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.