Vice President Dick Cheney will appear tomorrow morning on ABC’s “This Week ” and the folks at Politico are already trying to prep the battle field by framing his appearance as yet another replay of past Cheney interviews. MIKE ALLEN and JIM VANDEHEI somewhat apolegetically acknowledge Cheney’s influence on the foreign policy and national security debates with this back handed compliment:
Former Vice President Cheney will appear on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, and it’s a safe bet what he will say: President Barack Obama projects weakness to terrorists and puts American lives at risk.
It’s the kind of brutal charge — nuance-free and politically explosive — that has become a Cheney specialty since he left office 13 months ago.
Cheney’s broadsides on Afghanistan policy, detention and surveillance policies, and Obama’s general philosophy about the U.S. role in a dangerous world inevitably dominate the news. No other figure in Republican politics has equal ability to drive debate on national security, rally Obama critics and force the administration to respond. On Sunday, Vice President Joe Biden will be countering Cheney on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
There is one essential element missing from that analysis. Vice President Cheney communicates clearly a concern that the electorate has already manifested in recent elections, to wit, that terrorists don’t deserve and should not receive the type of treatment the Obama Justice Department is advocating. He called Obama’s hand early and often on the exceedingly unwise decision to close Guantánamo Bay before a solution as to where foreign detainees would be held was in place. He defended enhanced interrogation. These were more than mere national security debate points; they were deeply held concerns of citizens that turned out to vote against these Obama administration positions during the three major Obama policy plebiscites in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts.
While offering up a smattering of disaffected former office holders and moderate Republicans as foils for Cheney’s blunt spoken opinions, Allen and Vandehei simply fall off the cliff when they invoke the names of Keith Olberman and Andrew Sullivan to disparage the former Vice president’s very effective rebuttal of Obama’s foreign policy failings:
In interviews for this article, some of Cheney’s harshest critics said the origins of his Obama criticism may be more psychological than political. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann said in an e-mail to POLITICO that Cheney has been “shrill, totally unpatriotic and sounding more concerned with torture and interrogation than with results and intelligence.”
“I think he may believe that only his vision can save America, and thus anything, including lying to America, is justifiable,” Olbermann wrote. “This is, I believe, called ‘a Messiah Complex.'”
Andrew Sullivan, who writes “The Daily Dish” blog on The Atlantic.com, wrote in an e-mail for this story: “Cheney’s unprecedentedly aggressive approach … reflects his own knowledge that he has committed war crimes of a very grave sort, war crimes that at some point could lead to prosecution and will undoubtedly lead to historical infamy.”
Messiah complex? Oh, let there be no doubt, there is an epidemic of the messiah complex that frequently afflicts Washington, D.C. It has recently ravaged the minions of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the Rayburn Building. But as with most symptoms of this condition, the afflicted are often the last to recognize their condition.
Dick Cheney and Sara Palin have, if nothing else, become a barometer for liberal fear and paranoia. Whenever they move the needle on the dial the commensurate reaction is predictable: their Democratic opponents become appoplectic and irrational.