Thursday, May 21, 2009

McConnell Gets Credit on Gitmo

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is getting the credit (and our thanks) for the Obama administration's stunning defeat yesterday in its quest to close Gitmo before it has a plan on where to relocate its terrorists.

Even MSNBC, no friend to Republicans, acknowledged that McConnell has led on this issue. Chuck Todd said on the Morning Joe:

Let's give Mitch McConnell political credit here. The Senate Republican leader, he’s been sort of a one man band on this issue for two months. Even in the face of criticism from members of his own party saying hey, why are you focusing on this, this is a distraction, this looks like the Republicans are out of touch, just obsessed with only one issue and guess what, he's created a pretty good political problem for this White House.

With 16 Senate floor speeches and numerous interviews and op-eds, McConnell has been relentless. McConnell has pounded the Obama administration for announcing that it would close Gitmo when the administration has not found a country or a state willing to take the detainees. As the Washington Post noted,

Republicans, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), have used the Gitmo closure as evidence that Obama is not fundamentally serious about the defense of the homeland.

Obama must be particularly stung that so many Democrats abandoned him. Yesterday the Senate voted 90-6 to bar the use of federal funds to “transfer, release or incarcerate” Guantanamo detainees “to or within the United States.” Given how few votes McConnell has these days, that's some margin of victory.

It's more than just a political victory for McConnell and Republicans. No terrorist has ever escaped from Gitmo. Keeping Gitmo open keeps us safer than if its Islamofascists are relocated to prisons around the country to recruit and radicalize the U.S. prison population -- or worse, to escape and kill again.

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