s reasonably certain is that Dick Cheney is still wrong. And I don’t think he’s on the brink of national vindication.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.