The Cheneys were at it again yesterday. On Tuesday, daughter Liz, who served in the Bush State Department, undiplomatically denounced President Obama on Fox News for agreeing to release photographs of Americans abusing prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq. It's become "fashionable,' she said, "to side, really, with the terrorists."
For good measure, Pops jumped into denounce Obama's plan for helping the ailing auto companies. And according to the Washington Post, he's going to address the American Enterprise Institute, his stomping grounds before he became George W. Bush's vice-president, on May 21 on how to keep America safe. Presumably, he won't be praising Obama's efforts in Afghanistan, as Max Boot, a genuinely insightful neocon, does today in a superb column in the Los Angeles Times. According to Boot, "If anyone is up to these difficult tasks, it is the A-team that the Obama administration has assembled."
Both Cheneys aren't simply trying to defend the Bush administration's record from being besmirched by lily-livered liberals. One theory is that Papa Cheney has simply lost it, that, as the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson put it, he's a crazy old coot who needs to be shipped out to Wyoming, where he can go fishing with his corporate buddies and leave everyone else alone. But there may be more to it than sheer craziness.
Both Cheneys are also seeking to lay the groundwork for a "Who Lost America?" debate should there be another terrorist attack during the Obama presidency. Just as the right fulminated about liberals "losing" China in the early 1950s, so the Cheneys are ginning up the hard Right to denounce Obama and his advisers as traitors.
Ultimately, though, their snarling has less to do with the Democratic party than the GOP, which is at war with itself. On the one side are the movement conservatives such as the Cheneys. On the other side are cooler heads on the right such as David Frum and David Brooks who recognize that Obama may leave the GOP stranded in the wilderness for decades. For now, the former holds the upper hand as the GOP wallows in its self-righteous indignation about being toppled from power.
But it's already clear that the Cheneys will be active for years, even decades, to come, as Liz profiles herself as the rising star of the party. She's the anti-Meghan McCain -- truculent, strident, abrasive, a zealot. The acorn has not fallen far from the tree. So, friends, whom do you despise more, Dick or Liz?