Tonight on Larry King’s CNN show, wingnut talk-show host Lars Larson resuscitated the long-simmering right-wing theory that the Clenis caused 9/11:

LARSON: The fact is the president we’ve got has kept us safe for years. Bill Clinton, I don’t believe, did that. And I don’t believe that John Kerry or Al Gore would have done a better job than George Bush at the number one job of president…

DREHER: Didn’t…

LARSON: …keeping the country safe.

KING: Just to be fair, Lars…

LARSON: Yes, sir?

KING: …how many people — how many soldiers died in the Clinton administration and how many in the Bush?

LARSON: I think that the Clinton administration set America up for 9/11…

KING: Oh. So it was Clinton’s fault.

LARSON: …by not responding to the terrorist threat.

KING: OK. I didn’t know it was Clinton’s fault.

LARSON: Oh, I’m just saying…

KING: Thank you, Lars.I didn’t know.

LARSON: I’m just suggesting…

KING: I had no idea.

LARSON: …that those years set us up by not responding. Al Qaeda responds to not responding. When you go out and you tell…

KING: I got you.

LARSON: …them we’re going to hunt you down and kill you, al Qaeda understands that.

Hmmmmm. Interesting theory. Too bad it is nearly the precise reverse of factual reality.

Fact: Bill Clinton was obsessed with Al Qaeda and the threat that it posed, and was constantly preaching to both the public and to Congress about the need to take them seriously. Unfortunately, no one listened — because Republicans were too busy accusing him of "wagging the dog".

Fact: George W. Bush did an astonishingly poor job of tending to the nation’s counterterrorism efforts prior to 9/11. He and his aides and Cabinet uniformly dismissed anti-terrorism work as "a Clinton thing." Former National Security Adviser Richard Clarke, back in 2004, made clear that Bush’s pre-9/11 record was unremittingly a litany of failures to comprehend the real threat that terrorism posed to America. Bush focused his energies and the public budget on frivolous diversion, most notably a missile-defense system. Bush’s downgrading of the counterterrorism chief’s role from a Cabinet-level spot to a subjuncture of the Justice Department is only the signal move of a wide range of missteps that Bush took to undermine the nation’s counterterror efforts. Among others: he defunded the FBI’s counterterror program.

Meanwhile, there was no shortage of Republicans who studiously ignored terrorism as an issue during Clinton’s tenure because they were far more intent on hunting down semen-stained dresses. Others openly doubted that bin Laden was a serious threat; as Christy noted this morning, one of them was John McCain.

Bizarro World really is where Republicans reside nowadays.

David Neiwert

David Neiwert

David Neiwert is the managing editor of Firedoglake. He's a freelance journalist based in Seattle and the author/editor of the blog Orcinus. He also is the author of Strawberry Days: How Internment Destroyed a Japanese American Community (Palgrave/St. Martin's Press, June 2005), as well as Death on the Fourth of July: The Story of a Killing, a Trial, and Hate Crime in America (Palgrave/St. Martin's, 2004), and In God's Country: The Patriot Movement and the Pacific Northwest (1999, WSU Press). His reportage for MSNBC.com on domestic terrorism won the National Press Club Award for Distinguished Online Journalism in 2000.

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