From the New York Times we learn that, in an interview to be broadcast Monday by ABC news, Dick Cheney says that Sarah Palin was not qualified to run for Vice President in 2008, and that John McCain's nomination of her was "a mistake."
Woah, stop the film! He said what? Why would Cheney say this?
There's no answer in the Times piece, although there is one tantalizing clue, in the news that Monday's interview is Cheney's first since undergoing heart transplant surgery back in March. The interview was conducted by Jonathan Karl in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where Cheney has been convalescing. Karl says that in the full interview to be broadcast on Monday, Cheney "does not hold back" and delivers "his harshest criticism yet of Barack Obama."
There are two things to note here. First, it appears that the first thing Dick Cheney wanted to do after regaining his health was resume his vitriolic attacks on President Obama.
That's nice. I'm glad he's feeling better. It's true that the hardest part of any life-threatening illness is that it forces you to set aside your rage. This is what all recuperating heart transplant patients will tell you. Yes, they have a newfound respect for the joys of life, and welcome the grace bestowed by their second chance, but what they really want is to get healthy enough to attack the people with whom they disagree.
We should also quickly note that it's hard to imagine how Cheney can issue a more harsh criticism of the President, as he's already accused Obama of being a traitor and a danger to America. Most likely, Cheney wants to get back to grinding his favorite political axe: finding a place for torture in American foreign policy. But it will be interesting, I guess, to hear what he has to say.
All of this, however, overlooks the truly fascinating aspect of this news:
Dick Cheney admitted that Sarah Palin wasn't qualified to run for Vice President after he received a new heart.
Wow! The man gets a new heart and the first words out of his mouth following his recuperation are: "Sarah Palin was never qualified to be Vice President."
It's a miracle! It's like the opposite of a death-bed confession. True, he could have chosen a more meaningful admission, like maybe that the Iraq War was a mistake, or that torture is a useless interrogation technique that doesn't make us safe. In fact, it's kind of strange that immediately after getting a new heart anyone would be focused on Sarah Palin. But whatever! None of that detracts from the apparent miracle of Cheney's admission.
Just to drive home the miraculous quality of this news, I will present it in chart form:
Old Heart --> Sarah Palin is a great American and will make a great Vice President.
New Heart --> Sarah Palin was never qualified to be Vice President.
It definitely makes you think.
Most pundits will probably tell you that Cheney was merely salting his interview with an obvious (and, to him, harmless) truth, to lend credibility to his more provocative statements. And yes, that's probably what he was doing.
But what if something else is going on? Imagine we are in an M. Night Shyamalan movie, and Cheney's new heart is actually speaking to him, and also filling his soul with caring, honesty, and compassion for America. Admittedly unlikely, but if this is in fact happening, Karl's interview of Cheney might actually be worth watching.
If Cheney's new heart really has transformed him, we can also expect these confessions from Cheney during his full-length interview with Jonathan Karl on Monday:
1. The Iraq War Was a Catastrophic Blunder.
Expect Cheney to admit there were no weapons of mass destruction, that the invasion was a misguided and catastrophic failure, and that the Arab Spring demonstrates that the idea of an American military invasion bringing a series of citizen revolutions to the Middle East was pure folly.
2. Tax Breaks for the Rich Don't Actually Create Jobs
Cheney will acknowledge what we've all long suspected: Republican claims that tax breaks for the rich help the economy are just a cover story. "Tax breaks for the rich to create jobs? I mean, Jonathan, you never really believed that, did you?" Cheney will say.
3. Gays and Lesbians are Human Beings Deserving of Our Love and Equal Protection
"Just ask my daughter," the once-cranky bully of the Bush Administration will say.
4. Karl Rove is the Devil
Cheney will admit to seeing the horns and the long tail, and hearing Rove making evil incantations in the Oval Office on Sundays.
5. Barack Obama Hasn't Been Perfect, but He's Done an Admirable Job
This is probably the most we can expect from Cheney, even assuming a transformative effect from his new heart.
Of course, in the interview Cheney will probably rehash the same menacing accusations he's always made against the President, and we will only learn that, despite his new heart, Cheney is still the grumbling, condescending former Wyoming congressman we've known for so many years.
But, then again, I never expected him to admit Sarah Plain was a fraud. You just never know!