Quote: John Avlon – Hyper-Partisanship Makes You Stupid

“Hyper-partisanship makes you stupid, and you start playing to the cheap seats.” – John Avlon

On Wednesday, Representative Tom Cotton (R-AR) used partisan Republican logic to defend President Bush’s record on keeping America safe vs. President Obama.

Tom Cotton (R) - Arkansas Representative - photo by Gage Skidmore

Arkansas Representative Tom Cotton (R) – photo by Gage Skidmore


In Cotton’s re-writing of history, “five jihadists have reached their targets” on Obama’s watch, which is a completely bullshit statement on multiple levels. Many of the incidents Cotton cites fall into the category of lone wolf, not jihadist terrorist. America is going to have to come to terms with the fact that it’s very difficult to stop people who self-radicalize.

Here’s what Cotton said on the House floor this week:

Rep. Tom Cotton: I rise today to express grave doubts about the Obama administration’s counterterrorism policies and programs. Counterterrorism is often shrouded in secrecy, as it should be, so let us judge by the results. In barely four years in office, five jihadists have reached their targets in the United States under Barack Obama: the Boston Marathon bomber, the underwear bomber, the Times Square bomber, the Fort Hood shooter, and in my own state — the Little Rock recruiting office shooter. In the over seven years after 9/11 under George W. Bush, how many terrorists reached their target in the United States? Zero! We need to ask “why is the Obama Administration failing in its mission to stop terrorism before it reaches its targets in the United States?”

Part of Cotton’s re-writing of history is to start the clock on September 12, 2001 and not September 11, 2001. But a more accurate date would be January 20, 2001, the day George W. Bush took office. People like to say “9/11 changed everything,” but it really didn’t have to. And the one thing that it didn’t need to change is 9/11 itself. The scale and scope of that terrorist event seems to clear a path for partisan hacks to reset the clock to 9/12/2001, to make George W. Bush an innocent bystander just like the rest of us. The only problem is, he was the President of the United States at the time. Those terrorist strikes happened on his watch. But to people like Cotton, Bush gets a pass on 9/11 because it was an unprecedented attack. I mean, how could we have known? It’s not like we didn’t have any warning signs — something like an explosion in the parking structure of the World Trade Center (WTC), say maybe, 8 years earlier. And let’s just nip it in the bud right now — yes, the first WTC attack happened on Clinton’s watch. — Your partisan hackery bubble has just burst.

The events of 9/11 might have woke us up, but that’s all it did. We did not face a new reality on 9/12, we simply faced reality for the first time.  And for those who were running the country, who knew this reality before 9/11, people like President Bush — there’s no get out of jail free card. The nearly 3000 people who died on September 11, 2001 are not exempt from George W. Bush’s record when comparing which president is doing a better job to keep us safe.

On Friday’s Real Time with Bill Maher, CNN contributor John Avlon said Rep. Tom Cotton “is a smart guy,” but “hyper-partisanship makes you stupid, and you start playing to the cheap seats.” — Well said.

photo by Gage Skidmore

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