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The GOP Needs Its Own "Secret Speech" Repudiating the Cheney Era

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This is a big week for the GOP. Two events suggest that it isn't detached from reality. It's oblivious to it.

The first event takes place on Wednesday, when the Republican National Committee, as today's Washington Times reports, will hold a special meeting at National Harbor in Maryland to decide whether or not to endorse a resolution demanding that the Democratic Party call itself the "Democrat Socialist Party." RNC chairman Michael S. Steele is resisting the resolution even as he uses the term socialist to describe the Obama administration's fiscal policies.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall when the Solons of the GOP debate the fine points of economic theory to decide whether or not President Obama really qualifies as a socialist intent on imposing communist-style collectivism upon America. Will they feverishly be consulting their Hegel, Lasalle, and Kautsky as they lash each other into a frenzy of indignation over the nature of true socialist doctrine? No doubt Obama will be quaking in fear over the fate of this resolution.

The second event is former Vice President Dick Cheney's speech on national security at the American Enterprise Institute on Thursday. Cheney and his daughter have become something of a traveling road show, trying to freak out the country but revealing only their own freakishness as they assail Obama. Like good Marxists, Cheney and his daughter Liz have been insisting that Obama is, at a minimum, an "objective," to use an old Leninist term, supporter of terrorists because he is repudiating many of the policies, if that's the appropriate term, instituted by the Bush administration to combat terrorism.

As Dimitri Simes, who actually lived under communism in Russia before emigrating to America, acidly points out in the National Interest (which he publishes and where I'm a senior editor), "Former Soviet leader and KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov would be proud of Liz Cheney's charge that President Obama's initial willingness to release pictures of U.S. military prisoner abuses amounted to 'siding with terrorists.' After all, Andropov and his prosecutors always argued that Soviet dissidents who exposed human rights violations were guilty of treason. But Ms. Cheney goes even further than Andropov and his associates, who at least pretended that the dissidents were distorting the facts. Liz Cheney makes no such claim, nor any allegation that the pictures were fabricated. Yet despite this she asserts that exposing actual wrongdoing is sufficient to accuse someone of not simply providing comfort to America's enemies or aiding their propaganda efforts but siding with the mass murderers."

It will be interesting to see how Dick Cheney attempts to top this at AEI on Thursday -- and how the GOP responds to his hallucinatory statements. I believe a vital index of the GOP's return to rationality will be when it begins not only to emancipate itself from this madman, but also to denounce him. What the party needs instead of a meeting denouncing Obama as a socialist is the Republican version of Nikita Khrushchev's courageous secret speech before a stunned communist elite in 1956 that decried Stalinism. Who is the Republican that will have the courage to break with the deadly past of Cheneyism?