Thoughts on the speech… and the other speech
I’ve been playing catch-up this evening by reading Obama’s speech on homeland security and then Cheney’s speech on homeland security in succession. Some quick thoughts: My hypocrisy detector went off with both speeches. For all of Obama’s eloquence, there’s simply no way to square his position on releasing torture photos with the other aspects of his ...
I've been playing catch-up this evening by reading Obama's speech on homeland security and then Cheney's speech on homeland security in succession. Some quick thoughts:
I’ve been playing catch-up this evening by reading Obama’s speech on homeland security and then Cheney’s speech on homeland security in succession. Some quick thoughts:
- My hypocrisy detector went off with both speeches. For all of Obama’s eloquence, there’s simply no way to square his position on releasing torture photos with the other aspects of his speech. Cheney, on the other hand, kept blasting Democratics for using "euphemisms" — and yet, when describing what happened to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Cheney fell back on "enhanced interrogations."
- I agree with Christian Brose that it’s odd to read these two speeches in light of Jack Goldsmith’s TNR essay comparing the Obama and Bush approaches. Well, actually, it was mostly odd to read Cheney’s speech. The guts of Obama’s critique of the prior administration’s approach to these issues was nearly identical to Goldsmith’s — a failure to construct a proper legal edifice, a failure to respect checks and balances, etc. Given that Jack is a rock-ribbed conservative, this is a point for Obama. I’m pretty sure, however, that Goldsmith agrees with Cheney on the negative effects of the NYT revealing the Terrorist Surveillance Program.
- I also agree with Joshua Keating that Obama’s speech by and large anticipated many of Cheney’s arguments. Obama’s rebuttal on the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the United States was particularly effective.
- Politically, Obama has inherited George W. Bush’s greatest political gift — having adversaries more boneheaded than himself. While Will Inboden, Philip Zelikow, and Peter Feaver all had some good responses to my lament last week about the state of the GOP on foreign policy and national security, Dick "18% approval rating" Cheney has now cemented his grip on being the party spokesman on this issue in the eyes of the media and the American public. That’s great for Obama and not so good for the GOP. Beyond the 18% who like Cheney, does anyone think that his speech will persuade others to change their minds?
What did you think?
Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner
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