From Sam Stein's March 5 Huffington Post article, headlined “Conservatives Turn Against Liz Cheney - As Bad As McCarthy”:
The backlash is growing against Liz Cheney after she demonized Department of Justice attorneys as terrorist sympathizers for their past legal work defending Gitmo detainees -- and now it's coming from within deeply conservative legal circles.
On Friday, the conservative blog Power Line put up a post titled, “An Attack That Goes Too Far.” Author Paul Mirengoff, called Cheney's effort to brand DoJ officials the “Al Qaeda 7,” “vicious” and “unfounded” even if it was right to criticize defense lawyers for voluntarily doing work on behalf of Gitmo detainees.
Reached on the phone, Mirengoff offered an even sharper rebuke, contrasting what Cheney is doing to the anti-communist crusades launched by Sen. Joseph McCarthy and, in some respects, finding it worse.
“It could be worse than some of the assertions made by McCarthy, depending on some of the validity of those assertions,” Mirengoff said, explaining that at least McCarthy was correct in pinpointing individuals as communist sympathizers. “It is just baseless to suggest that [these DoJ officials] share al Qaeda values... they didn't actually say it but I think it was a fair implication of what they were saying.”
Mirengoff isn't alone among conservative legal theorists who think the ad campaign by Cheney's group, Keep America Safe, is distasteful. In a statement to the American Prospect, John Bellinger III, a former legal adviser to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, called the effort “unfortunate.”
“It reflects the politicization and the polarization of terrorism issues,” Bellinger said. “Neither Republicans nor Democrats should be attacking officials in each other's administrations based solely on the clients they have represented in the past.”