Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 21, 2009

CHENEY CAN'T HELP HIMSELF.... Remember about a month ago, when several prominent Republican officials acknowledged publicly that they'd like to see Dick Cheney quietly go away? The former vice president really doesn't care what they think.

Cheney repeated the tired litany of recent attacks on President Obama, starting with his "concerns" about the president's recent speech outlining the ways in which the United States can "renew our partnership" with Europe. From there, it went to the new Republican smear of the week.

Just days after Obama shook hands and received a gift from Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, Cheney called the images of the encounter "not helpful." "I think it sets the wrong standard," Cheney added.

"The president's got to provide leadership and I don't want to be in a position where you don't interact with your adversaries. I think you do need to do that but I think it's got to be done properly. It's got to be done under the right conditions."

Hmm, there was a hemispheric gathering of heads of state. One elected president shook hands with another elected president. In what universe is this "interaction" taking place under the "wrong conditions"?

Cheney added that there's ample evidence that the war crimes he supported were effective, and he's "formally asked" intelligence agencies to declassify reports about torture being "enormously valuable." Of course, since Cheney is a civilian, his "formal" request doesn't really amount to much.

He concluded by telling Hannity that he believes it's "important not to personally attack the new president." They both managed to keep a straight face. I'm not sure how.

But arguably more important than Cheney's cringe-worthy mendacity is the larger political dynamic. Chris Cillizza noted this morning that the former vice president has apparently made the "decision to serve as the self-appointed defender of the Bush presidency," which in turn "presents a real challenge for a party hoping to put forward new faces and fresh ideas." Cillizza quoted a Republican consultant saying, "He is a face of the past. A face of conflict and too polarizing. So, not a good face of the party."

This is precisely why Democrats are thrilled Dick Cheney hasn't found a more productive way to spend his retirement. The majority party would love nothing more than a political fight that boils down to Obama's approach vs. the Bush/Cheney/Rove approach. The former VP keeps making this easier.

Cheney thinks he's helping by becoming the GOP hatchet-man. He's actually doing Democrats a favor.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (47)

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Comments

Keep up the good work, Dick! At least until November 2010, but I'd prefer November 2012. Thanks again!

Posted by: BH on April 21, 2009 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

he's "formally asked" intelligence agencies to declassify reports about torture being "enormously valuable."

I'll second that request. Better yet, let's declassify all the notes and videos related to these interrogations. Let's not cherry pick. Let's see the whole story.

Posted by: Danp on April 21, 2009 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Darth. Keep talking. Once someone has the courage to persue the torture trail you keep leaving crumbs lined up for we'll all see that they lead to your door. No, not the undisclosed location, your front door in Wyoming. Can't wait.

On a more personal note, I will buy a plane ticket to the Hague just to see you and your lawyer walk into the court. Maybe a revist later on to see you brought out in chains. Nauseating...

Posted by: stevio on April 21, 2009 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe not a good face of the Republican party, but certainly an appropriate one.

Posted by: Kevin the baker on April 21, 2009 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

Chaney thinks he's being clever-- he knows very well that releasing that information is impossible. What he doesn't understand is that people are on to him and his game-- practically everyone, including even Republicans, understands that power-hungry sadists just aren't sources of good advice.

Posted by: MattF on April 21, 2009 at 8:17 AM | PERMALINK

It would seem that Cheney's fourth branch has snapped. Cheney's ever-more desperate attempts to create some credibility and defense for his (let's all lobby vigorously for) investigation and prosecution of war crimes maybe a gift. Would not demanding for the declassification and publication of these also be and argument for full sharing of his dead twig's emails and other nefarious correspondence?

The cynic in me thinks that he will be unable to resist his public displays of Darth breathing a less than optimal oxygen mix, until at such (convenient for his defense) time, some permanent health disability of cognition and memory will be declared and he will hastily withdraw from public view.

Posted by: tribulation periwinkle on April 21, 2009 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney is a bully, a mean, mean man. Any time Obama does anything even partially civil--from shaking hands with Chavez to arguing that we shouldn't prosecute people for torture--it just emboldens him. The Golden Rule, for Cheney, has been degraded into a "Do onto others as much as you can get away with, heh."

The rest of us want to live in a civil global society. He prefers warlords and pirates.

I want to add, I'm becoming fed up with the right-wing/Fox news jihad against Obama for which Cheney is just a hatchet man. In a civil society, sometimes individual level responses ("if you don't like it, don't watch it!") feels insufficient against corporate-sponsored propaganda.

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 21, 2009 at 8:24 AM | PERMALINK

PALIN/CHENEY '12

Posted by: Name and email address are required. on April 21, 2009 at 8:24 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney is getting dangerously close to declaring, "Who will rid me of this troublesome President?"

Posted by: Disputo on April 21, 2009 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

he's "formally asked" intelligence agencies to declassify reports about torture being "enormously valuable."

Well, Dick. Maybe YOU should have done that while you were in office! Along with the videos before you had them destroyed.

Posted by: Markozilla on April 21, 2009 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

Can we all chip in and send Cheney on a coast-to-coast speaking tour?

Posted by: TR on April 21, 2009 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

A face of conflict and too polarizing. So, not a good face of the party.

What does Sarah Palin have to do with this?

Posted by: WInknandanod on April 21, 2009 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

I see Obama's half sister Ruby has been located. Funny that there's been no mention of this in the liberal press. I wonder if she's even here legally.

Posted by: Myke K on April 21, 2009 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

Chris Cillizza noted this morning that the former vice president has apparently made the "decision to serve as the self-appointed defender of the Bush presidency,"

Typo here. Cheney is serving as the defender of the Cheney presidency.

Posted by: Ahcuah on April 21, 2009 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK

(petting Myke K on the head)

You're absolutely adorable, you know that?

Now run along and go play with your toys while the grownups talk about serious, relevant things.

Posted by: zoe kentucky on April 21, 2009 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

Substitute "WMD" for "Memo". Haven't we heard this before? The "Piss on Cheney's Grave" tour is filling fast.

Posted by: ComradeAnon on April 21, 2009 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

Compare Cheney to the earlier ex-VP Al Gore. One conceded a close election in an attempt to heal partisan divides (not that it worked), went on to win a Nobel prize, and is widely regarded and respected, even in the business world as they begin to grasp the significance of global warming. Cheney emerges from his undisclosed location to take pot shots and the current president.

Posted by: KP on April 21, 2009 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

Continuing the Gore comparison, AG waited several years before critiquing the Bush administration. Well into the period where it was totally FUBARred. Cheney, on the other hand, hasn't given the new guys a chance. No class, just sour grapes.

Posted by: Markozilla on April 21, 2009 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

"I don't want to be in a position where you don't interact with your adversaries. I think you do need to do that but I think it's got to be done properly."-Cheney

In other words, I prefer we invade the motherfuckers, not shake their hands.

Posted by: palinoscopy on April 21, 2009 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

god damn dick cheney's shit-filled soul to hell.

Posted by: neill on April 21, 2009 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

Now run along and go play with your toys while the grownups talk about serious, relevant things.

Posted by: zoe kentucky

You may not think it's relevant that the president has a previously undisclosed half sister in Minnesota, but everyone else is going to wonder why Obama was hiding her.

She probably voted for Al Franken, illegally of course.

Posted by: Myke K on April 21, 2009 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

"the former vice president has apparently made the "decision to serve as the self-appointed defender of the Bush presidency"

Ummm, that's because he was the de facto president. He's defending the Cheney record more than Bush's.

Posted by: oh well on April 21, 2009 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

You may not think it's relevant that the president has a previously undisclosed half sister in Minnesota, but everyone else is going to wonder why Obama was hiding her.

By "everyone else" you mean you and a few of your wingnut friends? Does the rest of the universe exist anywhere in your mind?

Still waiting for the release of Cheney's medical records for the last decade. Love to see what kind of meds he's been on and whether his doctors really thought he could be trusted to drive, drink, shoot birds, start wars, or run/ruin countries.

Posted by: Midland on April 21, 2009 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

Ummm, that's because he was the de facto president. He's defending the Cheney record more than Bush's.

Gotta say I've been reading Cheney slightly wrong all these years. I thought his status as super-effective super villain derived from the exceedingly rare ability to brush off all criticism and honestly not give a damn what anyone thought of him. Nor did he require public credit for his "achievements." I thought he had the perfect set-up for a total creep with attachment disorder: largely running the show behind the scenes and staying below the radar. He got what he wanted -- accumulated power and wealth for himself and an ever-contracting circle of cronies -- and that's all he cared about.

Now it turns out he's just a garden-variety control freak who can't stand that he's out of power and out of control of the message. He's desperate and pathetic, two things he never was -- whatever else he was -- in the White House.

Posted by: shortstop on April 21, 2009 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

You may not think it's relevant that the president has a previously undisclosed half sister in Minnesota, but everyone else is going to wonder why Obama was hiding her.

The president doesn't. His new dog, however, does have a half sister in MN.

Don't you even read the shit you screed about? Or maybe all that homeschooling you experienced left you slightly handicapped in reading comprehension.

Twit.

Posted by: jcricket on April 21, 2009 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

p.s. you are the same jackass who was trying to tell everyone that a capital gain was established at the time of purchasing an investment.

Get a new handle and start over. You have no credibility.

Posted by: jcricket on April 21, 2009 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

"Cheney's actually doing Democrats a favor."

SSSHHHHH!


Oh, and Obama doesn't have a half sister in MN, it's Obama's dog that has a half sister. See, it's another Portuguese water dog.

Posted by: Jay on April 21, 2009 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney thinks he's helping by becoming the GOP hatchet-man. He's actually doing Democrats a favor.

Continuing his perfect record of accomplishments.

The guy hasn't been right on anything, not once!

Posted by: g on April 21, 2009 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

He's desperate and pathetic, two things he never was -- whatever else he was -- in the White House.

I always thought he and his arguments were pretty pathetic, but now the desperation is really starting to show. Without the power anymore, it's like Darth Vader with the mask off.
On top of that, he's totally classless with his constant criticisms of everything that President Obama does. No former president or vice-president, including George W. Bush, has ever sunk so low after leaving office. Even Nixon pretty much shut up, except for that Frost interview.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on April 21, 2009 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

Is Myke K a parody troll? Because if he's not, the exchange above is even more hilarious!

Posted by: g on April 21, 2009 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK
CHENEY CAN'T HELP HIMSELF

Or, Cheney can't hep hep hep himself. He reminds of the Blazing Saddles scene where Sheriff Bart arrives in town and then points his gun at himself to escape the pitchfork crowd, and declares they better drop it or the N*gger gets it.

Of course, Cleavon Little was being clever, Cheney, not so much.

Posted by: Mr. Stuck on April 21, 2009 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

I always thought he and his arguments were pretty pathetic

Sure, but I meant "pathetic" in the sense of undignified, vulnerable, maudlin, humiliated. Back in the day, he was lame in his arguments, but not a quivering bundle of desperation.

Posted by: shortstop on April 21, 2009 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

In the movie "W", the character portrayed of Cheney was, by far, the most scary individual in the White House meetings. His speech about expanding the American "empire", while displaying a map of Iran with several small American flags affixed to the map, was chilling. Shrub came off as more of a somewhat likeable dufus, but, Cheney was Evil personified.

Posted by: berttheclock on April 21, 2009 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Why does Obama have a Portuguese dog anyway? Will the voters judge him harshly for eschewing an American dog?

Posted by: MatthewRQuarreler on April 21, 2009 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

The link points to an article about the Obamas' new dog and its sibling.
Myke K -- joker or idiot? Seriously, I can't tell any more.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on April 21, 2009 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

Portugal is proud, I am sure.

Posted by: jcricket on April 21, 2009 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sure Portugal is proud, but Obama has to think about American pride. He's said to be politically savvy, yet keeps making easily avoided mistakes like this.

It could cost him significantly.

Posted by: MatthewRQuarreler on April 21, 2009 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

Matthew, you owe me a new keyboard.

(Who knew sipping coffee while reading PA would be dangerous?)

Posted by: jcricket on April 21, 2009 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, what I am is a used Repiglican BUTT PLUG ... so used that I have been reduced to incoherent spluttering of meaningless drivel ......... plus my squeaky toys don't squeak anymore

Posted by: Myke K on April 21, 2009 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

The only way to explain that the Republican media continues to feature Cheney is groupthink.

They are so immersed in their own media clique that they dismiss any facts that contradict their world view, and think that their minority viewpoint must be the majority.

How else could you explain them continuing to choose a man whose approval rating was in the teens for most of his last term in office being a featured, frequent guest?

Also, it seems that Cheney is not defending the Bush presidency, he's defending the Cheney vice-presidency. The decisions he's defending were those he made.

There appears to have been a great separation between Cheney/Rove and Bush after the 2006 election loss. Rove was fired, Cheney's power was curtailed, and Bush's foreign policy took a sudden rational turn. In fact, Bush's management the last two years did not in anyway resemble his management of the first 6, but it DID resemble very closely the presidential style of a certain George H. Bush.

I suspect that the 2006 election loss was what it took for junior to once again ask for help from daddy to get him out of his mess, and daddy was happy to comply. Sure, the economic crash happened during those last two years, but a) daddy wasn't so good with economics anyway and b) the seeds of that were planted much earlier.

The real difference was foreign policy. In those last two years the much anticipated invasion of Iran never happened, and in fact in 2008 diplomatic channels were reopened. The "surge" of 2007-8 was not so much about an increase in troops as it was about diplomacy with the various Iraqi factions. All things that that great old diplomat, George H Bush, the man who put together that amazing *real* coalition in 1990-1, would have done.

So, not only is Cheney defending his decisions, not Bush's, but I suspect he's also as pissed off at Bush and his daddy as he is at Obama.

Posted by: Cool on April 21, 2009 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

By all means, let's release any documents showing the actual information gathered from these tortures! I'm friggin' tired of claims from Shrub et al. that they allowed us to stop a gazillion bad acts, with no evidence to support them.

Given the claims they made about the threats posed by homeless guys in Miami and other big-talking bozos, I'm eager to see what, if any, actual plots were revealed by violating the law.

I'm also eager to see the long list of fictions told under torture and the time-wasting wild goose chases that resulted. Let's get some hard documentation there, too.

Cheney is just toying with us, of course, since he thinks those documents will never be released. It makes him sound like he knows something we don't, but I'm guessing it's all BS. Remember, he still thinks Saddam had WMD.

Posted by: biggerbox on April 21, 2009 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Actually, what I am is a used Repiglican BUTT PLUG ... so used that I have been reduced to incoherent spluttering of meaningless drivel ......... plus my squeaky toys don't squeak anymore

Posted by: Myke K

Is there no honor among thieves?! Get your own parody handle, loser! You suck at this.

Posted by: Myke K on April 21, 2009 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

"...it's got to be done properly. It's got to be done under the right conditions."

In other words: "KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!!!!!!"

Posted by: 2Manchu on April 21, 2009 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

What Cheney refers to as the "right conditions" to engage Chavez are with Chavez feet upward on a board tilted at 15 degrees, and Obama pouring water over a cloth placed over Chavez' nose and mouth.

He misses the good old days.

Posted by: Daddy Love on April 21, 2009 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

At this moment in time, ALL of the current group of supposed GOP leaders are from the PAST.
EVERY policy that they through out there is from the PAST and DID NOT WORK for anyone but the GOP and their rich friend.

Posted by: JC on April 21, 2009 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney added that there's ample evidence that the war crimes he supported were effective, and he's "formally asked" intelligence agencies to declassify reports about torture being "enormously valuable." Of course, since Cheney is a civilian, his "formal" request doesn't really amount to much.

As a commenter at Digby's pointed out, he'll have plenty of opportunity to make a formal request in the form of a subpoena for any documents he wants as a defendent in a war crimes trial.

I doubt that they'd be helpful, though. Even if they did demonstrate whether the techniques were effective, that'd be irrelevant to the question of whether they were illegal. They might get him a lighter sentence, but that's it.

It would of course serve him right if the Obama administration refused to declassify them on national security grounds- following the lead of the Bush/Cheney administration.

Posted by: RobW on April 21, 2009 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

It's CYA, 100%. Cheney taking care of Cheney and his peripheral interests. He's made a lucrative career out of it and now all he has to do is avoid (hopefully, inevitable) war crimes prosecutions and he'll irrevocably "win."

Does anyone really think Cheney gives a shit about the Republican party and it's ever diminishing electoral significance? He didn't when he had any kind of power, why would he start now?

Yeah, I'm sure the Republicans, as a party, don't want to deal with him right now. But, speaking as a political observer of little consequence or knowledge: Fuck 'em! They reap what they sow. . . At least I think I read that somewhere.

Posted by: jack fate on April 21, 2009 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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