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Friday, May 22, 2009

The Great Obama-Cheney Face-Off

The made-for-cable-TV Obama-Cheney duel did encapsulate an important debate that the country has intermittently waged since that horrific days when two airliners slammed into the World Trade Tower, one hit the Pentagon, and one crashed into a Pennsylvania field. The AEI audience—which cheered when Cheney said American safety should never be compromised—was in a different world than the one that applauded Obama at the National Archives. It's a stark divide. In years past, the security-first absolutists have usually held the upper hand politically. But thanks to Bush and Cheney, that shifted in the last election. But those election results will not end this debate. Cheney, for one, showed no signs he will dismount. His charge will continue—and political strategists can argue whether that helps or hurts his party (as if he cares). As for the substance of the policy debate, the real world has a way of affecting how such debates play out over the long term. But Thursday's face-off demonstrated how far apart the two sides are. Clearly, Obama is from Venus, and Cheney is from Mars. Really from Mars.


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