Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Audiences with the Imperial Vice-President

Brace yourself, they’re unleashing Dick Cheney this week. He snarled a bit for CBS yesterday. Tonight he should be in full-throated mode on CNN with Larry King.

If Cheney is the Administration’s answer, how desperate must the public relations problem be? From his usual darkness and silence, there are now glimmers and grunts. So far this week we have these emanations:

*He is a “big fan” of Alberto Gonzales: “I think the key is whether or not he has the confidence of the president--and he clearly does."

*Scooter Libby: “I disagreed with the verdict,” but conceded "I thought the president handled it right. I supported his decision."

*Is he part of the Executive branch of government? “Well, I suppose you could argue it either way. The fact is I do work in both branches.”

*Invading Iran: A report in the London Guardian claims Bush, under pressure from Cheney, is agreeing to “carry out military action against Iran before he leaves office.”

How did we get to this Imperial Vice-Presidency from a position that used to involve no more than getting up every morning and asking about the President’s health? In the Washington Post last weekend, Walter Mondale offered a few clues by describing his experience:

“Carter saw the office as an underused asset and set out to make the most of it. He gave me an office in the West Wing, unimpeded access to him and to the flow of information, and specific assignments at home and abroad. He asked me, as the only other nationally elected official, to be his adviser and partner on a range of issues.”

So the Democrats are to blame for Cheney gone wild, kicking over the “bucket of warm piss,” as John Nance Garner described the job, and splattering us all.

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