What is Dick Cheney Doing?

May 13, 2009 11:15am

He left office with an approval rating in the teens.  But these days the former veep has been outspoken.  His new mantra being the Obama administration has made America less safe.  By appearing on Sunday talk shows, on cable, even giving a speech tomorrow, Cheney shows little signs of letting up.  And in doing so, he is — in some ways — shaping the debate over the highly contentious interrogation tactics of the Bush administration.  In this morning’s "Note", ABC’s Rick Klein summarizes the flurry of coverage and contemplation over Cheney right now.  Here is an excerpt: As for the former veep: "The big contrast is not between Cheney and his predecessors but between Cheney and former top Bush administration officials who have quietly watched the Obama administration dismantle many of their policies," ABC’s Jonathan Karl writes. "The silence of other former Bush administration officials, including Bush himself, goes a long way to explaining why the once camera-shy vice president has become such a visible former vice president."  Cheney "seems to be on a one-man campaign fighting for his legacy, and — in his view — the safety of the nation," ABC’s Jake Tapper reported on "Good Morning America" Wednesday. "Cheney’s on the ‘Barack Obama is making us less safe’ campaign." "Cheney has replaced Sarah Palin as Rogue Diva. Just as Jeb Bush and other Republicans are trying to get kinder and gentler, Cheney has popped out of his dungeon, scary organ music blaring, to carry on his nasty campaign of fear and loathing," Maureen Dowd writes in her New York Times column. "The man who never talked is now the man who won’t shut up."  "Cheney, who championed the idea of pre-emptive attack doctrine as vice president, knows that in politics as well the best defense is often a good offense," Time’s Michael Duffy writes.  Liz Cheney gets into the act, too: "I have heard from families of servicemembers, from families of 9/11 victims, this question about, you know, ‘When did it become so fashionable for us to side, really, with the terrorists?’" Ms. Cheney said on Fox News Channel, per ABC’s Jake Tapper. 

The New York Times’ Adam Nagourney makes the broader point: "The Republican Party’s difficulty in finding something forward-looking to say — as well as the right people to say it — has been on display for much of the six months since Mr. Obama defeated Senator John McCain. Yet recent days have underlined the extent to which Republicans have another challenge: How to say it." 

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