Cheney Fade Away

The Rude Pundit was about to write another of his many oh-so-dark-and-clever attacks on former Vice President Dick Cheney. He even had a solid opening line: "Well, if you're gonna get a blow job from a highly-paid whore, it may as well be in Playboy." In an interview with Fox "news" correspondent James Rosen, Cheney talked for over ten hours about his views of himself, President Obama, the world, race, himself, and himself.

Cheney would have been described as some kind of hideous monster, probably oozing from various orifices. The post was going to be filled with all kinds of fellatio imagery, more than a few ejaculations, and probably a good bit of sadomasochism, perhaps even a few tears of joy, of pain. Certainly not of regret. That's how things generally roll around this joint.

But the Rude Pundit just isn't feeling it. And it's not because he has lost any of his deep anger towards Cheney or his firm belief that the ex-VP should be in prison or, barring that, hounded with accusations until his mechanical heart gives out. No, the Rude Pundit doesn't lack hatred. He just lacked the passion today. And why?

Because when he read the Playboy interview with Cheney, the overwhelming feeling the Rude Pundit had was...well, let's put it this way: You know how your aunt had a dog, maybe a Spitz or a Shih Tzu, one of those nasty small-to-medium sized dogs that will bite you if it's feeling remotely pissy. And you know how you'd go over to your aunt's place with your parents when you were a kid, and they'd tell you to play with the dog, but the dog would scare the hell out of you and your fear would make it bite you, and you'd just hate the dog even more and the dog wouldn't care and just bite you? And you'd dread going to visit your aunt because you knew the dog would try to bite you? But then, years later, you're a young adult and you go to visit your aunt on your own. There's that damn dog, but, like your aunt, it's gotten older. It's blind, maybe deaf, incontinent, limping around, but the goddamned thing is still snarling at you. not that it could do anything about it. Now you know that it should just be put down at this point. It's just a sad thing, kept alive only because your aunt loves the dog for some reason. You, though, you now can look on this previously terrifying beast and think, "God, how pathetic you are." It's not pity as much as a feeling that you know the world has left this particular dog behind. There will be other vicious dogs, yes, sure, but this one is, thankfully, almost done. In the end, you realize just how superior you are to the dog because, at the end of the day, it's just a dog.

The entire interview is really just Cheney attempting to remake history. Cheney takes every negative thing that was said about the Bush/Cheney administration and turns it around to blame Obama. See, we're all wrong: Bush was right about everything in foreign policy; Obama is wrong. Bush did everything right for the economy; Obama just screwed it up. Cheney says, "[W]e are going to pay a hell of a price just trying to dig out from under his presidency." Yes, just like Bush dug us out of all that peace and a decent economy that Bill Clinton left us with. Actually, that quote seems like the kind of projection that a serial killer uses when he thinks every victim is actually the father who beat him.

The interview goes on, far too long (and it's only a tenth of what was recorded), with Cheney offering insights into what happened in Ferguson, Missouri: "I don’t think it is about race." Or how awesome it was that we keep prisoners at Gitmo: "I can’t count the hours we spent in what I considered to be—obviously others [chuckles] had a different view—a totally wasted exercise, arguing about 'Let’s close Guantánamo.'" Or how he was right about Vladimir Putin and how even his boss was right about the Russian leader: "I’m not critical of the president for the way he dealt with Putin. I think he handled it pretty well."

Twice, Cheney brings up Obama's 2009 speech in Cairo, where Obama said, " 9/11 was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course." Of course, to Cheney (and many conservatives), this is just an outright betrayal, although, to be fair, if it is, it's a betrayal of Bush and Cheney, not the United States. Cheney characterizes Obama's words as an "apology," which it clearly was not. Cheney said Obama said that "the U.S. overreacted to the events of 9/11, was a huge mistake." Except Obama didn't. What he said was that there was a new sheriff in town. An election by the citizens of the United States changed the course (not as much on Gitmo, but, on other things, it did), not Obama. Of course, we know where Cheney stands on the legitimacy of elections.

But none of it matters. Cheney got away with it, all of it, all of the secret meetings, the approval of torture, involvement with Scooter Libby and in the Valerie Plame affair. And now he's just the ruins of himself, powerless, that snarling old pet that gets a few scratches behind his ear to keep going, but, ultimately, just the fading remnants of the imperious beast he once was.