Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Cheney: My Time is Your Time
Dick Cheney, the former Vice President and a man who's held most every other important national office throughout the last several Republican administrations, almost died several times already and, famously, once upon a time almost killed a hunting companion. These days he's hooked up to a machine that keeps his oft-beleaguered heart a'pumpin'.
But he's still flailing away like a rookie boxer throwing roundhouse rights and killer uppercuts as if he were still right there in the DC ring, instead of home on the range out in his native Wyoming, recovering from heart surgery. His own political memoir is out today, and he's all over the news again because, as he told a reporter, heads will explode when they read In My Time. They have already. And he likes it. He's always been a man who's enjoyed watching heads explode.
During the George W years, it wasn't hard to get the impression that Cheney was really calling the shots. I don't know why so many had that feeling, but it may well have been because Cheney was never, ever in any bit of doubt about his own myriad opinions. Was any top-notch American official ever so sure of himself? I don't think so.
Well, the word is, nothing's changed. He's still believes that every last thought to stream from his mind is, without a doubt, the best way to go. Waterboarding was just fine. Iraq was a righteous enterprise. Colin Powell was a piss ant, Condi Rice, as Secretary of State, was surely a good deal less than she should have been--a woman who knew very well she was wrong, and once came to him, he says, "tearfully" to tell him that he was, after all, right about most everything. They all knew, everyone knew, even I knew, it seems, that for years Dick Cheney was the real deal in the White House.
In Newsweek magazine this week, Zef Chafets grudgingly throws in the towel and says "we're all Cheneyites now," because most of Cheney's policies, especially with respect to national defense, have simply rather unceremoniously picked up by the administration of Barack Obama. I'm not sure the case is utterly convincing, but Chafets argues that Obama has fallen in line as wholly as George W ever did. Think of the myriad drone attacks.
Chafets may well be right, but I think we've all become Cheneyites in another way, a more basic way: these days we're all true believers, especially and precisely in ourselves. Doubt is out; faith is in. Michelle Bachmann claims, charmingly, that earthquakes and hurricanes are really God's own pointer finger directing the nation confidently toward her own hard right positions. The Wisconsin Supreme Court is so sure of their individual positions that they literally beat up on each other. Compromise is weakness, a swear word. The only people we don't question are ourselves. Who's got the real power in Washington?--some guy named Grover Norquist whose genius was getting scores of pols to sign a pledge saying they would not be moved on taxes.
Listen--who'd you rather have running this country?--Dick Cheney or Jimmy Carter? Pull out your samurai and draw a line in the sand. Stake out your territory. Go to war. Show those dang Arabs that we're not wusses. Nosiree. These days, we're all Cheneyites
Can you believe that a man so utterly confident of the gospel truth of what goes on in his own head could have such awful heart problems?
Somehow I can.
Posted by J. C. Schaap at 6:28 AM