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Robert J. Elisberg Headshot

The Wonderful Dick Cheney Bus-and-Truck Tour

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What can I say, I'm glad that Dick Cheney is attacking Barack Obama. And I hope he keeps it up. You go, Dick.

Though I hear liberal commentators - and even some conservative ones - criticize the former Republican Vice President, I am not among them. All I need to jumpstart my day is hear a report that begins, "Former Vice President Dick Cheney said today that President Barack Obama..." Fill in the blank, it doesn't matter. I can't get enough.

Mind you, what he's saying is utterly reprehensible. Sometimes, I have to fight to keep my head from exploding. But I can deal with "utterly reprehensible," keeping it separate in its own dark, craven nook. And it's easy, mostly because I'm thrilled every time Dick Cheney chooses to hit the road, open his mouth and crank out his Greatest Hits.

"Former Vice President Dick Cheney said today that President Barack Obama..."

God love him.

Of course, much as I myself love it, I don't have a clue why any Republican would think Dick Cheney talking is a good thing. Yet so many encourage him. Don't they grasp that America heard these very same debates for six years, understands ALL the points, and have thrown the Republican arguments out, along with the Republicans. Don't they understand that Dick Cheney has like a 9% "approval" rating, and just-elected President Barack Obama has a 65% approval rating. To think that four months into the new, wildly-popular administration, Americans are going to say, "Y'know, I never thought of it that way. Dick Cheney is right! I like Dick Cheney and don't like Barack Obama," is the height of breathtaking lunacy.

(If I was a Republican, I think my first thought would be: "So, you hid in a bunker for seven years, kept near silent when you had elective authority and a bully pulpit...and now that you're out of office, a private citizen and hated...NOW you've decided to talk?? And THIS is what you want to talk about??! The very things that got you hated and us thrown out of office??? This??!!!" But that's just me. And I'm not a Republican.)

But as much as I don't understand any Republican supporting Dick Cheney finally talking - and having his daughter going around cravenly calling the newly-elected President of the United States "un-American" - I still love it. I love it so very much because it confirms rock-solid to the American public why they voted for Barack Obama and Democrats in the first place. It confirms to people why they now identify themselves as Democrats by 53-36%, when only seven years ago it was 41-41%. It repeats all the arguments the American public heard, and reminds them of the decisions they made. It nails down their position, puts gift-wrapping on it, and ties a ribbon on top.

How could it not? It isn't just Dick Cheney defending a war the American public rejected years ago, but he's gotten so out of control that his only recourse in defending it is to actually acknowledge and bizarrely defend using torture. Torture!

It makes your skin crawl, but I mean that in a good way. You just want to hug him for creating a Black Hole for this version of the Republican Party.

Yes, Dick Cheney is utterly reprehensible for twisting reality more than corkscrew pasta - but that's largely a given. When your starting point is lying a nation into war, the next step can only be off the precipice. Such people have to lie because they have to keep coming up with new lies and new realities to justify the old ones. Ultimately it defines them.

Lying a nation into war begets lying that America will be greeted as liberators, which begets lying that you never said America will be greeted as liberators - while the tape of you saying it runs. (Lying to protect the lie is like the famous scene in the movie, "Jumbo," when Jimmy Durante is sneaking the massive elephant out of the circus, and he's stopped by a security guard. "Where are you going with that elephant?," the guard asks. And Durante, standing in front of the enormous pachyderm, answers with angelic innocence, "What elephant?") In the end, that's why outing a CIA agent whose husband exposed your initial lie is the only natural culmination to expect from Dick Cheney.

But Dick Cheney is mostly utterly reprehensible because former Vice Presidents and former Presidents don't attack the incoming administration as soon as they leave office. It's not that it's "impolite" or "bad form." It's that it's dangerous. It sends imbalanced mixed-messages to the nation and the world. Elections are passionate affairs, but one of the glories of America - that Americans always pride themselves on - is the smooth transition of power. But an outgoing administration continuing to fight battles with the new one breaks that smooth transition. It's not disagreement, it keeps the election going and creates imbalance, risking fissure. Even George W. Bush understands that. But Dick Cheney shows he doesn't understand the first thing about America. Confirming what he has to show for the past eight years.

The more Dick Cheney talks, though, the more demonstrably foolish and therefore less-dangerous he becomes.

"Former Vice President Dick Cheney said today that President Barack Obama..."

He can keep the 16 words that his administration lied America into war with. Me, I'll take these 11 even up.