Republicans’ attacks reveal own hypocrisy
When a group of Republican members of Congress started a slow-burn effort to smoke information out of the Department of Justice, they may not have expected that, when the pot finally boiled over, the only dish they served themselves was a helping of hypocrisy.
Senator Charles Grassley (R–Iowa) and a handful of other Republicans had been putting pressure on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder since last fall to release the names of nine appointees in the Department of Justice who, in their previous practice, had represented or advocated on behalf of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Such conflict of interest, the group stated, raised “serious questions about who is providing advice on detainee matters.” That month, the Justice Department released the names of two of the officials.
The real firestorm ignited earlier this month, when Keep America Safe — an organization partly run by Liz Cheney, daughter of the former Vice President — posted an online video ad ominously asking, “Who are these government officials...? Why the secrecy behind the other seven? Whose values do they share?”
The response was explosive. Accusations of McCarthyism and treason were flung back and forth faster than commentators could keep track of them. And when Grassley and Cheney got their answer a day later, all the puffed-up threats of terror sympathizers in the federal government collapsed faster than a deflating souffle. A review of documents and reports carried out by Fox News revealed that most of the dreaded “al-Qaeda Seven” had “only minor or short-lived roles” in representing detainees.
Furthermore, as the same Fox News article pointed out, “the Obama administration is not the first to hire lawyers who represented or advocated for terror suspects.” President George W. Bush had at least three of them during his term, during which time none of the current conservative pot-stirrers had anything negative to say about the matter.
This flip-flopping behavior is turning into a general GOP trend. Republicans have been showing a disturbing lack of respect for the established truth — even from their own archives. During the House debate on health care reform two weeks ago, Republicans decried the Democrats’ proposed use of a “deem and pass” procedure, one employed more than 35 times during the last Republican-controlled Congress. In 2006, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani touted the American justice system for bringing terror suspect Zacarias Moussaoui into civilian court and giving him a fair trial. “We are a nation of law,” he said then. Last year, however, Giuliani derided the proposal that 9/11 planner Khalid Shaikh Mohammed could be brought to trial in New York instead of to a military tribunal, saying that it would be “an overconcern with the rights of terrorists.”
As Cheney’s scare-mongering video and Grassley’s scandal-digging quest highlight, the Republicans are increasingly a party more interested in politics than progress, or even consistent policies.