Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Former Vice-President Dick Cheney’s non-stop media/talk show/interview/please-look-at-me tour continues, with frequent appearances on the FOX network, and scripted sound bites created to cause sensation. Wondering what is going on with Dick? I have a feeling he’s a bit desperate for attention. This is the first time in decades he has not been front and center in something. A brief chronology: Political intern for a Wisconsin Congressman; eventually White House Chief of Staff during the Ford administration, followed by five terms in Congress, and ultimately Secretary of Defense for the senior George Bush. He made his fortune (variously estimated from $30 – 100 million) as CEO of Halliburton – don’t get me started – and then re-upped in government as V.P. to Bush, Jr. Impressive, huh? Well, yes, if you consider the fact that he was barely seen for Bush’s two terms. He was evidently in the secure location that Joe Biden recently revealed.

Well, now Dick is jobless, not terribly relevant to the Republican Party, working with his daughter on a memoir that has yet to be contracted by a major publisher, and gallivanting around the country gamely trying to defend the miserable, failed record of the Bush administration. He is about as unpopular a public figure as one can be – the Spring Gallup poll indicates he barely has a 30% approval rating among American citizens. Still, he’s everywhere: he’s on cable, he’s on network, he’s in major dailies, and he’s even in the Huffington Post, regularly. He's signing autographs outside of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, for God’s sake. Yesterday he even spouted off something that sounds like support for gay marriage: "I think, you know, freedom means freedom for everyone," Cheney said in a speech at the National Press Club. "I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, any kind of arrangement they wish." Huh? Evidently, if you have a gay daughter, like Dick’s daughter, your neocon brain cells soften on certain issues. Gosh, I wonder what might have happened had he had offspring who had been subject to torture.

Some recent sound bites from our man Dick:
Waterboarding, according to Dick:
“I’m a strong believer in it. I thought it was well done.”

On his desire for Obama to release information on the results of the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” [read: Torture]:
“I would not ordinarily be leading the charge to declassify classified information, otherwise they wouldn't call me Darth Vader for nothing.” (Cheney, widely seen as the most secretive Vice-President in recent U.S. history, recently told FOX News host Greta Van Sustern that the Obama administration has “fallen short” of its promise of transparency).

Guantanamo, according to Dick:
“If you don't have a place where you can hold these people, the only other option is to kill them, and we don't operate that way." (Apparently Dick believes the U.S. prison system is substandard and incapable of holding alleged violent criminals)

On Saddam Hussein and 9/11:
"I do not believe and have never seen any evidence to confirm that [Hussein] was involved in 9/11. We had that reporting for a while, [but] eventually it turned out not to be true." (This, despite the numerous instances throughout the Bush years when Cheney asserted a direct link between Iraq and 9/11)

Dick Cheney is nothing more than the Norma Desmond of the GOP. Can’t give up the spotlight, can’t accept his own irrelevance in the current political conversation and cannot go graciously into that good night. The former Secretary of the Defense who somehow strategized five military deferments for himself during the Vietnam War is underestimating the collective wisdom of the American people. We see Dick as the former CEO of Halliburton who clandestinely saw to it that Halliburton was awarded hundreds of millions of dollars of non-competitive contracts as part of the Gulf War in 2003. We view Dick as the vice-president who illegally strategized a leak to journalists that revealed the identity of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame. We do not respect Dick Cheney and we certainly do not see him as some sort of elder statesman. Instead, he is easily lumped into the same embarrassing category as other noisy types like Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachman.

All we can do is hope and pray that Dick’s current manipulation of the media will soon stop and that he will realize it is way too late for his closeup. The time for him to come forward and express himself was years ago when he chose to hide from the citizenry. We have now grown accustomed to his absence, and no matter how many Sunday morning talk shows he frequents, we’re tuning out. Please, please…say goodnight, Dick.

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