Thursday, May 21, 2009

Obama and Cheney in the ring?

Posted By on Thu, May 21, 2009 at 1:10 PM

DING!

I am supposed to advise you that there is electricity in the Washington swamp air, a ringing tension, a sharp static, a fibrous charge that will explode at any moment. I should compare this moment to Manila, circa 1975, when Muhammed Ali was cavorting about with a rubber gorilla, taunting Joe Frazier into furious focus before the big fight.

Except this time the misbehaving heavyweight champion of the world is played by former Vice President Dick Cheney, an old man with a persistent ticker and a commitment to steamrolling history's judgment like so many pinhead public servants in the broken bureaucracy. His rhetorical weapons are overstatements (we only went harsh on terrorists with techniques we used on our own soldiers; we only used harsh methods when all else failed; we always followed lawyers' instructions; the abuse was carefully controlled) and misdirection (never mind the rest, it worked). His toy gorilla is fear of the unknown, the attacks that never happened and are sure to come.

Such is the set up that is expected of me, a Washington correspondent, at a moment like this. For there is a showdown scheduled tomorrow--Obama and Cheney both giving separate speeches on national security.

Read more from TIME Magazine's Swampland blog.

The Nation pokes Cheney:

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