This right wing egotistical tough-guy fetish applies to more than just torture. From unilateral invasions to massive tax cuts for the rich, the Bushies were all about being the tough guys who could do what needed to be done, while liberals were cowering wimps who just wanted to let gay people marry.
This all fits into the whole Manichean Paranoia that afflicts the right. Their John Wayne mentality infects their every thought process, and leads to some really awful results, which they then, of course, deny had anything to do with them.
You're either with us, or against us, and laws and facts don't matter. In fact, laws and facts are for sissies.
Nobody lays out the truth of this right wing mentality better than Steven Colbert. Without him I would have lost the ability to pay attention to their giant, destructive egos years ago.
And nobody proves that pragmatism and nuance is the better methodology for a country than Obama. He proves that the world is not just black or white in a way that deflates their egos and, frankly, that makes them crazy with Obama Derangement Syndrome.
"From day one of the War on Terror (TM), it was clear that the Bush people reveled in the notion that they were tough guys, willing to Do What Needs to be Done. They were all wannabe Kiefer Sutherlands. Far from showing qualms about suspending the rule of law and using torture to extract information, they obviously enjoyed the idea that they were willing to go all the way, unlike those wimpy liberals."
- Shadow of the Torturers - NYTimes.com (view on Google Sidewiki)