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What I Would Do If I Were Cheney

February 13th, 2010 at 10:21 pm David Frum | 33 Comments |

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Former VP Cheney will appear Sunday morning on ABC’s This Week. The appearance prompts Politico to predict:

it’s a safe bet what he will say: President Barack Obama projects weakness to terrorists and puts American lives at risk.

It’s the kind of brutal charge — nuance-free and politically explosive — that has become a Cheney specialty since he left office 13 months ago.

But here’s the interesting thing: Over those 13 months, President Obama has not made good on his promise to close Guantanamo. He has backed away from civilian trials in New York City for terror suspects. He has repudiated liberal talk of investigations and prosecutions of Bush administration lawyers and security personnel. The troops remain in Iraq, reinforcements are arriving in Afghanistan. In almost every respect, the Obama administration is much more continuous than discontinuous with the Bush-Cheney administration.

If I were Cheney, I’d highlight this continuity. Instead of slamming Obama, I’d answer every question with a quiet smile: “Well obviously rhetoric gets heated on the campaign trail. But President Bush and I are very pleased to see that our successors have recognized the essential rightness of our actions and that they are continuing them in every essential respect.”

Such a claim would have the merits of

1) powerfully vindicating my own actions;

2) driving my successors stark raving nuts; and

3) being true.

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33 Comments so far ↓

  • Carney

    The left never gives us an ounce of credit; they instead realize the importance of keeping the pressure on.

    On foreign policy, no matter how much ground Bush unnecessarily gave up, such as going to the UN seeking a permission slip to resume the Gulf War that Saddam had legally resumed years before by violating the cease fire, or asking every nation on Earth to help as much as it was willing or able, he was always an aggressor and a go-it-alone cowboy.

    On economics, no matter how big or generous entitlements get or how fat and lazy the underclass gets, we’re always top-hatted Scrooges, guffawing as we zoom by starving matchstick selling waifs in our limousines, splashing them with freezing slush.

    On race, no matter how pervasive and creepy the diversity cult and its propaganda is, how enormous and intrusive the “civil rights” bureaucracy is or how insanely zealous the search for “racists” behind every tree and under every bed becomes, we are always Klansmen in suits.

    They realize this keeps us off balance, on the defensive, and lets them constantly ratchet, ratchet, ratchet the agenda in their direction, so that what was unthinkable yesterday becomes controversial today, debatable tomorrow, fashionable the next day, and irreversible policy the day after that. After which they push push push for more.

    So no. Don’t give them an ounce of credit. Keep smashing away at them right in the face as the security-endangering wimps they are.

  • msmilack

    He will never take your advice because it is reasoned and based in fact. His motivations are fueled by a set of complex emotions that have nothing to do with what you or I might consider important to say nothing of larger than ourselves. He hates that the world views him as a war criminal; yet also, he knows how many laws he has broken; the tension between those two facts drive him crazy, not for reasons of conscience but for reasons of pride and arrogance. He’s a reactionary (as in react rather than respond to any issue). Bottom line: it’s not about the Bush administration: it’s about him, personally, and always has been. Everytime I see Liz Cheney defending the indefensible, he looks to me like a pimp to say nothing of a bad parent who sacrifices everything to assert control over the past as well as the present. Interesting footnote. Not to get too Freudian but to my eye, he is a deeply troubled individual who, at root, has no self respect and therefore is unable to respect anyone else. He lacks empathy and so is not motivated by noble emotions. You offer practical advice that would make sense to a person who could hear you: he cannot.

  • Mandos

    “how fat and lazy the underclass gets”

    The comedy writes itself.

  • Jim_M

    GO DICK !!!!

  • balconesfault

    Mandos // Feb 13, 2010 at 11:32 pm
    “how fat and lazy the underclass gets”

    The comedy writes itself.

    Indeed.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucky_duckies

  • msmilack

    New amusing piece by M. Dowd where she imagines a conversation between Obama and Cheney.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/opinion/14dowd.html

  • msmilack

    Mandos or Balconesfault:

    Forgive my ignorance but I wonder if you might briefly explain what the quote about the underclass means in relation to Cheney? I genuinely don’t get it and want to understand. A little enlightenment would be much appreciated. Thanks.
    msmilack

  • Shotgun314159

    I wish this were a “Nixon, Frost” interview.
    Hope springs eternal.

  • balconesfault

    Forgive my ignorance but I wonder if you might briefly explain what the quote about the underclass means in relation to Cheney?

    Just a little mockery of Carney’s “throw shit against the wall and see what sticks” salvo. If you don’t actually read Carney’s comments (which isn’t the worst idea, granted) it would seem out of place.

    I have little to say about Cheney. The 1% doctrine says it all. History will not be kind to him, nor to our generation for having allowed him to grab as much power as he did.

  • sinz54

    A smothering embrace rather than a denunciation can work–but only if the public prefers embrace to denunciation. LBJ embraced, rather than denounced, George Romney’s criticism of LBJ’s foreign policy–but most Americans at the time wanted LBJ to succeed in Vietnam if at all possible.

    Today, polls show that Cheney remains unpopular with most Americans; but most Americans are also critical of some of Obama’s foreign policy choices, such as his decision to try KSM by civilian court in New York City. So Cheney has nothing to gain by embracing the Obama foreign policy.

    Hence the political climate would seem to favor more denunciation rather than embrace.

  • teabag

    Telling the truth for once might be a good thing for Dickhead to do. This has to be the most obnoxious man in the USA by a long way.

    The sneering “so what” ” go fuck yourself”, “deficits don’t matter” slime-ball should be in a prison convicted of war crimes. Instead he is free to puke lies and bile all over the airwaves.

  • anniemargret

    Cheney lied and lies.

    No one cares what Cheney says. His word is tarnished as far as I’m concerned. And most Americans do not trust his judgment or his opinion .

    Rightly so.

  • Carney

    The underclass IS fat. Ours is the first generation in which thin-ness is a sign of being in the elite, and fatness a sign of poverty.

    And does anyone truly doubt that the majority of the underclass is not disabled and is perfectly physically and mentally capable of performing at least entry-level work of some kind? That a culture of dependence, contempt for honest and humble labor, and sloth is a significant part of underclass culture? The excuses of “no jobs” ring hollow when the underclass themselves commit crimes and vote in soak-the-employer politicians and thus drive away their own jobs.

  • Mandos

    The “underclass” didn’t drive away their own jobs, the employer shipped them to China. I wish they would soak the employer. They eventually will, in BBQ sauce.

    But the funniest thing is the Old Oligarchian contempt that conservatives have for The People whom they profess to love and defend from The Eleet.

  • msmilack

    Mandos and Balconesfault:
    Thanks for explaining.
    msmilack

  • athensboy

    Cheney has the millions to be retired,soaking up the sun in the Bahama’s….but no, his vile and hatred can’t let him rest. He must go on tv to sneer and spread his neo-con lies. There is a special place in Hell for cretins like Cheney.What a pathetic excuse for a human being.

  • msmilack

    Terrific piece by Andrew Sullivan that offers a psychological profile of Cheney:

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2009/05/full-cheney-panic.html

  • sdspringy

    The Big Lie, Bush/Cheney will soon be eclipsed by the even Larger Obama/Biden. Lets review.

    Obama stated the Iraq surge would fail. Biden not only stated that the surge would fail he went even further detailing a three state solution.
    Now Iraq will be one of THEIR administration finest achievements. Obviously by accepting every one of the Bush/Cheney directives in place before Obama took office.

    And further Obama will take a military strategy he once stated would fail and now applies it to his own war. Is not imitation the sincerest form of flattery?

    Once the Left railed against the domestic spying, monitoring of phone calls which originated overseas to this country.
    Now we hear from this administration there is no reasonable expectation of privacy when using our personal cellphones. No outcry from the LEFT. Either you are ignorant or merely accepting but I would state that most of you are actually partisan hacks who would literally drop your pants and bend over if asked to by this administration. Obviously taking inspiration from your commander and chief who seem to enjoy bending over in front of everyone he shakes hands with.

  • balconesfault

    Now Iraq will be one of THEIR administration finest achievements. Obviously by accepting every one of the Bush/Cheney directives in place before Obama took office.

    Including acceptance of the Status of Forces Agreement as signed by the Bush Admininstration, and withdrawing troops on the schedule proscribed – contrary to the calls by many conservatives that the new Administration try to renegotiate the agreement in order to remain in Iraq longer. Many observers have credited the US continuing to withdraw from the fighting and reducing troops on schedule is a major reason for the reduction in violence in Iraq.

    That said, there is no evidence that the surge in Iraq alone would have worked – it took being willing to pay off the Sunni warlords who had been fighting US troops, to get them turn their guns on Al Qaeda, and it took the Iranians instructing al Sadr not to elevate Shiite militia violence in the cities in response to the surge.

    Now we hear from this administration there is no reasonable expectation of privacy when using our personal cellphones. No outcry from the LEFT.

    Nice to see that you’re admitting that the ACLU, who has filed a lawsuit against the DOJ soliciting real time cell phone tracking records (a practice that was begun under Bush), isn’t really a leftist organization – but rather an organization concerned with preserving American’s civil liberties.

    Maybe you can others about this revelation.

  • Carney

    Mandos, American conservatives respect and advocate for the middle class and its bourgeois values of faith and family, and the blue collar working class as well.

    The Democratic Party is a “sandwich” of the smug elite on top that competes among itself to see who is more ostentatiously generous, especially with other people’s money; and on bottom the underclass of criminals, welfare recipients. The Republican Party’s base is caught in the middle.

  • sdspringy

    I doubt your analysis of the surge. The Sunni were not willing to confront Al Qaeda on the own, no matter the money involved. It required some indication that America was in-it-to-win-it, which was the Surge. Which I will remind you again both Obama/Biden stated would fail. No getting around that.

    My comments are more directed to your hypocrisy Balcon. While during the Bush years you were more than willing to denounce those administration’s policies but now you are mute. Even though the new policies of the Obama administration are even more intrusive. No screams of protest, no howls of indignation concerning your civil rights.

  • sinz54

    Mandos: The “underclass” didn’t drive away their own jobs, the employer shipped them to China.
    If YOU were running your own business,
    you would do exactly the same thing.

    Because if labor costs are higher than those of your competitors, you have to pass labor costs on to your customers in the form of higher prices. And you would go out of business.

  • sinz54

    Carney:

    “Mandos” is not a liberal Democrat. He’s an out-and-out socialist. A real one. At least as far to the left as Bernie Sanders (who is also not a Democrat).

  • sinz54

    sdspringy: now you are mute. Even though the new policies of the Obama administration are even more intrusive. No screams of protest, no howls of indignation concerning your civil rights.
    The opposition of the doctrinaire Left to military commisions, to Gitmo, and even to Obama’s surge in Afghanistan continues. On left-wing blogs, they even oppose Attorney General Holder’s attempt to seek the death penalty for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

    They’re not hypocrites about this. They’re genuine cynics about America who despise any and all actions America is forced to take unilaterally–on anything.

    I’m getting sick and tired of hearing from this loons about how much more “civilized” Canada and Europe are than America.

  • balconesfault

    sdspringy: While during the Bush years you were more than willing to denounce those administration’s policies but now you are mute. Even though the new policies of the Obama administration are even more intrusive. No screams of protest, no howls of indignation concerning your civil rights.

    Well, frankly, the discussion about the Obama Administrations continuing the use of many of the extra-legal tools that were started by Bush-Cheney has not been a subject of discussion here. I can assure you that in other forums I have been vocal about it.

    For the record, since you brought it up, there have been numerous things about the Obama Administration’s surveillance methods that are disturbing. That said, I consider it a good thing that they are taking the action of applying to the Federal Circuit Court for interpretations on programs like the cell phone data collection, rather than just having some DOJ lawyer writing a memo that says “All Good”, and then sticking it in a file cabinet somewhere while not telling people they’re doing it.

    It is not a good excuse from the perspective of a serious civil libertarian, but I suspect that the Obama Administration has been continuing some of these practices simply because any time they try to make any move away from the Bush era practices, you end up with Dick Cheney on TV calling you out publicly for weakening America, and a cadre of NRO and Fox commentators echoing his claims. Politically it is a very difficult position.

    But let’s face it – there is absolutely no evidence that the Obama Administration has been “more intrusive”. Perhaps if you’re a Republican partisan, it bothers you for a Democratic Administration to be practicing the surveillance and information collection techniques instead of a Republican Administration – but that’s the reason that many of us were protesting those methods under Bush.

    For the record, I don’t want the Democrats to torture detainees, either.

  • balconesfault

    Sinz: If YOU were running your own business,
    you would do exactly the same thing.

    Because if labor costs are higher than those of your competitors, you have to pass labor costs on to your customers in the form of higher prices. And you would go out of business.

    Exactly so.

    But Mandos was responding here to the claim that the poor are some kind of Lucky Duckies, who drove their jobs abroad because they wouldn’t work cheaply enough.

    That is true, perhaps.

    So let’s say that we eliminate the minimum wage, as some conservatives call for – and allow our workers to compete with the South Asian labor force. Considering quality control, transportation costs, etc … perhaps corporations would be able to pay garment workers more in the US and still maintain competitiveness.

    How much more? Well, let’s say Americans in that industry could make $1.00 an hour. Or what the hell – let’s splurge, and say $1.50 an hour.

    So that American worker, on an annual basis, could actually be earning $around $3120 working full time. Forget about time and a half overtime, since that would make them non-competitive – but they’re fat and lazy, so why not 60 hour work weeks? They could get them up to $4680 a year.

    Let’s see … a semi-decent apartment anywhere in America runs a bare minimum of about $500 a month with utilities. Food for a family of 4 costs at least $4000 a year, I’d think. Gotta keep the kids clothed, and employers do expect a certain standard of dress … so about $500 a year to keep presentable? That gets us up to around $10,500 a year. So if mom and dad are working, one of the kids better be putting in a few hours as well.

    And you have to get to work – so even without a car, you’ve got to figure at minimum $3 a day per worker in the family for public transit. So in reality, that $18 mom or dad earns (pre tax, of course) every 12 hour day is really going to be $15 … so maybe they’re really making $4000 a year?

    And God help them if anyone gets sick and has to miss a few days.

    But yeah – it’s the fault of the American worker that those factory jobs went overseas. Tell us more about how unions wrecked America, thank you.

  • LFC

    sdspringy said… I doubt your analysis of the surge. The Sunni were not willing to confront Al Qaeda on the own, no matter the money involved. It required some indication that America was in-it-to-win-it, which was the Surge.

    That is well after the fact wishful thinking on your part. Every indication coming out of Iraq and out of our own military was that we had a bunch of unemployed men with weapons that needed a way to make money. Additionally, they were sick of AQ blowing them up. Also, the program to pay the insurgents started BEFORE we put 50,000 additional troops in.

    Which I will remind you again both Obama/Biden stated would fail. No getting around that.

    Actually, there is a huge, massive, hard to miss unless you’re closing your eyes way around that. The Surge ™ was pitched to all and every by the Bush administration as a troop increase, end of story. There is no getting around that. Even McCain is on YouTube saying it wouldn’t work because it wasn’t enough troops.

    Per Gen. Petraeus himself, the single most effective thing done was paying off the insurgents. This was implemented by a Colonel, and was not sanctioned by the Bush administration until after it became obvious that it was working (again, BEFORE the extra 50,000 troops were sent). In fact, one investigative author said that the Bush administration turned down this very program 2 years earlier!!! How many of our troops died due to their incompetence on that front?

    Now if the Bush administration had told us that The Surge ™ was 50,000 extra troops PLUS co-opting of the insurgents through payments, then you’d have a point. But they didn’t say that. Well, not until AFTER it was clearly obvious what worked, and then they said it was part of the plan the whole time. Another classic Cheney attempt to re-write history.

    Of course, if I had Cheney’s current reputation as being an incompetence, sadistic, dishonest war criminal, I might be spinning feverishly too, along with his daughter who obviously has daddy issues a mile wide.

  • balconesfault

    In fact, one investigative author said that the Bush administration turned down this very program 2 years earlier!!! How many of our troops died due to their incompetence on that front?

    What was the difference?

    One Donald Rumsfeld.

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  • sinz54

    balconesfault: But yeah – it’s the fault of the American worker that those factory jobs went overseas. Tell us more about how unions wrecked America, thank you.
    Let’s get something straight.

    I don’t believe that.

    I didn’t claim that unions “wrecked” America by bidding up wages and prices. My own father had been a union shop steward, very active in the union local where he worked as a shoe machine operator. (That was when America still had a thriving shoe manufacturing industry in the North.)

    In fact, I don’t think there was any deliberate “wrecking”–not by unions and not by capitalists.

    All that’s happened is that the economic dominance America gained in World War II by seeing all our potential economic competitors in Europe and Japan clobbered is now gone–but we still think and act like that dominance is still real. It isn’t anymore.

    Europe and Japan rebuilt themselves. The collapse of Communism which followed the end of the Cold War created a lot of new economic competitors. India threw away socialism, embraced capitalism, and is now a thriving economic power. Brazil is a thriving economic power. Singapore and South Korea are thriving economic powers.

    So now American workers are competing with lots of foreign workers.

    But we got it ingrained into our DNA that America was the undisputed world economic power just like it was in 1948. We need to adjust to a new reality.

  • sinz54

    balconesfault:

    If there has been any “wrecking,” it’s been by some of the public-employee unions, most notably AFSCME and the teachers’ unions. NOT the private-sector unions.

    AFSCME has a vested interest in expanding state and local government bureaucracies at the taxpayer’s expense. That hurts the private sector, both business and labor.

    The teachers’ unions have a vested interest in maintaining tenure for incompetent teachers and preventing any competition such as charter schools. That hurts America because our kids won’t get the education they need to compete with highly educated foreign workers.

    So I draw a sharp distinction between private sector unions (for which I have some respect) versus public sector unions (for which I have no respect).

  • DFL

    Richard Cheney is a dishonorable man. The sooner his face stops popping up on the TV screen, the better for conservatives and the Republican Party. Democratic poll numbers must go up every time Cheney makes the news. He is King Midas in Reverse.

  • GOProud

    LFC-DFL “trolls for Obama” spins: “Of course, if I had Cheney’s current reputation as being an incompetence, sadistic, dishonest war criminal, I might be spinning feverishly too, along with his daughter who obviously has daddy issues a mile wide.”

    Well, that’s a reputation only shared with DailyKos and DemocratUnderground trolls, pal. Most Americans now view Cheney favorably –each time the Obami Cult takes aim at Cheney and he levels their argument with wit, precision and credibility… Cheney’s favorables jump 6-8 points. It happened on the first slug-fest about waterboarding while the Obami were still measuring the Oval Office for drapes. It happened on the second slug-fest when the Obami mused that CIA agents should be tried for war crimes. And it happened this weekend when the Obami sent out their drunken Irishman and silly Veep-wanna-be LyinJoeBiden to try an offset the truth Mr Cheney was sharing –that Obama is weak on terrorists, Obama is a conscientious objector on the War on Terror, he’s a Coward on Iraq and his plans to deal with Gitmo and civie trials are pre-9/11 flashbacks to a less safe, more dangerous time.

    Of course, Obama doesn’t have to worry about his family being killed on some commercial flight by terrorists in the next 3 yrs –like many Americans should be worried right now. Afterall, according to the Obami, these are all random, disconnected events perpetrated by lone, crazy people who’ve fallen off their meds.

    I wonder if Bill Ayers is Obama’s chief adviser on terrorist threats now? He’s got the credentials of past experience –even if he couldn’t figure out how to ignite the bombs he planted in US police stations and recruiting offices.