For political bloggers, editorial writers, and late night talk show hosts, some of the personalities in the Republican Party over the last few years have yielded great subject matter. And none of them perhaps more so than Dick Cheney.
He’s done it again. In a recent interview with CNN’s John King, Cheney holds forth on topics such as the economic stimulus package and health care reform. Of course, he does so from an expert perspective because his administration accomplished so much in both areas.
And, for the second time in six weeks, he claims that the Obama administration’s proposed policy changes in the areas of extra-judicial torture, closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, and dialog with Iran, will make the United States less safe.
But the truth of the matter is this: despite the use of illegal and immoral tactics, the expenditure of billions of dollars, and the serious erosion of personal liberties, no one can point to a single attack on the US that was actually prevented by the Bush Administration’s War on Terror.
In fact, reality is likely exactly the opposite. The policies of the Bush Administration were decried around the world, causing a significant cooling of relations with even our closest allies. They provided huge impetus to a growth in recruiting for terrorist organizations. And they caused ill-advised prosecutions in the US that were almost universally overturned upon appeal, if a conviction was ever achieved in the first place.
The reality is the Cheney and his ilk presided over the greatest erosion of American personal liberties since our founding. They sought to increase presidential power to unheard of levels. They utilized the panic and hysteria following 9/11 to foist on the American People the most un-American policies put forth by any single government in our history.
Their record on the economy speaks for itself. They adopted a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to regulation of the financial industry. (In fairness, the Democrats fully supported this approach as well.) And then, as the sky was falling, they failed to act until somewhere past the eleventh hour. When they did act, they did so by handing corporations taxpayer money virtually without any restrictions or oversight.
It is easy for Cheney to sit back and criticize the stimulus bill. Frankly I think many Americans are a bit skeptical that hundreds of billions of dollars in government spending will turn the economy around. However the Bush Administration not only got us into this mess, but they also failed to act quickly to get us out. Cheney’s criticism is disingenuous at best, a carefully calculated partisan attempt to derail any hope the Obama Administration has of fixing this mess at worst.
Cheney has nothing to say on health care reform. In a nation where tens of thousands are uninsured, and where premiums for those who are have doubled in less than ten years, the Bush Administration was notably reluctant to even approach any sort of reform.
I have written before that George Bush will be judged harshly by history, and that will indeed be the case. But I would observe that Mr. Bush at least has the class to allow the new administration to go about the business of working through the myriad problems our nation faces without him carping from the sidelines.
But, one can certainly not accuse Dick Cheney of having class. I believe that if you asked Dick Cheney if he is patriotic, he would most assuredly answer ‘yes’. I submit to you that his criticism of the new administration after only two months on the job is not only hypocritical, but most definitely not patriotic either.
Dick, please do us all a favor and fade quietly into history. Please. Now.