Charles Murray thinks that the White House is extremely prone to it:
The graph is based exclusively on non-Latino whites (because that’s who the book is about). If you want to see a visual representation of the development of the bubble that Barack Obama has been living in since he left Hawaii, that graph is it. Judging from the GSS data, every white socioeconomic class in America has become more conservative in the last four decades, with the Traditional Middles moving the most decisively rightward. But the Intellectual Uppers have not just moved slightly in the other direction, they have careened in the other direction.
They won the election with a candidate who sounded centrist running against an exceptionally weak Republican opponent. But they’ve been in the bubble too long. They really think that the rest of America thinks as they do. Nothing but the Pauline Kael syndrome can explain the political idiocy of letting Attorney General Eric Holder go after the interrogators.
On a related note, polls like the one he’s describing make me crazy. When someone asks how liberal or conservative I am, the answer is no. None of the above. I wouldn’t know how to characterize myself on that simplistic one-dimensional axis. But I don’t know how typical I am in that regard. Apparently they get a lot of people to provide an answer. And it’s not a good answer for the Democrats.
You know, this reminds me a lot of Iran-Contra. For those unfamiliar, that was the affair in which the Reagan administration was doing deals with the Iranians, giving them arms in exchange for hostages and providing financial support to the anti-Sandinista rebels in Nicaragua. Sensible people were upset over the trading arms for hostages, but the loony Dems were outraged that we were helping defeat communism in Central America, and fantasized that the American people shared their love of Danny Ortega. It blew up in their collective face in the Congressional hearings with Ollie North.
The same thing seems to be happening here. The radical left insists on prosecuting people who got valuable intelligence that probably saved American lives, destroying morale at the CIA, and probably putting us at greater risk. And they imagine that the American people share their outrage over “torture” of terrorists, and hope that they will finally get their great white whale, Dick Cheney. But the notion that waterboarding Khalid Sheik Mohammed outrages Americans is nutty. If they persist in this nonsense, the political blowback may make Iran-Contra look like a Sunday picnic. The Republican ads will almost write themselves next fall.
[Late afternoon update]
Charles Murray has a clarification of his post.
[Early evening update]
Andy McCarthy says that no one should be surprised the Holder has politicized the Justice Department:
Lots of indignation out there about Attorney General Holder’s appointment of a prosecutor to go after the CIA. Disgruntled folks include many who voted to confirm him despite the politicized Rich pardon and the politicized FALN pardons and the politicized recommendation against an independent counsel for Gore’s indefensible campaign-finance violation, etc. Lots of quiet, meanwhile, from the Republican cheering section that helped steer the attorney-general to confirmation. Put me in mind of something I wrote weeks before that happened…
Read the whole thing.
[Another update a few minutes later]
Victoria Toensing explains why it’s such awful policy:
“All volunteers step forward. We have a person in custody who is high-ranking al-Qaeda. He taunts that an attack on United States soil is imminent but laughs mockingly when we ask for specifics. We need interrogators.” Such was the threat in the summer of 2002 when the CIA asked the Justice Department for guidance on what its personnel could do to get such information from captured al-Qaeda lieutenant Abu Zubaydah.
Since then, the lawyers who stepped forward to provide carefully structured counsel have been criminally investigated and told that, even if they are not prosecuted, their conduct will be turned over to their state bars. The interrogators who stepped forward were promised in early spring by President Obama that, even if they erred in judgment while protecting our country, the president would rather “move forward.” However, in late summer, they are under criminal scrutiny.
Even though an earlier investigation by career prosecutors reviewed the same conduct and refused prosecution of all but one contract employee who was brought to trial in 2007. Even though congressional leaders had knowledge of the interrogation techniques and made no attempt to stop them. Even though the conduct is more than six years old. Even though the CIA has taken administrative action against some of the personnel involved in the interrogations. Even though being just a target of a criminal investigation costs thousands of dollars in legal fees. Even though being just a target of a criminal investigation takes a horrendous mental toll. Even though the morale of the CIA will plunge to the depths it did in the wake of the Church Committee attacks. Even though the release of the names of those being scrutinized will make them terrorist targets for the rest of their lives. Even if they are cleared.
The next time our government employees are asked to step forward to get information of a possible, even probable, imminent attack, no one will. Even though…
No good will come of this.