The New GOP Case Against Obama: He’s Cheney!

Republicans attack Obama for policies that have a familiar ring.

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Charles Dharapak / AP

U.S. President Barack Obama walks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on May 2, 2013.

Conservatives are not often fierce defenders of the media. But Monday’s news that the Justice Department obtained phone records for several Associated Press reporters as part of a national security leak probe raised a furor on the right, causing numerous Republicans to harshly criticize the Obama administration. While some may have genuine concerns about First Amendment protections, the right’s response also spotlighted an emerging Republican critique of Barack Obama as a Big Brother-style tyrant in charge of a power-abusing surveillance state.

Before the AP news broke, conservatives were already up in arms over word that the IRS had targeted conservative groups for additional scrutiny, as well as new details about the controversial editing of talking points about last September’s terror attacks in Benghazi. Taken together, Republicans said the stories paint a picture of an administration willing to monitor and even menace its opponents and critics. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa linked all three DC scandals in a statement to reporters, charging that “top Obama Administration officials increasingly see themselves as above the law.”

(MORE: White House: GOP Focus On Benghazi Tied To Mitt Romney)

But the AP phone records produced a particularly surprising response. While Obama’s ardent prosecution of national security leaks has been well-documented in past years, particularly on the civil liberties left, it’s a relatively new cause for mainstream Republicans. “Whether it is secretly targeting patriotic Americans participating in the electoral progress or reporters exercising their First Amendment rights, these new revelations suggest a pattern of intimidation by the Obama Administration,” Doug Heye, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, said in a statement to TIME. “The First Amendment is first for a reason,” added Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner. “If the Obama Administration is going after reporters’ phone records, they better have a damned good explanation.”

The explanation might be, in part, the angry cries from Republican members of Congress over the Associated Press reporting that appears to have triggered the Justice Department probe. In May 2012, the AP described how a double agent had infiltrated al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen and neutralized a plot to bomb an airliner. Multiple Republicans insisted at the time that the leak might constitute a criminal case and demanded a tough FBI investigation.

Their anger was largely directed at the alleged leakers, unlike the cries of “treason” directed at the New York Times when the paper published sensitive information about Bush-era anti-terror surveillance. Even so, conservatives are now in the odd position of implicitly defending the media’s rights against the imperative of national security secrecy, a cause that didn’t interest them much when the FBI sought media phone records during the Bush years.

(MORE: GOP Fights to Rebrand the Party of No)

That position is growing less and less odd, however, as the GOP matures into a post-Bush identity on civil liberty and foreign policy. Some of the GOP’s fastest-rising stars, including Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, have spoken forcefully against the expansion of executive power that is largely a byproduct of the Bush years. In March, Paul led a 13-hour filibuster against John Brennan’s nomination to head the CIA, charging that Obama was claiming a dangerous degree of authority to order unmanned drone strikes and blocking efforts to make the controversial drone program more transparent. Cruz has railed against Obama’s efforts to expand executive power, including the Justice Department’s recent failed legal push to attach GPS devices to vehicles without a warrant.

(TIME MAGAZINE: The Rise of Rand Paul)

The criticism has clearly stung the president, who found himself explaining his drone policies to his own supporters. “This is not Dick Cheney we’re talking about here,” he told Democratic senators, according to Politico. But now Cheney himself is piling on, accusing Obama of a cover-up in Benghazi. “They lied,” the former vice president — who was often accused by Democrats of bending the truth on national security matters — told Fox News’s Sean Hannity on Monday night.

Republicans are painting a cartoon image that won’t stick, Obama’s allies insist. “It’s absurd and not remotely believable unless you’re a conspiracy theorist or one of the 39% of voters who think Benghazi is the biggest political scandal in American history but don’t know where it is,” former Obama national security spokesman Tommy Vietor told TIME. “This is one of those ridiculous theories fringe political groups cook up to vent their anger that just has no basis in reality. No one is alleging Obama directed the IRS to do what it did.”

But nothing unites a divided party like going on the attack. And for a GOP still defining its post-2012 identity, the message that Barack Obama is a secretive, menacing tyrant is proving to be one that its various factions can agree upon.

MORE: How the Republicans Can Take Back the Senate in 2014

141 comments
BeBeBooyah
BeBeBooyah

If Buford T. Justice was watching he would say it something like this a la Smokey and the Bandit.....Secret surveillance!  Secret surveillance is baby s*** compared to what this dudes doin! Nearly killed 2000 women and children with drones not to mention one of our own ambassadors, going through peoples private business, knocking down email boxes AND he got a girl in the IRS targeting his political enemies, that's a manhunt, and I don't think he got anybody's permission so that's kidnapping the entire US government to be used however he wants, Hows that for high-jinx!! LOL

RickHunter
RickHunter

I just love the hypocrisy of the ReBLOODlican party right now... when a ReBLOODlican does it, it's ok, when a DemoCRIP does it, it's evil.  Darth Cheney may have help start all these problems with his apprentice Bush, but it is in the hands of CONGRESS, AS A WHOLE, and not one political gang over another, that exacerbates the problem.


ALL 546 members of the Federal Gov't (535 for Congress, 9 for SCOTUS, 2 for Executive) need to be removed from office on charges of corruption, dereliction of duty, and treason against the CITIZENS of the United States of America.

drudown
drudown

Or, here's another plausible summary of the attendant circumstances: before exiting the Executive branch, the Bush Administration changed procedures to accommodate the (actual) "Decider's" preferences, not unlike how a person borrowing a car for four years might adjust the settings. 

Here, President Obama has done an even better job fighting Al Qaeda, fighting the deficit and enforcing immigration laws. The "conservative" and/or GOP critics are relegated to "criticizing" President Obama for being like them? Wishful thinking. 

The GOP "used to be" the "tougher" party. Now?

Bottom feeding.

"When grapes turn to wine, they long for our ability to change." - Rumi

NitaSabouri
NitaSabouri

You know when you were a kid and you thought being President would be awesome. Like, cookies for everyone or something? Now if Obama tries to give cookies to everyone, he's somehow going to be criticized. 'Murica

HardyCampbell
HardyCampbell

Gotta love the irony. Now all of a sudden Cheney and Bush are bad dudes even to the Frankenstein party that created them.

DavidFarrar
DavidFarrar

Don't walk. Run to your computer and join the nearest Tea Party you can find. Tell all your friends and relatives to also join. It's the only way we, the grass-rooters of both parties, can be heard. If you can't find one, go to an NING sight and create your own online Tea Party. Do it as if this country's future depends on it, as it just might.


ex animo

davidfarrar

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

Perhaps when comparing Cheney to Obama, people should educate themselves about the man that the GOP circled ranks around in the past, and who still snipes at this adminstartion's policies from the shadows:

http://www.cheneywatch.org/

yoehming
yoehming

Please do'nt fight with each other, the Republic and democrat Party. You are not thinking of what is good for the country by working the problems together .  Instead of  you use your energy on fighting with each other.

coloradobob1976
coloradobob1976

The fact that the President isn't Cheney does not make hime more of an honerable and trustworthy person that I'd even let walk my dog, either. People need to take off their party blinders and realize how harmful this all is to THE AMERICAN CITIZEN'S (remember them?) attitude towards our government, and willingness to put up with this stuff. If they aren't too distracted up watching who's winning the singing contest on TV tonight, that is...


NicoleGabrielaEngel
NicoleGabrielaEngel

This is going to far. I not for either party, I believe in the Constitution. It will only protect us as long as we protect and uphold it. Enough is enough. This President knows know bounds. It is time to get him and Joe out.

DREGstudios
DREGstudios

Isn’t old crow Cheney one of the most vile and despicable excuses for a human being ever to set foot in the White House?  He’s a vulture and a war-profiteer whose effigy should be lit afire in the streets every day he still walks around a free man.  See some art and words defining his role in architecting a Society of Fear at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2010/04/inside-job.html

sacredh
sacredh

It's about time the IRS finally stepped in and looked at the financial thuggery of those anti-American zealots. They're a greater danger to our country than any foreign terrorists. I can only pray that the justice department does it's job and protects us Americans that actually love our country.

GaryJackson
GaryJackson

You treasonous democrats tickle me. Still trying to blame Bush and Cheney. Sorry idiots, Big Government and executive power stared with FDR and LBJ. 

Nixon did the same thing Obama has done with the IRS and was about to be impeached. Obama's IRS is even more evil than Nixon's This deal is getting bihggger and bigger. Obama will be impeached, removed from office, and likely fitted for an orange jump suit before it's over. 

Hillary is finished as well, she is just as evil. 


merriweathertoadwater
merriweathertoadwater

After 8 years of Cheney we get 4 years of Wall Street.  My kingdom for a grey knight.

atinkersdamn
atinkersdamn

I would like to know from the editorial staff why my comment was removed from this discussion?

If I did not abide by some rule I would like to know what that might be so as to censor myself in future.

Thank you. 

BeBeBooyah
BeBeBooyah

@RickHunter No it is NOT ok. It was not ok then. It is really not ok now. I wanted all this to stop and I thought Obama would. We have over 900 military bases and troops in over 130 countries right now. 60 drone bases that we know of and the man that occupies the WH has a kill list in one hand and a peace prize in the other! NO it is NOT ok.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@DavidFarrar You mean the astro turf organizations financed and created by the Koch brothers to push for elimination of workers rights and EPA standards. I mean really who needs to get a fair wage, clean air, or the ability to come home from work in one piece.

drudown
drudown

@DavidFarrar 

Your Tea Party is a ruse to allow Big Business to run roughshod over the People and our best interests. Spare us the party-line about "caring about America" after your base "outsourcing" our entire manufacturing industry abroad and "reformed" Bankruptcy so returning veterans can't file for debt relief. Some "grassroots" campaigns...

jmac
jmac

@DavidFarrar @DavidFarrar When Fox News first started pushing the Tea Party (orchestrating the outrages) it insisted that it was a grass roots organization of Independents, Democrats and Republicans.  Just ordinary folks worried about the debt and heath care.  

NOW it's a right-wing organization that was targeted by the IRS.   Did you miss the memo, DAvid?  It's right-wing.   Otherwise, there's no "scandal".  

coloradobob1976
coloradobob1976

@mantisdragon91 Again, comparing that/them/those things they did is helping how? I'm still upset a things President Nixon did, as well as Bush I and II, Clinton... move on, realize how this is wrong right now and should be fixed REGARDLESS of which side of the fence you're on. 

coloradobob1976
coloradobob1976

@yoehming That should be put on billboards across America. Maybe with a little better punctuation, but thanks!

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@NicoleGabrielaEngel Yes you belong to neither party but believe in the Constitution. So where were you from 2001-2008 when they were wiping their but with it?

sacredh
sacredh

Leave D!ck alone. He grows on you.

HardyCampbell
HardyCampbell

@sacredh Oh yes, I understand Republicanese. I'll translate what they mean when they say "Americans that actually love our country" equals "Capitalist warmongers who suck their countrymen's life blood dry and then throw their hollowed out husks into the garbage."

drudown
drudown

@GaryJackson 

Sure, that's the problem? Where was the (enter JAWS music) the "nanny state" to "come to the rescue" after the botched GOP agenda to "deregulate" CA's energy markets resulted in (1) rolling blackouts for consumers and (2) near Bankruptcy for CA?

Where was Adam Smith to come save us? Save your K st. religion.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@GaryJackson Treasonous democrats tickle you? Then perhaps you need to stay out of the massage parlors and bath houses. But as long as you are here please remind me who pushed to expand presidential powers to encompass wire taps, torture, signing statements and expanded war powers? I'll give you a hint he worked on Nixon's staff.

sacredh
sacredh

If you typed Cheney's first name, that will get a comment censored.

drudown
drudown

@coloradobob1976 @mantisdragon91 

"Move on," you say? Let's start by figuring out how the GOP policies (see, e.g., Iraq war over phony WMD threat) is going to "pay for itself" if we (as you propose) just "move on" and pretend voting in the next crop of GOP Congress will be different?


sacredh
sacredh

I don't belong to either party either. I just want things my way. Does that make me a bad person?

sacredh
sacredh

Forgive me Lord. I've resorted to d!ck jokes.

GaryJackson
GaryJackson

@drudown Sorry idiot democrat, but the People's Republik of Kalifornia has been run by hard core liberals for decades, it's why the state is on the verge of collapse. Ronald Reagan was the last Governor of California that had a lick of common sense.  It never ceases to amaze me how criminally ignorant democrat zombies are!

Kalifornia is the most over regulated, over taxed state in the union.That's why thousands leave the state every week moving to states where human beings are allowed to be free and where businesses can thrive. 

 Liberalism is not compatible with civilized society. It's a cancer on all of humanity. 

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@sacredh And if you say it three times, he will arrive to claim your soul or at least your organs.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@coloradobob1976 @drudown @mantisdragon91 Than you have to challenge the rules at the source. Prosecute and convict the architects of this massive grab, so that every administration moving forward including this one, will know that this sort of thing is no longer acceptable.

coloradobob1976
coloradobob1976

@drudown @coloradobob1976 @mantisdragon91 Yes, MOVE ON. It was wrong then, its wrong now. It's like trying to get a kid to clean their room; more effort to get out of it than taking care of the problem. Try to stop pointing fingers and fix it. Just because someone else did something 6 years ago does not make what you do now right.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@manlyman And you are the one that has yet to bring anything of substance in any of your posts. Why?

manlyman
manlyman

You're one of those who just loves to hear his own voice huh manindrag? Get a hobby dude. We've heard ALL the talking points repeatedly, no need for your continued droning...

hdroadkingpd
hdroadkingpd

@mantisdragon91 @hdroadkingpd @NicoleGabrielaEngel What got us into Iraq? LOL You're delusional. How many UN Resolutions against the  Iraqi regime were there? Did not Hussein admit to WMD's? Yes he did, he stated he was dismantling them but wouldn't allow inspectors in. How many countries had the SAME intel? You're a fool that has a hold on fictitious history, and now that your Obama is going down hard, you'll keep reaching. All you have to do is provide facts to liberals - you're all of the same pathetic mold! 

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@GaryJackson @drudown Seeing as Senile Ronnie is such and idol for you remind us again about why he was illegally selling weapons to Iran to finance Right Wing death squads killing nuns in Nicaragua?

sacredh
sacredh

Maybe just THE organ.