Our political process is jeopardized when partisan talking points form the basis for public understanding of important issues. Any mental deviate is free to frame an opinion no matter how absurd or factually bereft, as was made clear at the weekend’s CPAC conference and at many of the Tea Party get-togethers. Tea-bagging conservatives don’t always express coherent views; after all anger isn’t normative policy.

Dick Cheney, who refuses to admit that torture is torture, was greeted with thunderous applause at the CPAC conference – – an odd response to a leader who helped design our Iraq policy and promotes to this day so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” like waterboarding. As justification for invading Iraq we are constantly reminded by hawkish pols that we lost 3000 people on 9/11 although Iraqis were not players on 9/11. But what do those cheering attendees find so inspirational about over 5000 deaths on our side and untold numbers of Iraqis slaughtered or displaced because of our decision to invade?