Dick Cheney on CNN: Please, Keep It Up

04/15/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Jacob Heilbrunn Author, "They Knew They Were Right: the Rise of the Neocons"

It's becoming increasingly clear that former vice president Dick Cheney is functioning as the most prominent voice of the retrograde right. Forget Rush Limbaugh. This is far better. President Obama should thank his stars every time Cheney emerges from whatever hidden lair he's now lurking in to growl about how Bush did everything right. Who could ask for a better reminder of the ineptitude, incompetence, and iniquities of the Bush era?

On CNN's State of the Union show, Cheney claimed that it was "absolutely essential" to torture and besmirch American values -- oh, wait, I forgot. Cheney's claiming that those policies were the only way to uphold the safety of America. And he said that he and Bush did a splendid job reviving the economy. "Stuff happens," he snorted.

Indeed it does. A lot of stuff happened during the Bush years -- the unprovoked invasion of Iraq, the bungling of Afghanistan, and the collapse of the economy. Then again, a lot of stuff didn't happen. No response to Hurricane Katrina. No oversight of contractors in Iraq. No plan, for that matter, for the aftermath in Iraq. So what didn't happen was as significant as what did.
Bush has wisely kept out of the public eye. The more people forget about him, the better off his long-term reputation will be. The best he can hope for is oblivion.

But Cheney's offering a useful reminder of what he and Bush left as a legacy for Obama. Every night Obama should include Cheney in his prayers and say "Keep it up, Dick."