Monday, June 01, 2015


The Wall Street Journal's Patrick O'Connor has just published a story about Dick Cheney that seems intended solely to persuade readers that Dick Cheney remains a tremendously important figure. It's not a work of journalism -- it's basically a Cheney press kit:
... The former vice president is looking to make a splash on the national stage with a new book to be published in September and a group he and his daughter Liz launched to advance their views.

The effort is sure to play directly into the 2016 presidential debate, in which national-security policy is already a point of difference between the Republican candidates, many of whom are looking to turn the page on George W. Bush’s administration.

... By weighing in, Mr. Cheney is bound to make himself a flash point in the 2016 debate....
He is? Really? I mean, he might, I suppose -- the article quotes him attacking Rand Paul, and if Paul gains traction, Cheney might have some influence as a critic. And the right always enjoys hearing from Cheney when he's bashing President Obama, Hillary Clinton, or other Democrats.

But why is o"connor certain that Cheney will be "a flash point in the 2016 debate"? As Salon's Simon Maloy notes, the party is already so Cheneyesque, Rand Paul perhaps excepted, that Cheney himself is all but irrelevant:
What, exactly, is Cheney bringing to the table that isn’t already there? Given that the cause of neoconservatism is still broadly accepted among the 2016 Republicans, Cheney’s main contribution is his name and glowering visage, neither of which are especially popular outside the realm of conservative activism. One could argue that the smarter play for Cheney, in terms of promoting his ideology, is to just sit back and let the candidates keep doing it for him and not let his reputation become a factor. But that’s just not how he operates. He’s determined to fight for the hearts and minds of people who still love him and already think like him.
Either Cheney thinks Paul will hijack the party or he's feeling irrelevant in his old age and can't bear the thought. He's plugging his forthcoming book three months before it hits the stands for one reason or the other.

O'Connor assures us thatCheney's still important!
Mr. Cheney already exerts quiet influence over his party, making semiregular trips to the Capitol to address House Republicans and advising some GOP White House hopefuls. He wouldn’t discuss those conversations. Two of his top foreign-policy aides have signed on with Jeb Bush. And he is headlining donor events all over the country for the Republican National Committee.
And stalwart in the face of criticism!
Never one to obsess about his public standing, Mr. Cheney remains an unapologetic advocate for American military strength.
And prescient!
... with the Middle East engulfed in violence and Mr. Putin threatening Eastern Europe, Americans are increasingly anxious about national security. And while much of the country remains leery about future military engagements, surveys show a growing appetite for the U.S. to be more active on the world stage.
And fearless!
In Casper, Mr. Cheney wandered into the arena without security.
And grandfatherly!
He also has become something of a regular on the Wyoming high-school rodeo circuit, ferrying his 13-year-old granddaughter, Gracie Perry, to competitions, in what has become a weekend ritual for both. She competes in barrel racing, in which riders race horses around three barrels, and pole-bending, a slight variation.

Mr. Cheney drives his black Ford 350 Super Duty truck, with a horse trailer hitched to the back, often logging hundreds of miles between events. Because the events typically last all weekend, the pair often sleeps in the trailer -- Mr. Cheney on a mattress over the cab, and Gracie on an adjoining couch.
There's a Sunset Boulevard quality to this Journal profile -- but there's a Sunset Boulevard quality to most of Cheney's incessant rabble-rousing. It seems as if he can't bear the thought that we no longer yearn for his gentle yet manly reassurance that we'll be safe from the night terrors. It's sad, really.


aimai said...

Did he really expect that he would retire to being a grand old man, two terms into a democratic president, with people lining up to suck up to him like he was still VP or head of halliburton?

James Stapleton said...

Will no one rid us of this meddlesome Dick?

Victor said...

Dick Cheney:
A tragic waste of a perfectly good heart.

oc democrat said...

"There's a Sunset Boulevard quality to this Journal profile"

SOOO, if Dick is Gloria, who is Bill?

I go for Joni Earnst, the famous hog CASTRATOR from Iowa.

I'm calling it now. Joni will be the Republican VP candidate with whatever old white man they decide on. Sorry Ben, Carlie, Mario, and TEDDY among the many other clowns.

Aunt Snow said...

Ugh. Nauseating.

Mike McCarthy said...

Cheney is an old with a bad heart and millions of dollars. There's no way he sleeps in his truck. None.

John Taylor said...

There's people who love Dick Cheney?

ladyblug said...

OH for fuck sake~ when will he die?

theHatist said...

Seems like any real reporter would say something more like this:

"... with the Middle East engulfed in violence (arising directly from the failure of American foreign policy's attempts to subjugate the area, install dictators friendlier to American business interests than their own citizens, and extract as much of the natural resources from the area as possible) and thought of another entirely pointless Cold War, Americans are increasingly anxious about slowly bleeding to death from a thousand self-inflicted wounds.

"And while much of the country remains leery about future military engagements, surveys show the for-profit military-industrial complex's growing appetite for the U.S. to be more active on the world stage will no doubt be the driving factor in Washington."