Alex Massie

Cheney Derangement Syndrome

Text settings

This is, perhaps, the funniest thing I've read all year. Possibly this century.

Reviewing Steve Hayes' biography of Dick Cheney, Ira Stoll dreams of a Cheney run for the Presidency. Yes, really.

The book quotes Senator McCain as saying, "Dick doesn't like campaigning." Nothing in the Hayes book suggests that Mr. Cheney is about to do it — except for that the vice president spent nearly 30 hours cooperating with the author and apparently gave the okay for many of his friends and colleagues to grant similar access. The Richard Cheney described in this book isn't vain enough to do that simply for his reputation in history. My own guess — okay, hope — is that Mr. Cheney has taken a look at the Republican presidential field and sees an opening. If Iowa and New Hampshire Republicans start receiving copies of " Cheney" in their mailboxes, Mr. Cheney's popularity may yet begin to climb.

Perhaps. On the other hand, this paragraph might be thought somewhat pertinent:

The Washington Post's polling expert, Richard Morin, noted that at 18% approval, Vice President Cheney was less popular than Michael Jackson after he was tried for child abuse and O.J. Simpson after he was tried for murder. Mr. Hayes quotes Mr. Morin as reporting that Mr. Cheney was "less popular with Americans than Joseph Stalin is with Russians."

This is, in one respect, rather unfair. Stalin, after all, is popular. Nearly one in five Russians think him their best leader since 1917 and 50% have positive or very positive views of Uncle Joe. George W Bush can only dream of Stalin's approval rating.

Could there be a more pertinent illustration of the GOP's crippled state than this pining for Uncle Dick?

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

Topics in this articleInternational