Cheney Talks Tough

Political commentator David Gergen, who now is at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, said that former vice president Dick Cheney’s recent round of media appearances is intended to shore up his “legacy”.


Obviously Gergen has been around Harvard too long and does not understand the difference between a principled conservative like Cheney and the narcissistic liberals who now populate Gergen’s world.


Cheney has appeared several times on Fox News and then on CBS’ Face the Nation in order to challenge the Obama administration’s attempt to disparage and to dismantle Bush-era anti-terror practices that Cheney says have kept the nation safe for almost eight years since 9/11.


Gergen’s misinterpretation of Cheney’s mission is typical. Because to a liberal, personal legacy and popular appearance are everything. Bill Clinton still is struggling to find his place in history beyond Monica Lewinsky and the widely held perception that his inaction on terrorism throughout the 1990s led to 9/11.


But Cheney, who has no further political aspirations and who does not need to be making media appearances in his retirement, feels so strongly about Obama’s approach to national security and to the economy that he is speaking out in an unprecedented manner in order to show his concern not for his own personal legacy, but for the future of the nation. In fact, Cheney knows that the media hate him and so his appearances cannot be personal. They are strictly professional and patriotic.


In a recent interview with Fox’s Neil Cavuto, Cheney used strong language to proclaim that the Obama administration is “dismantling” the security policies that kept America safe. He also said that the debate over whether to punish officials involved in the interrogation policies of the Bush era is “outrageous”. This is strong language.


“I don’t think we should just roll over when the new administration … accuses us (the Bush administration) of committing torture, which we did not, or somehow violating the law, which we did not,” Cheney said. “I think you need to stand up and respond to that, and that’s what I’ve done.” 


Meanwhile the Obama administration has been reluctant to release CIA memos that Cheney says will back up his assertion that Bush-era interrogation tactics indeed were crucial in keeping the nation safe.


Cheney is said to be taking on the role of spokesman for the Bush administration while Bush himself remains silent, per tradition. Critics have charged that Cheney now is violating the unwritten rule that members of one administration decline to comment on the policies of a succeeding administration, although those rules were violated repeatedly and in unprecedented fashion by former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter in their criticism of George W. Bush, sometimes before foreign audiences, adding to the intended stigma.


Cheney dismissed what he called “the notion that I should remain silent while they (the Obama administration) go public.” 


“The bottom line is we successfully defended the nation for seven and a half years against a follow-on attack to 9/11. That was a remarkable achievement,” he said. “I think that we (the US today, through Obama’s actions) are stripping ourselves of some of the capabilities that we used in order to block, if you will, or disrupt activities by al Qaeda that would have led to additional attacks.” 


Cheney also raised eyebrows when he said that Bush  intelligence operations,  including the so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ that are the subject of so much debate, potentially saved “hundreds of thousands of lives.” 


Democrats have not taken Cheney’s aggressive role lightly. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs referred to Cheney dismissively as a member of a “right-wing cabal” and then accused the Republican party of “essentially going forward by looking backward.” Other Democrat operatives are wishing Cheney would go away because secretly they fear his effectiveness. Otherwise  they would ignore Cheney, but cannot. Because Cheney is speaking to tens of millions of like-minded Americans and setting the stage for an impact that could be devastating to Obama if another terrorist attack occurs.


And in fact Cheney is not simply “looking backward”, as Gibbs implied, but is remarking on past successes and this is what is worrying Democrats. Presidential scholar Larry Sabato said, “At his age and position, he has no further ambitions and he has a lifetime of experience in American politics … So why not? Cheney’s not one to sit there and be pummeled. He’s going to respond. You punch him. He’s going to punch back.” 


Here are some excerpts from a recent interview Cheney gave to Sean Hannity, with comments:


CHENEY: “I thought the TEA parties were great. I think when you get that kind of grassroots sentiment being expressed, thousands of people, hundreds of thousands of people all across the country, that will have an impact on Capitol Hill. It will have an impact, I think, on the political process. And it’s basically a healthy development.” Comment: Here is someone who actually understands the political process under our Constitutional republic.


CHENEY: “I’m one of those people who believes that part of the greatness of the United States is our private sector. It’s what we do as private citizens for ourselves and our companies. And our economy is essentially the wonder of the world because, in fact, it’s produced so much for us over the years.” Comment: How about a presidential run for Cheney? He’s the guy making the most sense.


CHENEY: “Now when we get into talking about bailing out individual companies and so forth, you know, or big expansion of governmental programs without addressing the huge expansions that are already built it — I mean, before we had any of this we’ve got problems down the road with Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. And now we’re dumping, if all of this comes to pass, a huge additional burden on future generations. I think it’s very dangerous.” Comment: No wonder Cheney is so demonized by liberals. Because he speaks the truth directly about massive boondoggles like the Social Security system.


CHENEY: “I think you hit on a key point, Sean, because 9/11 was absolutely crucial. And I think one of the most important things we did in the aftermath of 9/11 was to decide that you could no longer deal with an attack of terror upon the United States as a law enforcement problem. You didn’t just plow through the rubble, for example, in Oklahoma City and find the identification number on the U-Haul truck, the rental truck that McVeigh used to blow up that federal building.” Comment: Was the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995 yet another terrorist attack that Clinton could have prevented?


CHENEY: “We were prepared to use military force. We were prepared to go after not only the terrorists, but those who sponsor terror and provide sanctuary and safe harbor for them. We were prepared to use our intelligence assets the way we would against an enemy that threatened the United States itself, to put in place, for example, things like the Terror Surveillance Program and to have a robust interrogation program on detainees. Those are the acts you take when you feel you’re at war and that the very existence of the nation is threatened.” Comment: While Obama is running around the world apologizing for America’s existence.


CHENEY: “And really, I just — I spent so many mornings sitting in my office, and then in the Oval Office with the president, going over the briefings, looking at al Qaeda, looking at what their plans, knowing that they were seeking nuclear weapons, knowing that the next deadly attack could well be al Qaeda in the middle of one of our own cities. Not with airline tickets and box cutters, but with a nuclear weapon or a biological agent.” Comment: Americans have been urged by the  media to forget 9/11 and the unknown and frightening nature of its aftermath. It is good to hear Cheney’s insider recollections of genuine fear at the highest levels.


CHENEY: “Barack Obama and his administration are no longer going to ask (terrorists) tough questions when they are captured. …And I think there’s a problem out there nationally in the sense that we are 7.5 years, almost 8 years now, away from 9/11. And a lot of people would like to forget it and believe that the threat is gone, it’s diminished, it’s disappeared. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. And one of the worst things we could do is start to act now as though the attack of 9/11 is a thing of the past and will never be repeated. That’s just not true. Comment: Amen, Mr. Vice President!


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