Fresh from the stunning success of Freedom’s Watch, former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer appeared on Hardball last night to promote the achievements of George W. Bush. It was almost like having Ari back in the press room when he floated this whopper in defending the Iraq war:
After September 11th having been hit once how could we take a chance that Saddam might strike again?
Old habits are hard to break, I guess. According to Fleischer, the massive success of George W. Bush’s presidency is really the story of three successes:
1. Fifty-five months of continuous job growth (before the economy tanked in the worst crisis since the Great Depression.)
2. He bequeathed to President Obama a Middle East without Saddam Hussein (but with an Iraq held together by the presence of American troops, with an empowered and unchecked Iran and full of newly radicalized, trained, and networked terrorists.)
3. George Bush kept America safe (after the worst terrorist attack in the country’s history.)
As to the first point, you should be reading my colleague Pat Garofalo. As to the second, this is like arguing that, even though I accidentally burned your house down, you should thank me because I’ve solved your termite problem for you. As to the third, watch Fleischer’s ridiculous indignation when Chris Matthews points out the obvious:
MATTHEWS: We were attacked on your watch. If you start getting into who was attacked when, we suffered the worst domestic calamity in history on your watch. If you guys start getting into ‘whose watch was good,’ you guys blew it. I don’t know if you can do it that way.
FLEISCHER: Chris, how dare you.
MATTHEWS: That’s like saying —
FLEISCHER: Chris, if we get attacked again, are you going to say that we got attacked on Barack Obama’s watch? We got attacked by terrorists! That’s who’s to blame for it, Chris. I think what you just did is shameful.
So Bush deserves no blame for the attack that occurred in the first year of his presidency, but he deserves full credit for the fact that no more attacks occurred for the rest of his presidency. I find this argument to be an insult to snake oil. And does anybody doubt that, whether or not Matthews would blame Obama for another terrorist attack, Fleischer, along with an entire Volkswagen full of conservative clowns, would? Is that even a serious question?