Dick Cheney embodies much that is wrong with today’s America

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In an interview this week, talk show host Hugh Hewitt asked former Vice President Dick Cheney whether President Obama was being naive in his approach toward Iran. Cheney chose a different explanation:

“I vacillate between the various theories I’ve heard, but you know, if you had somebody as president who wanted to take America down, who wanted to fundamentally weaken our position in the world and reduce our capacity to influence events, turn our back on our allies and encourage our adversaries, it would look exactly like what Barack Obama’s doing.”

In more rational times, in fact in almost any other time in American history, the suggestion that a U.S. president is willfully attempting to undermine the country from within — that he in fact is committing treason — would disqualify the speaker from further serious discourse. Even at the deepest depths of the Iraq War, for example, top Democratic leaders certainly questioned Cheney’s judgment and wisdom, but they did not publicly question his patriotism. They left conspiratorial muttering about Halliburton stock, etc., to the chatrooms, blogs, email chains and occasional backbenchers, where it belonged.

It is also hard to imagine previous generations of Republican leaders publicly suggesting such a thing about a sitting American president. Those times are gone, however, and Cheney is hardly an isolated example of that fact. To the contrary, the former vice president is expressing and validating a strong undercurrent in modern GOP politics that attempts to delegitemize its opponents and thus warp the entire democratic process. Rudy Giuliani also tapped into it the other day, confessing that “I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

Typically, the same people who peddle such nonsense will then turn around and accuse Obama of being a divisive president, as if Obama is responsible for the paranoia that is running through their synapses. The reality is that such theories were widespread within the Republican base long before Obama even served a day in the White House, and you can see it flower in the birther nonsense, the whitey tape, etc.

It would be nice to be able to brush such craziness aside as inconsequential, but it is not. For democracy to work, it requires a deep and mutual understanding among all parties that while we differ on the details, we’re at least all acting in good faith. The other side may be misinformed, dumb, incompetent or any number of things, but we at least have to allow that they are patriotic in their mistakes. And while that good-faith understanding will get bruised from time to time in the rugby scrum that is self-governance,  it remains essential. In countries such as Iraq, where democracy has proved unable to take root, it’s usually because that minimal belief in the good faith of your opponents is absent.

On the other hand, if you’ve convinced yourself that a president or party is out to harm America, that its mistakes are not honest mistakes but something more nefarious, then you not only have an excuse to oppose everything that president or party does, you have an obligation to do so. It becomes your patriotic duty. It becomes the prism through which you see everything, and through that prism even the perfectly innocent becomes evidence of treason.

For example, at another point during his interview, Hewitt played a soundbite in which Obama noted that “it’s important to recognize that Iran’s a complicated country, just like we’re a complicated country.” Hewitt then turned to Liz Cheney, Dick’s daughter and co-author of the new book they’re peddling.

Hewitt: “Liz Cheney, is Iran a complicated country just like we’re a complicated country?”

Liz Cheney: “Boy, Hugh, I cannot even imagine an American president saying any sentence that has Iran in it and says they’re just like us. I mean, it’s outrageous.”

Again, it’s just plain nuts. What kind of mind immediately twists Obama’s vanilla statement that “Iran is a complicated country, just like we’re a complicated country” into some sort of attack upon the United States? The fact it occurs instantaneously within the mind of Liz Cheney tells you how instinctive it has become for too many.

One final point: Asked in the Hewitt interview about Iran and the pending nuclear deal, our former vice president offered a stark assessment.

“This is a totally radical regime that is the premiere sponsor of state terrorism in the world, and Obama’s about to give them nuclear weapons. It’s — I can’t think of a more terrible burden to leave the next president than what Obama is creating here.”

For the record, during the administration in which Cheney served and played a prominent role in guiding foreign policy, Iran’s nuclear program went from rudimentary and primitive to highly sophisticated. By 2008-2009, it was churning out substantial quantities of the highly enriched uranium needed to build a bomb and carrying out important research into the design of such a bomb. The Bush administration failed to even slow that program, and in fact it acted as if it was utterly helpless to do so. By any measure, the Obama administration has already been far more successful.

And thanks to the invasion of Iraq that Cheney championed, an invasion that removed an important Sunni counterweight to Iran and in some ways turned that nation into a Shiite satellite of Tehran, Iran’s strategic influence throughout the Middle East was much stronger by the time Cheney and President Bush left office than when they first took the oath.

That was the world as they handed it to their successor, a world molded by their own incompetence, bad judgment, wishful thinking and the very same intellectual arrogance that still emanates from Cheney like radiation from a dark star that has collapsed in upon itself.

But wrong as he has proved himself to be, and for all the damage that he has done, I still accept that somehow, in some strange way, he has the nation’s best interest at heart.

 

Reader Comments 0

1037 comments
ComradeAnon
ComradeAnon

He forgot to mention "states rights". Racist f ck.

Jeff Kelly
Jeff Kelly

Patriotism matters not in comparison to unbridled capitalistic greed.  

Bill OrvisWhite
Bill OrvisWhite

The honorable Vice President Richard B. Cheney understands the many threats against our freedoms. Vice President Cheney knows all about jihad. We were safe under Vice President Cheney. We were happier. We were prosperous. We had a strong country with strong values. 


The Hussein Obama administration is unbelievably clueless on the concept of discovering terrorists and rooting them out no matter where they exist. I only wish that we had a fourth Bush term whereby we would end up being far safer than we are today. 


Amen, Bill 

Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson

The article overlooks one significant fact that overrides all other Republican considerations; President Obama is black and the GOP can't stand that a black man has succeeded, twice, to the highest office in the land by relying on vision, clearly articulated policies, and leadership instead of craven crawling to the wealthy and powerful.  In the view of the GOP, the only explanation is insane conspiracy theories bolstered by repeating lies.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@Brian Wilson 

I would not presume to guess to what extent his color drives the hatred many direct towards our President, but, considering the virulence and irrationality displayed, it seems it would have to be in the mix.

honested
honested

@Brian Wilson

It's all they know how to do.

Why do we elect people who sell out for 40 million pieces of silver?

Bill OrvisWhite
Bill OrvisWhite

@Brian Wilson Playing the race card here shows how you lose the argument on this board. FACT: Hussein Obama is a failed "president" who is both arrogant and incompetent. Hussein Obama has wrecked our economy, made us a weak country and has created a malaise that makes the failed Jimmy Carter years look like a picnic compared to the disaster that we are currently living through at the moment. Please remove your head from the sand and realize that the only answer to cleaning up Hussein Obama's mess is to elect Republicans back to The Oval Office and Congress. Good night. Amen, Bill 

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

Off topic - I'd like to share some concerns about the Walter Scott murder.

The officer radioed in that "he got my taser."  He seems, in the video, to place the taser near the victim's corpse.

He obvious had given a certain amount of thought to framing the victim.  One wonders if (how many times) he had done this before.

So, was he a lone psychopath, or was (is) this type of thing a topic of discussion among his "brothers in blue"?  How prevalent is this type of thing nationwide - how often does it happen? 

How many officers/coroners/DAs are involved in conspiracies to subvert justice?  I suspect the number is higher than we think, and I am disheartened...

Jackie_36
Jackie_36

@Nick_Danger It is worse than we probably know.

In the case of the officer who killed Mr. Scott, another citizen complained about the officer forcing his way into his house without a search warrant, using the taser on him with his family present.  The gentleman complain to the Chief of Police and it was summarily dismissed.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@Jackie_36 @Nick_Danger 

I occasionally have hopes that this will be a turning point - that this will be the case that cause LEOs to look at themselves, and LEO organizations to decide to police themselves honestly and fairly - but usually, that just seems so unlikely...

JamVet
JamVet

But wrong as he has proved himself to be, and for all the damage that he has done, I still accept that somehow, in some strange way, he has the nation’s best interest at heart.

He reminds me of another embarrassing, ugly, untruthful and immoral little man who said, "There's no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate..."


straker
straker

Lenin - "that's quite a list"


In the gullible conned land, anything bad about Obama is possible.

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

This just in.  Scientists are trying to confirm the source of a huge methane cloud hovering over the red states.  Bwah hahahahaha!

Doggone_GA
Doggone_GA

Got some bad sounding thunder out here near Gainesville

LeninTime
LeninTime

@Bulls_3y3 

Obama's failed negotiations : "Russia Reset", Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Crimea, Cuba, Venezuela  etc....

***

Wow, that's quite a list. 

How exactly did Obama negotiate with Libya? And how has he been negotiating with Venezuela?

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@LeninTime @Bulls_3y3 

And, how is Cuba a failure?  (we already know the answer's "because Obama, that's why!")

Conservatives seem to think that the President is supposed to control what leaders of other countries will do.  However, they only seem to believe this when the President is a democrat.

It's a pretty silly belief...

Kamchak
Kamchak

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/09/us-usa-religion-poll-idUSKBN0N00A720150409

A majority of Americans believe businesses should not be allowed to refuse services based on their religious beliefs in the wake of controversies in Indiana and Arkansas over gay rights and religious freedom, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found on Thursday.

The poll, conducted April 6 to 8, also found that 52 percent of Americans support allowing same-sex couples to marry, far more than the 32 percent who oppose it.

[...]

 Fifty-four percent said it was wrong for businesses to refuse services, while 28 percent said they should have that right. And 55 percent said businesses should not have the right to refuse to hire certain people or groups based on the employer's religious beliefs, while 27 percent said businesses should have the right.

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

@Kamchak yep -  27, 28, 25, 30 - that same number, every time.

I wonder (aloud) if the percentage of goats molested is in that same range. 

Juanx
Juanx

I do not entertain the thought that the Cheney's are operating in a vacuum, on Thursday April 9, 2014 Rush Limbaugh announced, "I have advised all GOP Presidential Candidates to attack Hillary Clinton regardless of whether she declares or not".


There is an on going effort in the GOP to undermine any and all issues being addressed in foreign affairs by any administration not led by the GOP. While the States elect GOP blocks, we Americans must not the GOP any where near the White House.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Juanx we Americans must not the GOP any where near the White House.


Especially now that they control Congress ( I see them giving the Senate back in 2016 )


The concept of a GOP WH AND Congress is truly frightening. 

Paul42
Paul42

Okay, Bulls_3y3, it's a simple fix.


Post something along the lines you think the Ayatollah is lying.

Post something along the lines Pres Obama is the one telling the truth.

Go for it.

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

@Paul42 You have to make it simpler, much simpler, than that if you expect him to have a shot at a bullseye.

Paul42
Paul42

Looks like Jay got it absolutely correct with this column, sad to say - 

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

I demand more bigger tax cuts so Republicans can afford to sign up to go to Iran and show us just how patriotic they really are.

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

McCain says vote for him, Republicans, and he will bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb again.  Bwah hahahahahaha!

Jackie_36
Jackie_36

@SimpleTruths @Jackie_36 It fascinates me to see all this reported about our police and courts when they are the ones that are supposed to be protecting our constitutional rights.

King_of_Kolob
King_of_Kolob

@Jackie_36 @SimpleTruths but for centuries (about 400 years) the police were a tool for Government oppression. This will not stop until they are held accountable. There is a big difference between armed and dangerous and unarmed. When we prosecute white cops for stuff like this I am almost sure they too see it as a failure of the "system" that should protect and defend them.

SimpleTruths
SimpleTruths

@Jackie_36 I was about to post a different link for the first one (the system ate it).  It was pretty sickening.

Bulls_3y3
Bulls_3y3

The Ayatollah says Obama is lying about the nuclear deal.  Looks like another failed Obama negotiation: "Russia Reset", Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Crimea, Cuba, Venezuela  etc....

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@Paul42 @Bulls_3y3 Pointing out (another) lie by this administration is now "trusting in Ayatollahs."  Yesterday, it was "racism" to speak out against Obama's policies.

Geez

Paul42
Paul42

@Numbers_R_Us

For a long time I couldn't bring myself to refer to them as Republicans.  Farfarright.  Extreme right.  Something like that.  But now it does seem it's the Republican way.

Paul42
Paul42

@Bulls_3y3

Okay, Bulls_3y3, it's a simple fix.

Post something along the lines you think the Ayatollah is lying.

Post something along the lines Pres Obama is the one telling the truth.

Go for it.

Paul42
Paul42

@DownInAlbany

"The Ayatollah says Obama is lying about the nuclear deal."

Nothing about 'Obama says the Ayatollah has it wrong."

Ayatollah = truth.

Obama = lie.

Got it.

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@DownInAlbany @Paul42 @Bulls_3y3 "Pointing out (another) lie by this administration is now "trusting in Ayatollahs." 


How do you know it isn't the *ayatollahs* who are lying?


As Paul said, it's amazing how you're willing to trust Mooselimb ayatollahs but won't give our President the time of day.  You disgust this disabled veteran.


Paul42
Paul42

@Bulls_3y3

Yep.  Which is why I knew they both said the other was not being accurate.

And your posting shows which one you support.

Paul42
Paul42

@Bulls_3y3

Amazing to me how you default to trusting in Ayatollahs and enemies over the president.