Sunday, April 26, 2009


Opening sentence of John Harwood's article on Dick Cheney in the New York Times Week in Review section:

Dick Cheney became a one-of-a-kind vice president for two reasons: he cared deeply about governance, and not a bit about his future political standing.

Wow. Don't you just love that? Cheney "cared deeply about governance." Yup -- kinda the way Timothy McVeigh "cared deeply" about the power balance between ordinary citizens and the federal government, or Eric Rudolph "cared deeply" about the decline of traditional morality, or Bull Connor "cared deeply" about law and order.

Harwood's subject is Cheney's series of attacks on the Obama administration. Surely, to Harwood, there must be some unusual circumstance that's making Cheney attack a sitting president within weeks of his inauguration. We must be in quite unprecendented circumstances:

In the first months of the Reagan Revolution, Mr. Carter and his vice president, Walter Mondale, "never attacked us," Martin Anderson, the White House domestic policy chief under Mr. Reagan, recalled. Such etiquette flowed in no small measure from political realities. Mr. Reagan's decisive victory in 1980 made it clear that American voters wanted to turn the page.

As opposed to now, I guess, when the results of the last election (and public opinion polls) make clear that Americans want more of the same! Right?

Um, no -- here's what's unusual now:

Former vice presidents often have other reasons for keeping quiet. Mr. Mondale was contemplating his own run for the White House and was intent on presenting himself as a viable candidate, rather than on defending the president he had served. The same held for other former vice presidents eying the presidency: Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, George H. W. Bush, Al Gore.

But Mr. Cheney is an altogether different case. No one expects another campaign from him, freeing him to speak his mind. "If he were running for office he'd be tempered more by how it would appear," the presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin said. "His main constituency right now is history."

Oh, right -- because actual presidential aspirants such as Mark Sanford, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, and Bobby Jindal are being so cautious in what they say about the Obama administration, aren't they? Why, we barely hear a peep from any of them! (Smacks forehead.) Of course! That must be it!

Oh, and there's one other possible explanation -- Cheney can't not attack Obama! Obama's forcing him to attack!

Some veterans of the Bush White House say Mr. Cheney had little choice but to speak out given the barbs directed his way by Mr. Obama, who -- in a pointed rejoinder to the Bush administration's interrogation policies -- said, "we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals."

Hey, what do you expect? If Obama wears that dress, of course guys are going to pounce! That's their nature! It's Obama's fault!

Yes, yes, somehow Donald Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft, Condoleezza Rice, and even W himself are managing to avoid responsing to this provocation. But I guess Cheney's animal spirits are so vigorous that he can't help himself. Blame Obama!

No comments: