Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 30, 2009

ENCOURAGING DICK.... As you may have heard, Newsweek's Jon Meacham has a provocative item in the new issue, encouraging Dick Cheney to run for president because it would be "good for the Republicans and good for the country." There are more than few problems with the argument, but the part that stood out for me is the notion that we need a "referendum on competing visions" of government.

One of the problems with governance since the election of Bill Clinton has been the resolute refusal of the opposition party (the GOP from 1993 to 2001, the Democrats from 2001 to 2009, and now the GOP again in the Obama years) to concede that the president, by virtue of his victory, has a mandate to take the country in a given direction. A Cheney victory would mean that America preferred a vigorous unilateralism to President Obama's unapologetic multilateralism, and vice versa. [...]

A campaign would ... give us an occasion that history denied us in 2008: an opportunity to adjudicate the George W. Bush years in a direct way.

I seem to recall a lengthy process -- I believe it was called "the presidential election of 2008" -- where Americans were given a choice between a continuation of Bush/Cheney policies and a more progressive, Democratic approach. I also seem to recall the outcome -- a one-sided victory for the Dem.

It's true that the defeated and humiliated Republican Party maintains that the president did not earn a mandate, but why would an Obama victory over Cheney change the GOP's mind? 365 electoral votes weren't enough?

For that matter, is the jury still out on the Bush presidency? Meacham sees the need for additional adjudication "in a direct way." I'm not sure what more evidence anyone would need that Bush failed in spectacular and historic ways, in practically every area of public policy. It will take many, many years to address the fiascos of the last eight years.

Meacham sees these catastrophes and thinks, "What we really need is the failed president's vice president to seek national office." There's no reason to think that's a good idea.

The Newsweek editor added, "No one foresaw Cheney's reemergence as a force in the politics of the 21st century until it happened." Did it? Sure, the mainstream media loves to follow Dick Cheney's attack of the day, but when, exactly, did the unpopular and discredited former vice president "reemerge as a force in the politics of the 21st century"? I don't remember that happening.

Indeed, rank-and-file Republicans were asked in a new poll about who best reflects the party's principles. Just one chose Dick Cheney -- not 1 percent, I mean one individual person.

Steve Benen 11:20 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (40)

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Comments

God damn Dick Cheney's shit-filled soul to hell.

Posted by: neill on November 30, 2009 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

When did "provocative" become a synonym for incredibly stupid?

Posted by: Robert Pierce on November 30, 2009 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

"Mr. Cheney, please, no voting for yourself. This poll is not trying to choose a vice-president, after all."

Posted by: LarrySFBayArea on November 30, 2009 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

I would like to know how Dick Cheney gets all the positive press. He must have great representation.

Posted by: Ron Byers on November 30, 2009 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

I predict he'd have about as much success as Mondale in 1984.

And I guess Meacham is the only person on earth who didn't view Obama's election as a complete rejection of the Bush/Cheney agenda.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on November 30, 2009 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

I hope he meant that no one saw Cheney getting elected to national office in 00 before he selected himself.

Speaking of Dicks, anyone know if Halliburton is still in Dubai?

Posted by: Northzax on November 30, 2009 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

When a president who had a massive approval rating just barely squeaked by in 2004, there was--according to the MSM-- no message there for the Republican party; when the GOP lost both houses of Congress in 2006, there was-- according to the MSM-- no message there for the Republican party; and now, when they lost the White House in 2008, by the biggest margin in decades, there's no message there for the Republican party. This is just another attempt to make Obama's margin of victory seem illegitimate. It's like that line on THE WEST WING: "It's hard when they keep moving the goalposts on you, isn't it?"

Posted by: Brian on November 30, 2009 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

I, too, would like to see more "ajudication" of the Bush/Cheney regime, but Obama has apparantly taken any kind of trials for their various crimes off of the table.

Posted by: martin on November 30, 2009 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

During most of the Bush Administration, the Democrats were spineless and cowering. They refused to take a single risk to stop Bush from doing harm to the country.

When Clinton was in office, the Republicans were vicious and obstructionist. They tried to remove Clinton from office. The Democrats wouldn't try to impeach Bush even after it was clear that he had not been elected in 2000 and after there was clear evidence that he was a criminal. With Obama in office, the Republicans are once again trying to prevent any positive change from occurring.

To claim that Democratic minorities act like Republican minorities is ridiculous.

Posted by: Mark on November 30, 2009 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

I had thought Meacham was a thoughtful, intelligent man. I was wrong.

Posted by: DAY on November 30, 2009 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Meacham is a weenie.

Posted by: Joe Friday on November 30, 2009 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

The Republicans should just admit what they really want is for no election result to be considered official until/unless a Republican wins. I mean, can you imagine what they would've been like if in 2000 Florida had been called for Gore?
Oh, that's right, it was. And then Bush's cousin at Fox News had a pants-wetting fit, and it went up the chain of command until it was considered "too close to call" again, and then after the count starting looking like Bush won Florida, the Republicans en masse started braying like wounded elk "NO RECOUNTS NO RECOUNTS NO RECOUNTS" until the Supreme Court decided there should be no recount. For the good of the country, I believe they called at the time.

So I guess we DO know what they would do in that situation. If they win, "Shut up, we won, no tag backs, stop whining." If they lose "Best two out of three? Three out of five? Four out of seven?" It ain't over till they win.

Posted by: slappy magoo on November 30, 2009 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Only one? Who was it? Lynn? Mary? The other kid?

If I were Dick "Dick" Cheney, I'd be seriously disappointed in my family.

Posted by: Former Dan on November 30, 2009 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

"...but when, exactly, did the unpopular and discredited former vice president "reemerge as a force in the politics of the 21st century"? I don't remember that happening.

Pretty sure they mean when he ran the WH for eight years, 2001-2008.

Posted by: converse on November 30, 2009 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney's support consists soley of people who have no other motivation than sticking it to liberals. That really don't care about policy, as long as their political enemies at least appear to be failing. Cheney is reasonably good at that. His role is basically their "heckler in chief", now, and bitter, resentful people find that admirable.

Posted by: DelCapslock on November 30, 2009 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

"No one foresaw Cheney's reemergence as a force in the politics of the 21st century until it happened." Did it?

Sure it did, Meacham said so.

So in summary, Meacham wants a do-over?

Posted by: Bobo Teh Clown on November 30, 2009 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

Meacham seems to be right. Cheney is a singular force in our politics.

Posted by: sarabeth on November 30, 2009 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

This is what you are missing: Bush stopped listening to Cheney. Bush's foreign policy started to stray in the direction of the centre. Bush was implicitly repudiated in 2008- for straying from Cheney's better vision.
It has something to do with Republican's ability to erase all inconvenient memory, and reinterpret reality on the basis of any remaining "facts".

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on November 30, 2009 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

The American people elected a black man with the name "Barack Hussein Obama" to be their president, about a hundred years sooner than even being conceivable, if ever. What more of an adjudication of the previous administration's policies could there be?

Posted by: R. Porrofatto on November 30, 2009 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

"is the jury still out on the Bush presidency?"

Well, it's funny how nobody seems to want to talk about it, not even the Republican Party.

This being the case, the Democrats really ought to be talking about it - and the President should not be carrying on ANY of the Bush policies. The entire Democratic establishment should do as SoS Clinton did, when asked to comment on Old Man Cheney's remarks - laugh.

Posted by: Zandru on November 30, 2009 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

"is the jury still out on the Bush presidency?"

Bush's presidency can't be judged until we're all dead. And by "we," I mean the human species. We have to see how Cheney's whole grand plan plays itself out -- otherwise we're being just really unfair.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on November 30, 2009 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Why should he invest his energy, time, and what remains of his dignity in putting his name on a ballot? Given the fact that no cardiologist worth his EKG machine would give Mr. Cheney a clean bill of health and the fact that he would have to define a vision of America in the future instead of what he did during the Ford and both Bush administrations, the chance of Mr. Meacham's fantasy coming true are about as likely as a chicken needing Chap-Stick. It's a lot easier just to crank out a book -- or pay a ghostwriter -- do the book tours to all the malls of America, go on TV, and take all the shots he wants to without breaking a sweat. He hasn't been on the ballot by himself since he ran for Congress in the 1970's, and the view is pretty good from the cheap seats.

Posted by: Mustang Bobby on November 30, 2009 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Typical Villager thinking: it's our house and only we should live in it (aka D.Broder).

I agree with the first comment, but I would suggest Cheney should have a wooden stake driven thru his heart, his head cut off, his mouth stuffed with garlic, then burn the whole mess to ashes and douse the fire with holy water. Because that's how you kill the Undead.

Posted by: Darsan 54 on November 30, 2009 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Meacham: "Just one more horse race? Puhleeeeeeeze?!?"

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on November 30, 2009 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

"Because that's how you kill the Undead."

It also sounds like a lot of fun.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on November 30, 2009 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, I would fucking LOVE to see Dick Cheney run for President in 2012. Talk about an entire library of material to use against him. You could run a different quote every day if you wanted.

Nothing like focusing on the disaster of the Bush years in an election.

Posted by: bdop4 on November 30, 2009 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

While George W. Bush was President, Cheney's approval numbers were nearly always lower than Bush's. That's saying something, given how low Bush's became. It's hard to imagine anyone taking a Cheney campaign seriously, yet he clearly has his boosters. I suppose saying that one has to wonder at their motivation is an understatement.

Posted by: Cujo359 on November 30, 2009 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

This is good news. Apparently Palin and Huckabee are tanking so badly that the Repubs are looking back to recruit Cheney. The same Dick Cheney whose approval ratings where down around 29% before he left office.
It looks to me that Obama can save a fortune on his bid for re-election in 2012.

Posted by: John D'oh on November 30, 2009 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't there a health issue here ? Hasn't Big Dick had about thirty five or forty bypasses ?

Posted by: rbe1 on November 30, 2009 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

The Newsweek editor added, "No one foresaw Cheney's reemergence as a force in the politics of the 21st century until it happened."

Turns out that when you sneak yourself into an office by bypassing all of the requirements, no one will foresee you taking that office.

Funny, that.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on November 30, 2009 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

It is to the Republic Party advantage that you continue to think of Bush as a "failed presidency". The truth of the matter is the Cheney Administration accomplished everything they set out to do.

Posted by: Ten Bears on November 30, 2009 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

In his entire sorry life, who has Dick Cheney ever helped besides himself and his family.

When, his country went to war in Vietnam, he had other priorities and help himself.

When, his Bush asked him to help in the search for a VP, Cheney helped himself.

When, the country need to supply the war effort he helped himself.

When Bush was leaving office and trying to preserve some simblance of integrity by not pardoning Cheney's scumbag chief of staff, Cheney demanded that Bush fall on his presidential sword, to help Cheney.

Every speech to a vetted and hand-picked friendly audience, or interview with a hand-picked friendly journalist is loaded with self-serving statements about how right he is and how wrong everyone else is.

He shoots a man in the face, and the first instinct of everone involved, including the victim, is how do we serve Dick Cheney?

His list of dastardly deeds and tasteless is as long as a Tiger Woods tee-shot.

So I ask again, can someone name one single solitary thing Dick Cheney has ever done to benefit someone besides himself?

Endorsing Sarah Palin does not count.

Posted by: Winkandanod on November 30, 2009 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

And I guess Meacham is the only person on earth who didn't view Obama's election as a complete rejection of the Bush/Cheney agenda.

Unfortunately, no. This sort of up-is-down, the-sky-is-pink delusion is quite common among the right. Even the (numerous) dipshits who think that the Republicans lost because they weren't right-wing/stupid/psychotic enough blame this on Bush (now that he's conveniently out of office, of course) - Cheney, unfettered by that pansy liberal Bush is just the kind of guy they like. Hell, Ann Coulter called him her "ideal man". That kind of thing tends to stick around. :)

Posted by: DH Walker on November 30, 2009 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

and with political insights like meacham's, is it any wonder that newsweek is circling the bowl like a week-dead goldfish?

Posted by: mellowjohn on November 30, 2009 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

To claim that Democratic minorities act like Republican minorities is ridiculous.

Absolutely. But then, ridiculousness has never been a deterrent to these yahoos.

Reagan was a war hero cowboy! Bush was a bad-ass fighter pilot! Palin is a regular American! Limbaugh is an intellectual! I mean, this is their track record. It's a deluge of ridiculousness.

Posted by: DH Walker on November 30, 2009 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Cheney still has plenty of clout. After-all, he is raking in mega-bucks from the perpetuawar he helped unleash (Iraqistan) via his multi-pronged corporate military fleece the taxpayer endeavors.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on November 30, 2009 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Even if you like Dick Cheney, what's the point in nominating someone who's very likely to drop dead of a heart attack during his first year in office?

Posted by: Obee on November 30, 2009 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

What a minute! Meacham gets PAID to write this crap for an MSM publication?!

Posted by: robert on November 30, 2009 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, I would kinda like to see whether or not Cheney could carry Wyoming.

Posted by: sue on November 30, 2009 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Indeed, rank-and-file Republicans were asked in a new poll about who best reflects the party's principles. Just one chose Dick Cheney -- not 1 percent, I mean one individual person.

That's very unfair. I think Dick Cheney reflects the party's principles almost perfectly.

Posted by: ajay on December 1, 2009 at 4:57 AM | PERMALINK
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