Alex Massie Alex Massie

The Unbearable But Continuing Ghastliness of Dick Cheney

Dick Cheney is quite a piece of work. I confess that back in 2000 I thought Bush did well in choosing Cheney to be his Vice-President. After all, the neophyte President-to-be could use some sage advice from a Washington veteran. And, yes, I enjoyed seeing Cheney cuff Joe Lieberman during their Vice-Presidential debate. That sanctimonious prig from Connecticut deserved it. But there are limits and it is remarkable that much of the conservative movement thinks it wise to seek advice from a man who left office with an approval rating of 13%.

Still, these things are what they are. But that’s little excuse for Cheney’s brazen, chutzpah-crammed performance on a North Dakota radio show today. Perhaps it should not surprise, but the dishonesty, mendacity and hypocrisy on display are, in their own way, impressive even by Washington’s elevated standards.

To begin with, Cheney disputes the notion that Arlen Specter’s defection is bad news for the GOP. Au contraire, it might be bad news for Democrats!

You know, we’d gone through the exercise here right after we got elected in 2000, and controlled the Senate just by virtue of my ability to cast a tie vote. It was 50-50, and then my vote gave us control of the Senate. They worked hard to switch Jeffords then — and they did — they promised him a committee chairmanship and so he went over to the other side and changed control of the Congress. I always had the feeling though that people looked at that and didn’t really like it. One of the things I thought it did was to build support for the Republican side in the next election in ’02, and we had an extraordinary outcome there where the Administration actually gained seats in the Senate in an off-year election (which almost never happens). So there are often times lasting consequences from these kinds of switches…and they’re not always positive from the side that receives the individual doing the switching.

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