Politico's Cummings Whines Cheney's 'Made It Much Harder to Close Guantanamo'

The Politico's Jeanne Cummings, a veteran of the Wall Street Journal, fretted on this weekend's Inside Washington that former Vice President Dick Cheney has “changed this debate in a way that has made it much, much harder to close Guantanamo, which the President is already committed to doing.” So he's done an awful thing in daring to oppose something President Obama is “committed to doing.” Dreadful!

In fact, she soon charged that in complicating Obama's intention to close Guantanamo -- which Obama had announced without any plan for where to place the detainees -- “Cheney really did damage to the effort to keep our country secure by turning this into a political issue. We were going to have to deal with this and to make it a political issue is not helpful. It's just not.”

To which a befuddled columnist Charles Krauthammer retorted by pointing out the overwhelming bi-partisan vote to block the closing: “Cheney is the one who turned it into a political issue? I thought it was a 90-6 vote in the Senate. Just about every Democrat in the Senate-” Cummings jumped in to blame Cheney for turning virtually every Senate Democrat against Obama: “No, Cheney started making political arguments a week ago. That is when you did start to see the tide turn up on Capitol Hill. It was after Cheney started to talk about 'I don't want to be the Member who says I brought a terrorist to a jail in my district.'”

Inside Washington is a weekly show produced and aired over the weekend by Washington, DC's ABC affiliate, but first broadcast Friday night on the local PBS station.

From the edition first aired on Friday night, May 22, on WETA-TV:
JEANNE CUMMINGS: I think that the country actually suffered a setback this week. This debate was supposed to be about edifying the reasons why the Bush White House had its policies and Obama has their own policy, but if the presumption is Guantanamo was going to be closed either Bush, McCain, or Obama, it just got much more difficult this week because the Vice President made it political. He went on shows saying basically “I don't want to be the member of the House who sees terrorists brought to a jail in my district.” And that changed this debate in a way that has made it much, much harder to close Guantanamo, which the President is already committed to doing.

....

CUMMINGS: Cheney really did damage to the effort to keep our country secure by turning this into a political issue. We were going to have to deal with this and to make it a political issue is not helpful. It's just not.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Cheney is the one who turned it into a political issue? I thought it was a 90-6 vote in the Senate. Just about every Democrat in the Senate-

CUMMINGS: No, Cheney started making political arguments a week ago. That is when you did start to see the tide turn up on Capitol Hill. It was after Cheney started to talk about “I don't want to be the member who says I brought a terrorist to a jail in my district.”

KRAUTHAMMER: Oh, so Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, says he that will not allow any terrorist out of Gitmo onto American streets or even in American jails -- it's because he had heard it from Cheney and was hypnotized into believing it?

CUMMINGS: Not hypnotized. Cheney hit a nerve. There's no doubt about it, it's a good political argument. It's a strong one.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center