Is waterboarding a few murdering AQ sociopaths morally comparable to the nasty things done by the Viet Cong, Khmer Rouge, or Saddam? Does it rank Bush beside the world's worst dictators? Are the Democrats willing to find out?
It would appear so--at least in the rank and file--as there seems to be no story strong enough to stop the talk. Obama has the shutoff valve but he would seemingly rather let it run it's course than ramp it up as his followers desire, as Maguire suggests. Why would he want the talk to continue after its usefulness is gone?
Maybe that explains why it's Cheney out on the talk show circuit keeping the story in the news right now. He knows where this could go. The Dems also know he knows what happened (harken back to this exchange) and they know he knows their rhetoric has been shallow, vacuous and crafted for political expediency. The further into the woods we go the higher the likelihood something more inconvenient might emerge.
At the same time Cheney is by himself on this. As long as this posture continues the press and popular culture will continue to gleefully paint him as an even less sympathetic figure than the men he 'tortured', ie, the 9/11 perpetrators, regardless of what transpires (such as a refusal by Obama to release the docs he asked for). Therefore two things seem likely--one, the Republican Party will continue to be associated with Cheney, Limbaugh and Hannity in the worst fashion, which is the general lefty goal here.
Or, if the right goes after Cheney or he goes back to the secret location, the left will have free rein to keep hammering the associations with the end goal of defining the Bush legacy not as one of success against terrorism, but as one of torture, torture, lies and corruption. What to do?
Well, there's one wild out of the box solution that might work, and it might save the Republican Party for 2010 to boot: have George Bush offer himself up as a martyr for prosecution in the United States court system on charges of allowing torture but only under one condition--that Obama pardons everyone from his administration under presidential level first. Remember, Holder has the prosecutorial discretion left to him by Obama on this matter.
Imagine the media circus. Would the Democrats relish an extended third world-like trial involving a former president who was by all accounts trying to connect dots to stop a possible WMD attack on an American city? And what might we find along the way as the press covered every uttered word as they did in the OJ and Clinton impeachment trials, keeping the focus off Obama and his policies of change for months and months?
But what if Justice declined the offer? Pelosi--already compromised on the issue--would look exceedingly hypocritical if she took a less than gung-ho posture on it, although the Obamapress would do their best to help everybody with the spin. Bush would have to be careful not to let the Dems get wind of such an impending move lest someone leak it to Obama so he could rush and issue a blanket pardon first or indictment first. But it might work.
Of course it'll never happen for a variety of reasons. But just imagine the gesture of leadership; of jeopardizing his own legacy and future to save the party and allow the country to move on from this mess. Who knows, it might even elevate the image of a tattered old party just in time for 2010.