For months now pundits have put a spotlight on ex-VP Dick Cheney as he hopped from fireplace-chat to podium accusing President Obama of failing to protect the American people from terrorists. To make his case, he used sweeping generalizations and, according to some, gross exaggerations and misrepresentations of the facts.
As Jon Stewart ("American Idealogues") joked this week, his attacks got media attention because Cable News loves drama. With the ex-VP's screeds, they struck a rich vein even though they rarely scrutinize his statements. He yells "FIRE!" but cable news doesn't bother to fact-check his claims.
But why is he being so vocal?
Let's remember, he started giving these interviews while he was still in office. To some, myself included, he appeared to be urging then-President Bush to pardon those in the administration who were responsible for "abuses of power," which included approving torture and violating federal wiretap laws.
Immediately after Obama's inauguration, ex-President Bush waved goodbye and disappeared into the Dallas suburbs. At first ex-VP Cheney was silent as well, but it turns out he had only gone into stealth mode. Now the man who was once famously "in an undisclosed location," can easily be seen, heard, and read just about everywhere.
It can't be that he's trying to get a presidential pardon any longer. No, he says he's speaking out because he's afraid for America.
He presents himself as a Defender of the American People, warning of terrible calamities unless the policies championed by the Bush Administration are kept in place. A few analysts have noted that the policies he advocates are ones Bush himself rejected during his second term.
So what is all this ranting and fomenting about? It turns out Dick Cheney's playing an old smoke and mirrors trick.
According to Jim Rutenberg and Motoko Rich in the New York Times, the ex-VP has been shopping his memoir to New York publishers.
A person familiar with discussions Mr. Cheney has had with publishers said he was seeking more than $2 million for his advance. That sum may prove hard to get in this economic climate, especially given his generally low approval ratings, which publishers view as a potential -- but not certain -- harbinger for sales.
President Bush has a deal, as do Donald Rumsfeld and Karl Rove. Annoyingly one of Cheney's policy opponents in the Bush administration, Condoleeza Rice, has a three-book deal with Crown. Even former first lady Laura Bush has a book deal. Seeing his colleagues in the Bush administration nail down lucrative deals, it now appears he developed a strategy to create a media storm to improve his standing in the polls.
All these months he played the part of a patriot sounding a rallying cry to save his beloved country from imminent danger. In fact, he was just doing a PR jig, throwing confetti in the air to attract attention so he would get a big fat book deal.