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House Republicans have announced that constitutional expert and George Washington University Professor Jonathan Turley will be their star witness in upcoming hearings regarding Speaker John Boehner's proposed lawsuit against President Obama.

Turley's starring role may be an uncomfortable one. For starters, just two weeks ago he co-authored an op-ed with Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson laying a laundry list of ways President Obama had acted "unilaterally in the face of Congressional opposition." But Boehner's lawsuit focuses only on Obama's understandable decision to delay the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate, a move with ample historical precedent including President Bush's 2006 waiving of penalties for low-income and disabled seniors who missed the deadline for enrolling in his Medicare Part D drug program. More bizarre still for the critic of waterboarding and "enhanced interrogation techniques," Turley's fellow GOP witness will be Professor Elizabeth Price Foley, who has partnered with Bush torture defender David Rivkin to plot Boehner's legal strategy against Obama. And perhaps most disturbing, Professor Turley will have to explain how he could compare President Obama's "so sue me" response to cynical House Republicans to President Bush's dangerously irresponsible "bring 'em on" invitation to insurgents in Iraq.

Writing in the Daily News last week, Turley made precisely that analogy when he warned that "whether it is 'sue me' or 'bring it on,' presidential taunts tend to play better politically than practically." Responding to a threatened GOP lawsuit over supposed violations Speaker Boehner could not yet identify:

The President threw down the gauntlet at Congress: "So sue me."

The moment was reminiscent of George W. Bush's taunting Iraqi insurgents over 10 years ago by saying, "Bring 'em on."

It was irresponsible bravado from a man who was not himself at the receiving end of IEDs and constant attacks that would go on to cost us thousands of military personnel.

Please read below the fold for more on this story.

Irresponsible bravado? Consider that 4,000 U.S. troops were killed and 30,000 were wounded after Commander-in-Chief Bush issued this July 2003 challenge to the insurgents rapidly turning Iraq into a bloodbath for American troops and civilians alike:

"There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring them on."
The attackers took Bush at his word. As a grieving Mary Kewatt told Minnesota Public Radio in July 2003:
"We have some issues with the fact that President Bush declared combat over on May 1. Combat is not over. We don't even know who's firing at us right now, and all of our soldiers are at great risk of being picked off as Jim was. And that's a shame. And then President Bush made a comment a week ago, and he said, 'bring it on.' They brought it on and now my nephew is dead."
Even George W. Bush realized he had made a mistake. Just not that the time. After all, during an April 2004 press conference President Bush could not name a single mistake he had made. "I'm sure something will pop into my head here," Bush explained, "Maybe I'm not as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one." But by May 2006, Dubya finally came up with one:
"Kind of tough talk, you know, that sent the wrong signal to people," Bush said. "I learned some lessons about expressing myself, maybe in a more sophisticated manner. . . I think in certain parts of the world it was misinterpreted."
And in January 2007, just days after he announced the surge in Iraq, Bush admitted to Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes that he had made mistakes, if only semantic ones:
PELLEY: You mention mistakes having been made in your speech. What mistakes are you talking about?

BUSH: You know, we've been through this before. Abu Ghraib was a mistake. Using bad language like, you know, "bring them on" was a mistake. I think history is gonna look back and see a lot of ways we could have done things better. No question about it.

In June 2008 during his final swing through Europe before leaving the White House, President Bush told The Times of London that his cowboy rhetoric was perhaps his greatest regret:
President Bush has admitted to The Times that his gun-slinging rhetoric made the world believe that he was a "guy really anxious for war" in Iraq.

 [. .] In an exclusive interview, he expressed regret at the bitter divisions over the war and said that he was troubled about how his country had been misunderstood. "I think that in retrospect I could have used a different tone, a different rhetoric."

Phrases such as "bring them on" or "dead or alive", he said, "indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace."

And with his illicit programs of NSA domestic surveillance and detainee torture, certainly not a man who respected either the U.S. Constitution or laws passed by Congress.  In 2010 when Dick Cheney ("I was a big supporter of waterboarding") and George W. Bush ("Yeah, we waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed") each bragged about having tortured detainees, Jonathan Turley lamented:
"It is an astonishing public admission since waterboarding is not just illegal but a war crime. It is akin to the vice president saying that he supported bank robbery or murder-for-hire as a public policy."
And as Turley rightly concluded at the time, the failure to prosecute them belonged to President Barack Obama:
"This shameful moment belongs not to Bush but to Obama who worked to block the fulfillment of our domestic and international obligations to prosecute such offenses. We will continue to have torture discussed casually as just another tough-guy policy choice. Because it would have been politically unpopular to prosecute people for torture, the Obama Administration has allowed officials to downgrade torture from a war crime to a talking point."
A talking point, that is, like "bring 'em on."
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Comment Preferences

  •  Huge difference, at least for now. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    I love OCD, NancyWH, OooSillyMe

    Obama invited Boehner to a duel in a court of law.  Should it go to the Supreme Court and Boehner win, Obama can simply decline to send the IRS after large businesses who did not give their full-time employees access to health insurance.

    Bush invited insurgents to shoot at US troops.  

    "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

    by Yamaneko2 on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 01:21:20 PM PDT

  •  Conflation brought on by irresponsible bravado nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NancyWH, yet another liberal

    "In text, use only a single word space after all sentence punctuation." - Oxford Style Manual, Oxford University Press, 2003.

    by shaggies2009 on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 01:37:34 PM PDT

  •  I didn't realize that mocking an idiot (6+ / 0-)

    was inappropriate behavior.  Impeachable behavior.  I guess things are different if one is being uppity, right?  I think Obama's tone on this is perfect and I think it's resonating.  Maybe Prof. Turley is concerned the pundits will be mocked if Dems win big in November.  An entire narrative might be destroyed! Quelle horreur!

    I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

    by I love OCD on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 01:39:20 PM PDT

  •  in other news Sherlock Holmes is constipated (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NancyWH, anon004
    Phrases such as "bring them on" or "dead or alive", he said, "indicated to people that I was, you know, not a man of peace."

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 03:36:16 PM PDT

  •  Turley is insufferable, imo. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  I'm of a mixed mind. (0+ / 0-)

    I certainly don't hold Mr. Turley in as high esteem as I did when I first became aware of him.  Face it, that's why it's hard to have heroes.  And maybe that's why I stopped trying to find one, and just assume everyone has good points and flaws from the get-go.  

    "The light which puts out our sight is darkness to us." Thoreau

    by NancyWH on Sat Jul 12, 2014 at 04:36:33 PM PDT

  •  Another "pundit" attempting to gain (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    beltway cred by the idiocy of false equivalence.  (Obama's just as bad as GW because reasons.)  How difficult it must be for these gatekeepers to realize that they can't just make pronouncements and be believed without question any more.  Such an ego withdrawal!

  •  I remember Turley (0+ / 0-)

    on  radio immediately after the Bush v Gore SCOTUS decision that was first time I noticed him; I don't remember what he said to tell truth it was overwhelming to hear the evidence of a corrupt Supreme Court's stupid lousy reasoning for their decision but I do recall that at the time I could not tell if
    Turley was GOP or Dem;

    forget it over the years he has lost IQ points simply spins for the right wing.... and does what they all do  they twist themselves into a prezel delivering their delusional talking points with a straight face

    So far this year Republicans in Congress have blocked every serious idea to strengthen the middle class: Lifting the minimum wage, fair pay, student loan reform – they’ve said no to all of it. ~ President Obama

    by anyname on Sun Jul 13, 2014 at 11:07:21 AM PDT

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