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Vice president's reference to opponents as 'terrorists' deserves condemnation

August 3, 2011 |  4:34 am

joe Biden and dick Cheney, file

Outrage flooding in now even from overseas over former Vice President Dick Cheney likening some opponents of President Bush's policies and administration to "terrorists."

Terrorists? Really? With the 10th anniversary of real terrorism coming next month. Pathetic, even for Repugnicans.

It's the kind of over-the-top rhetorical retribution that only inflames political passions and hard feelings at a highly partisan time in the nation's capitol. You have to expect it from the veteran Washington insider and no-holds-barred Republican enforcer who once worked for an oil industry company.

During a meeting with his party's House caucus earlier this week several members reportedly expressed outrage over parts of the pending debt agreement with opponents, likening the other side to terrorists holding the plan hostage to gain an advantage.

At one point the vice president is said to have acknowledged, "They have acted like terrorists."  Seriously, that guy's been out of office for -- what? -- 30 months now. His party lost. Let it go, Mr. Cheney!

The Democratic team of Barack Obama and Joe Biden arrived in Washington in 2009 sincerely determined to change the city's crony culture, to overcome the harsh partisan tone that had infested the former swamp during the first eight years of this century. How can such gentlemen possibly make progress for America when the response from the GOP side invokes terrorism during what should be a simple policy debate?

Oh, wait. What? Oh, that's right. It was Vice President Joe Biden who said that. And it happened during a caucus of his party's angry Democratic House members, not Republicans.

Well, nevermind then.

Forget we brought it up. No condemnation needed. Biden's not the kind of partisan guy to shoot from the lip. He obviously didn't mean it. Or he was misunderstood. Or caught up in the moment. Could happen to anybody who isn't Republican. If, in fact, Biden even uttered it. Lighten up!

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Emily Riley / Reuters (Cheney and Biden, file).