Stephen Hayes: We Democrats are Just Too Stupid to Understand Al Qaeda is Why We Have to Occupy Iraq (and Why Does Russ Feingold Bother with Tim Russe

Tim Russert interviewed Senator Feingold on Meet the Press today. Senator Feingold was excellent as usual. After this interview, he brought on Bob Woodward (sometimes a Bush water carrier) balanced but notable liberals Stephen Hayes and David Brooks (OK, the latter two are full time Bush water carriers). Where to begin – oh wait, I gave it away as I want to go straight to what irked Steve Benen (Hayes babbling):

I think one of the things we saw this week, and this, this speaks directly to what the vice president told me, is with this – the release of this NIE we saw a shift in thinking. I think for a long time administration critics had begun to make the argument that really this al-Qaeda threat is overblown, that they misled us into the war in Iraq, they’re misleading us about the seriousness of the threat from al-Qaeda. And I think what the NIE does, even though in some ways it’s, it’s very critical of the administration, is it strengthens the basic case that the administration has been making that al-Qaeda remains a serious threat.”

This threw Steve off but he recovered:

I have no idea what Hayes is talking about. Or, more precisely, Hayes has no idea what he’s talking about. Where are these mysterious White House “critics” who’ve been arguing that the al Qaeda threat is “overblown”? Seriously, name some prominent Bush detractors who have argued this, in Hayes’ words, “for a long time.” I’m relatively clued into Democratic talking points and I can’t recall any Democrat or left-leaning political figure ever making this argument in any forum, in any context. Hayes appears to have simply made it up in the hopes of making the NIE appear more favorable for his White House allies. Which segues to the other problem: the NIE doesn’t strengthen the Bush’s gang’s “basic case” at all. The White House has said, repeatedly, that thanks to the president’s leadership, we’ve destroyed al Qaeda’s leadership and have the terrorist network on the run. The NIE, in stark contrast, shows the opposite and vindicates what White House critics have been arguing for years. While the president’s policies have been failing in Iraq, al Qaeda is rebuilding, recruiting, and refilling its coffers – in large part because of the president’s failed policies in Iraq. And yet there was Hayes, on national television, making an argument that was clearly false, predicated on straw men and imaginary progress. The mind reels.

But me thinks Mr. Hayes was trying to say we Democrats never got the point that we had to toss Saddam Hussein in order to stop Osama bin Laden. What? What? Reality says that invading Iraq on 3/19/2003 actually was a major boost to Al Qaeda? Of course, Hayes realized he could get away with this dishonesty after listening to Woodward being just stupid, nothing, or whatever followed by the following from David Brooks:

I would still think he thinks the fundamentals are, are true, that in the long run he’ll be proved right, and that’s kind of remarkable. I think a lot of us who supported the war, the failures of the war have set off a whole cascade of philosophical thinking. “Maybe in the Arab world they’re not culturally ready for democracy. Maybe we don’t have the power to do it, we just don’t have the competency as a government.” It’s created a whole set of serious debates. It doesn’t seem to have created that in the president’s mind.

Hmm – the reason we invaded Iraq was to establish a democracy at the point of a gun? All that 2002 talk about WMDs and Saddam working with Osama bin Laden was something that I just dreamed? What a load of horseshit? With all due respect to Senator Feingold – how in hell do you lower yourself to appear on a show run by Tim Russert?

And the mystery remains why NBC still considers its Sunday mornings owned by Faux News. Fire Tim Russert, fire him now!