Monday, December 22, 2008

Charming to the Last

Vice President Dick Cheney was interviewed by Chris Wallace on Fox News on Sunday:

WALLACE: Did you tell Senator Leahy, “bleep yourself”?

CHENEY: I did.

WALLACE: Any qualms, second thoughts, or embarrassment?

CHENEY: No, I thought he merited it at the time and we’ve since patched over that wound.

He also told Mr. Wallace that basically the president has the right to do anything he wants to when he thinks he is “protecting the country.” This is his version of Richard Nixon’s statement that “when the president does it, it means it is not illegal.”

These sentiments received rapturous applause from William Kristol, who has never been shy about being a completely obsequious toady in service of Mr. Cheney. Today he goes further in his column in the New York Times, slavering over his latest rumblings and, taking a cue from Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, citing Kipling’s “If” as the maxim by which he lived:

I’ve never heard Dick Cheney quote Kipling. But I suspect he might like Kipling, and that Kipling would admire him — a man who has never gone out of his way to look too good, nor talk too wise, but who has always, in four decades of public service, sought “to fill the unforgiving minute/With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run.”

Dick Cheney has been the epitome of the smug and swaggering arrogance of the Bush administration; the secretive would-be dictator who believes that he is a separate power unto his own, answerable to no one. The only saving grace of the last eight years was the good health of President George W. Bush and the fact that the nation and the world never had to face the horror of Mr. Cheney attaining the actual powers embodied in the Constitution that are granted to the president and not just the ones that he imagined were granted to him by his creative interpretation of what exactly it is the vice president is supposed to do.

In his interview on Fox, Mr. Cheney mocked Joe Biden for saying that he would return the office of the vice president to its traditional role: “And if he wants to diminish the office of vice president, that’s obviously his call.” I really don’t think Mr. Cheney gets it that it is he who has diminished the office of vice president by abusing his position and maintaining that the office of the vice president is a separate branch of the government. He doesn’t get it that his assaults on the Constitution and the rule of law have done as much damage to the office and the trust granted to him than anything any outside force of anti-democratic evil could accomplish.

With any luck, other than his appearance on the inaugural platform on January 20, 2009, this will be the last time anyone hears from Dick Cheney unless it’s in response to “Will the defendant please rise.”

Ten points to anyone who gets the reference in the title.