Appearance Alert!
MRC's Brent Bozell on FNC's The Kelly File, Friday 9:40pm ET/PT

Clift's 9/11 Regret: It Sparked Our 'Obsessive Focus' on Terrorism

Of all the major regrets she could have about 9/11, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift whined that the attacks on that tragic day sparked this nation's "Obsessive focus on terrorism." As part of a panel retrospective on 9/11, aired on the syndicated McLaughlin Group over the weekend, Clift complained that George W. Bush's war on terrorism was "very costly to this country" as it distracted the nation from its "internal problems."

Clift went on to cite, in her view, the great shame that was Barack Obama begging Congress "for money to modernize schools and build science labs" and added: "that's just one small example of the cost we've paid with the obsessive focus on terrorism this last decade."

Recognizing that the worst attack on our nation's soil was probably something worth being "obsessive" about, the National Review's Rich Lowry smacked down Clift's take as he noted that given "the kind of attack we saw...you're gonna see a very strong national response. We were gonna go out and hit them hard. That's exactly what we did."

Lowry then proceeded to slam Clift via this lambasting of an oft-heard liberal critique: "I think this whole trope we heard, mostly from the left across these 10 years about how we lost touch with our values and betrayed our values, was utterly false. There was no serious backlash against Muslims in this country. There was no violation of civil liberties - certainly not compared to the Lincoln, Wilson or FDR administrations."

The following is a transcript of the relevant exchange as it was aired on the September 11 edition of The McLaughlin Group:

JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is President Obama carrying on the Bush/Cheney war in every way, except calling it Bush/Cheney?

...

ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK: Well this president is not gonna eradicate all terrorism. No president could do that. He is trying to responsibly bring the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to an end. But when you steer the ship of state you gotta avoid sudden moves. And I think he has made adjustments to the Bush/Cheney policy. I don't think we do waterboarding any more. There is no extraordinary rendition. And I think he has changed our image around the world, to some extent. But this is a

war - if you use the Bush terminology, the war against terrorism - that has been very costly to this country and continues to be costly. Not only the two wars, the extraordinary medical costs associated with it.

And as Pat [Buchanan] says, the, the lack of a decades of worth of not paying attention to our internal problems. You have American businesses scrambling to get B1 visas to bring in people abroad from other countries to fill jobs that we should be educating people in our schools.

And when the President goes before the Congress and has to beg for money to modernize schools and build science labs, that's just one small example of the cost we've paid with the obsessive focus on terrorism this last decade.


MCLAUGHLIN: Rich Lowry.

RICH LOWRY, NATIONAL REVIEW: Well John, I think, given what, the kind of attack we saw, the Jacksonian spirit still runs so high in this country that inevitably you're gonna see a very strong national response. We were gonna go out and hit them hard. That's exactly what we did. And I think this whole trope we heard, mostly from the left across these 10 years about how we lost touch with our values and betrayed our values, was utterly false. There was no serious backlash against Muslims in this country. There was no violation of civil liberties - certainly not compared to the Lincoln, Wilson or FDR administrations.

And then what have done over abroad and overseas? Maybe naively and maybe somewhat arrogantly, but we've attempted to spread a decent system of government. So it was a strong response and it was fundamentally a good response that talks to, speaks to our profound decency as a people.


Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Geoffrey Dickens on Twitter.