Congressional condemnation of Cheney/Kristol?

Since the Democratic-led Congress condemned MoveOn for its ad, shouldn't it do the same here?

Published March 8, 2010 6:09PM (EST)

(updated below)

One of the most inane acts undertaken by the Democratic Congress was its formal and highly bipartisan condemnation of's "Petraeus/Betrayus" ad.  Regardless of one's views of that ad, formally opining on the views of private citizens is not the role of Congress.  But since they did that, and apparently believe that repugnant political campaigns merit Congressional disapproval, shouldn't there be some form of formal sanction for the far more pernicious and genuinely McCarthyite attacks on DOJ lawyers from Liz Cheney and Bill Kristol's "Keep America Safe"?  So reprehensible was that campaign that numerous right-wing lawyers have vehemenetly condemned it -- including Ken Starr, David Rivkin, Ted Olsen, and even (ironically) former Bush official Cully Stimson -- with most of them signing a letter decrying it as "a shameful series of attacks" that are "destructive of any attempt to build lasting mechanisms for counterterrorism adjudications."

There is a real opportunity here to cause that rarest of political events:  namely, having someone's credibility and standing be diminished by virtue of repugnant acts.  Liz Cheney, Bill Kristol and Andy McCarthy (with whom it originated) have so transparently crossed every line with this ugly smear campaign that they are being condemned across the political spectrum.  Only the hardest-core ideological dead-enders are defending them.  It would therefore not only be politically plausible, but valuable, for the Congress to officially condemn these McCarthyite attacks on Justice Department lawyers.  If the Democratic Congress was willing (indeed eager) to do so against the nation's leading progressive group, why wouldn't it do the same in response to a far more repugnant and potentially destructive campaign launched by a Far Right group?  In 1954, the U.S. Senate condemned the original Joe McCarthy, so why not his progeny?  I think it'd be worthwhile to find a sponsor for a Resolution that achieves this -- I think I'll work on that and hope others will, too -- and then urge its passage.

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A few brief notes on some recent items:  (1) Wolf Blitzer apologized for CNN's use of the logo "Department of Jihad?" when reporting on the Cheney/Kristol smear campaign, though the real sin was the neutral, respectful coverage he gave to the so-called "debate" over their "loyalty" (as well as other logos CNN used, such as "Al Qaeda 7" and "HAPPENING NOW:  Justice Dept. lawyer disloyal"?; (2) as I noted over the weekend, TNR's Editor-in-Chief Marty Peretz wrote one of the most nakedly bigoted statements one can imagine; thereafter, his post was changed and that offending sentence deleted, replaced with one more innocuous, with no indication whatsoever that it had been changed and no apology or even explanation from TNR -- very impressive journalistic standards; (3) many people believe that it's difficult to choose the Absolute Worst Washington Journalist, but it actually isn't; and (4) the ACLU has a very hard-hitting, full-page ad on Obama and civilian trials.


UPDATE: For those asking why I would favor such a Resolution if I oppose condemnation resolutions generally, my answer is here.

By Glenn Greenwald

Follow Glenn Greenwald on Twitter: @ggreenwald.

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