Hardball | February 11, 2013
>>> cheney is at it again telling wyoming republicans that president obama 's national security points don't lie up to the high standards set by the stellar legacy of the bush issue cheney years. in the cheney 's words, quote, the performance now of barack obama as he staffs up the national security team for the second term is dismal. frankly, what he has appointed are second rate people. agree or disagree with his politics, john kerry is not a second rate choice for secretary of state. he came close to being the president of the united states . senator kerry as well as senator chuck hagel , both served honorably in vietnam and in combat while dick cheney made sure that he got five different deferments to avoid fighting a war, vietnam, that he loved supporting. so let's take a look at the cheney legacy and see how it stacks up to the president's so-called second rate team. we've got an expert, howard fineman is editorial director of the " huffington post " and joan walsh is editor-at-large of salon. both are msnbc political analysts. dick cheney says the president's national security rate team is second rate. that's rich coming from the man who did more than anyone to sell the u.s. on a completely unnecessary war. take a look.
>> we know with absolute certainty he is enriching ewe rain yaum.
>> we believe he has reconstituted nuclear weapons . i agree we will be greeted as liberators. we learn there was a relationship between iraq and al qaeda that stretched back through most of the decade of the '90s, that it involved training, for example, on bw and cw that al qaeda sent personnel to bagd to get trained on the systems. it provided the iraqis providing bomb making expertise to the al qaeda organization.
>> where do you learn to be that evil? he sat there and brilliantly spon sired. he had judy miller writing the stories for the week. meet the press, does the alley-oop play. acts so avuncular, so sure of himself in his presentation a lot of middle of the road people bought it.
>> just watching that again, chris , was both infuriating and upsetting. we lived through that time. we were lied to, flat out lied to in that way, and for him to say that the president is appointing second raters, that was first rate bilge.
>> good choice of words.
>> i can't say more. if that's what first rate is, i'll take the second rate.
>> you know, joan , his avuncular fashion, that we now know, that bonding he did with the viewer, i know the trick. it's almost criminal. we, we now know, we now know, talking to whoever he is talking at the anchor desk, establishing a bond among those reasonable people, all the time pushing this bilge. all the time pushing stuff he had conspired with his chief of staff and whatever his press wing was at the time to feed into the norge"the new york times" feed in the national news so people would say he can't be lying all the time and coming up with great phrases like weapons of mass destruction and intermingling those with chemical or biological or throwing in they have some balsam wood airplane that will fly over here with a nuclear bomb and drop it in washington. anything that would get that war started they were willing to say, including sending out general powell with his mission at the u.n.
>> it's such an ugly legacy, chris , but, you know, we have been talking about this for four years, five years now --
>> why does he still have an audience in this country on the right?
>> i know.
>> i want to look on the bright side here. it used to be his every utterance was national news and he literally faxed a press release to politico and they printed it a couple years ago trashing the president.
>> i remember that. how he used to feed politico.
>> he's done that over and over . there he is. just with his home state republican party where he kind of belongs, and i also want to point out that his two home state republican senators voted for john kerry . so they don't agree with him that he's a second-rate person. he really doesn't have the kind of power that he had before. he's been fully discredited, and yet, yes, we are still going to talk about it when he says things like this because it's so ridiculous to be trashing this president all these years later when he's had a stellar record on foreign policy .
>> but you know these babbitts that sit in the audience for people like him. these burgers. you can see them from the rotary club , very polite. i can hear the audience, excellent point, well put vice president. this second rate -- they all agree, they wouldn't have approved these people. wyoming doesn't deserve this guy. it's a beautiful state.
>> i think that maybe dick cheney has a case of drone envy here.
>> well, i mean --
>> go on, sir.
>> okay. he's the guy who is used to being attacked by the aclu.
>> i see.
>> you see what i'm saying? actually president obama has got some weapons that dick cheney wouldn't mind having had, and the president --
>> this is getting way too -- pull back.
>> and a the president has been unafraid to use them.
>> serious point --
>> i get --
>> the republicans spent a generation unhorsing democrats because democrats were, quote, weak on defense.
>> they weren't willing to pull the trigger.
>> they weren't willing to pull the trigger. barack obama to the dismay of thea clu has been perfectly willing to pull the trigger and he's done it pretty effectively in terms of decimating al qaeda , which was supposedly the original intent of what dick cheney was up to when we invaded iraq .
>> the questions still linger about what role dick cheney played in outing valerie plame as the cia officer. patrick fitzgerald , the federal prosecutor said there is a cloud over him. that's what he said back then. and here is why according to "time" magazine, quote, though his rek election of other events in the same time frame was lucid and detailed, on at least 20 occasions scooter libby , cheney 's chief of staff, could not recall details of his talks with cheney of plame's place of employment or questions the vice president raised privately about wilson's credibility. some bush officials wondered whether libby was covering up for cheney involvement in the leak of plame's identity. joan , i have to tell you, i respect scooter libby in one regard, loyalty at this. he has kept, and it is a strange loyalty, he has never brought cheney into this thing. chinny has been able to use crocodile tears to prevent he tard about the guy. he referred to him as a soldier left on the field-excuse me, there were 4,000 real soldiers left on the field.
>> somehow he comes off as the sympathetic guy when in fact this guy wasn't out robbing gas stations . he was doing what the vice president told him to be doing, which was leaking stories to discredit valerie wilson .
>> i agree. we were never to fully make that connection but that connection has seemed implicit. when your chief of staff is sentenced to 30 months in prison for his role, you do go down in history --
>> and lie being it.
>> you do go down in history with a cloud over your reputation, but it's a cloud that is accompanied by all the other things we have said here, and, you know, i think howard is right. and i think he also did the president a favor because those of us who have been upset about the drone policies, we can't go around calling barack obama cheney -light because now we are really reminded of the source of evil from the white house from that administration. so --
>> you know, we can't compare anybody to dick cheney . by the way, na snarl that he has when he talk was that evil manner of his and it's this sort of avuncular when he snarls, that thing, it's hardly elvis presley snarling either. it's a whole new kind of snarling. when he does that, i got to say, this is just -- thank god a patrol occasionally looks like a patrol and you can -- look at that way he walks. that proud --
>> you know, i get uncomfortable with that language sometimes, chris , maybe because i'm not strong enough to deal with it, but i think what's missing here is that dick cheney is the former vice president, is the guy who propounded his theory of the world, and his republican allies on the hill are not having a serious discussion about foreign policy in defense during these nomination hearings. whether it's hagel or brennan or whatever. they're just taking cheap shots all over the place and they're not having a serious discussion.
>> what --
>> in other words, if dick cheney wants to get in the ball game and have a really serious --
>> you raise this, i have to answer your question. what is the burr in lindsey graham 's saddle?
>> well --
>> why is he putting a hold on hagel ?
>> he's not going to put a hold on hagel . that's just -- he's just grabbing his ankles on the way out the door. hagel is going to be confirmed. it's a done deal. john mccain has blessed it. john mccain said he gave the committee enough -- said hagel gave the committee enough information i'm not going to hold him up on benghazi. i think lindsey graham is there to be the last annoying guy to make sure that hagel keeps whatever promises he made behind the scenes --
>> howard , does this --
>> to carl levin and --
>> the cisco kid may have handed 9 okay but poncho is still fighting the war. thank you, howard and joan .
>>> michele bachmann and the latest conspiracy theory from the far right. we bring it to you for sheer entertainment. this is "hardball," the place for