Apology for the slow blogging. A lot on my plate and a lot on my mind.
On Saturday, I asked, “Who Watches CNN?“, observing that I would be as familiar with the network as I am with the golf channel (I don’t play golf) if they didn’t blare it regularly on the TV monitors at my gym. Well, today, I looked up to catch Wolf Blitzer’s “Situation Room” and gained further evidence why, to paraphrase Stacey McCain, If it weren’t for the fact that it plays 24/7 in public places, no one would watch CNN.
Well, they were taking about how getting bin Laden would impact the 2012 presidential race, with the subtext that it would help Obama. Then, Paul Begala came on and immediately engaged in dishonest (or ill-informed) Bush-bashing, telling us that the immediate past president had basically stopped looking for bin Laden. (When the transcript comes up, I’ll get his exact expression.) Had I been on the program with the Democratic partisan, I would have simply asked the former Clinton aide if he had read any of the stories, including those in the New York Times, the Washington Post and on the AP about how they got bin Laden. Or if he had listened to his former Clinton administration colleague Leon Panetta talk about the operation.
Each of those left-leaning news sources as well as that leading Democrat informed us how key intelligence gathered in the Bush era was to locating the Al-Qaeda leader.
To say that that then-President George W. Bush stopped looking for Osama is at odds not just with the facts, but with what has been reported, even by officials in the incumbent Democratic administration. Begala was offering a talking point rooted not in the facts, but in his own imagination and in his animus against George W. Bush.
His commentary was so absurd and his animus so evident that my first response was just to laugh, a rich deep laugh. And I’m sure I was not the only one.
NB: Fixed a couple of typos as per Throbert’s comment #4 below. Thanks, Throbert!
UPDATE: Here are Begala’s remarks as per the CNN transcript:
OK. Now, he [OBAMA] is like — he is a tenured (ph) professor (INAUDIBLE) because he went over there and killed Osama Bin Laden as George W. Bush did not, and he did not continue the Bush policy on this. The Bush policy was to walk away from Bin Laden.
Sorry, Paul, the Bush policy was not to walk away from Bin Laden. Just because we set out to liberate Iraq doesn’t mean we no longer paid attention to Afghanistan. As the record clearly shows, during the time period Begala claims we were walking away from bin Laden, the CIA was busy tracking down leads as to where the then-terror leader might be hiding.