Bless his heart, but Dick Cheney really stepped in it this time. I want to know why the former Vice President is attacking Sarah Palin. We were all sickened when leftists publicly wished he would die, or be denied the heart transplant that has extended his life, but apparently, Vice President Cheney has no heart left for common-sense conservatives, or for the lady who bore the brunt of the left’s most vicious attacks in 2008, since he now adds to them. Having been the frequent target of the left’s senseless harangues, one would expect that Cheney would know better, but it’s apparent that a decade in Congress, four years as Secretary of Defense, and eight years as the Vice President haven’t made him any smarter. If I were a leftist comic, I would take the opportunity to remind readers that Cheney has a history of shooting at the wrong target. Asked by Jonathan Karl of ABC News what advice he would offer about the process of selecting a VP candidate, given 2008 as an example, he said this:
“The test to get on that small list has to be, ‘Is this person capable of being president of the United States?’”
True enough, but then he said:
“I like Governor Palin. I’ve met her. I know her. She – attractive candidate. But based on her background, she’d only been governor for, what, two years. I don’t think she passed that test…of being ready to take over. And I think that was a mistake.”
As is the current fashion in the media, ABC used the occasion of Mitt Romney’s impending VP pick to launch an attack on the former Governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, and predictably, this representative of the Bush administration and of the GOP establishment crowd wouldn’t miss an opportunity to get his digs in. Mark Levin was so annoyed by it that he posted to Facebook on the subject, and he’s right to be upset with the former Vice President. After all, what is served by attacking Sarah Palin? What’s in it for Cheney? I believe Cheney’s criticism of Sarah Palin reveals something ugly about the Republican establishment, but also their basic view of the Presidency. In their view, the Presidency and Vice Presidency should never be held by “amateurs,” a.k.a., “non-insiders.”
When Cheney said he thinks Sarah Palin hadn’t “passed that test…of being ready to take over,” what he’s stating bluntly is that she was not qualified to be President. There are likely millions who would disagree vociferously with that assessment, and Cheney’s criticism is one we ought to examine because he had held that office, but we should not fail to turn the question on him: Was Dick Cheney qualified to hold that office? Some would argue that from the moment he first exhibited substantial health difficulties, Cheney should have stepped down as Vice President, permitting President George W Bush to replace him. After all, if something terrible or unfortunate had happened to the President, the health of the Vice President, then unceremoniously elevated to the Presidency, would have been of immediate concern for the country.
Americans expect is their leaders will do the most responsible thing in pressing situations, but Dick Cheney failed that test. Whatever the objections of President Bush may have been at the time, Cheney should have stepped down, for the sake of the country, if for no other reason. He didn’t. He could have done the responsible thing, and nobody in the country would have blamed him had he stepped aside due to ill health, and a frightening heart condition that could have claimed him at any time. He’d have enjoyed the sympathies of millions who would have respected him for doing the responsible thing, and yet he failed that test.
While Dick Cheney gives interviews to ABC News, Sarah Palin has been out on the campaign trail doing the hard work of getting out the vote for common-sense, constitutional, conservative candidates. Dick Cheney is giving interviews to mainstream media outlets to attack Sarah Palin. To me, one of the most important qualifications for either the job of President or Vice President is to exhibit leadership. What is Dick Cheney leading? An assault on Sarah Palin? What is Sarah Palin leading, and what has she recently led? In 2010, she helped to lead the battle to retake the House of Representatives, and in 2012, she is helping to lead the charge to retake the Senate. Meanwhile, Dick Cheney gives interviews offering advice to Mitt Romney on his forthcoming VP pick. While the country is burning down around us, this is the battle in which GOP insiders like Cheney wish to engage? Nobody stops to turn the question around and ask Cheney about his qualifications, which are assumed to have been sufficient:
Cheney states: “She’d only been governor for, what, two years.”
Question: How many years was Cheney governor of a state? Answer: None.
Cheney headed the Department of Defense under George H.W. Bush, but that’s a largely bureaucratic position more than one of leadership. Leon Panetta is the current Secretary of Defense. Is Panetta qualified for the presidency? Cheney was a legislator, first and foremost, and an insider who elevated himself within the House of Representatives. Is this the qualification for President? Cheney was never an inspirational figure. Did this qualify him for that office? After all, it was Cheney who had helped to select Vice Presidential candidates before, including in 1976, and again in 2000, when he headed the search committee, but himself got the nod from George W. Bush. It was also Cheney who was campaign manager for the Ford Campaign in 1976, and he served as Ford’s chief of staff. I don’t know how any of that qualified him to be Vice President, or President, but if Sarah Palin ever decides she wants some advice on how to be a DC insider or political hanger-on, she should immediately contact Dick Cheney, as in this at least, one might conclude that he had been eminently qualified.
It’s not my intention here to drag Dick Cheney’s name through the mud, but I must repeat Mark Levin’s question: “Why does Dick Cheney feel the need to attack Sarah Palin?” Cheney is an insider. Way back in 1976, it was Cheney at the GOP convention who helped to make sure that Gerald Ford was the Republican nominee, but not Ronald Reagan. The GOP establishment is rightly sensing a bit of a revolt forming in the rank-and-file, as many conservatives are not altogether thrilled with the presumptive Republican party nominee. He knows there is a move afoot to ditch Mitt Romney at the convention, and he sees Sarah Palin as one of the threats to the Romney ascendancy because the grass roots of the party loves her. Whatever happens in this election cycle, it is the aim of the establishment to be sure that none but another member of the extended Bush clan rise to the nomination in 2016. Hammering away at Sarah Palin now, in 2012, helps to solidify the notion that Governor Palin is a political has-been, and one who was never qualified for the office in the first place.
That’s garbage, but in the perceptions-driven game of politics, it contributes another few slashes in the death of one-thousand cuts. The GOP establishment doesn’t want a Palin candidacy, now or any time in the future, and it perturbs them greatly as the collective hive-mind of the anointed class that at present, the most effective spokesperson for rank-and-file Republicans is a woman they would rather have us all forget. Sarah Palin brought big oil to heel as Governor of her state, forcing them to live up to contracts with the state of Alaska on which they had been dallying interminably. She exposed and throttled crooks in both parties, including the state’s own GOP establishment. None of that sits well with the Washington crowd of which Cheney is an undeniable part.
Whatever Governor Palin’s electoral potential in the future, I find it simply astonishing that a man who had virtually nothing to recommend him as a potential President of the United States other than his appointed proximity to that office now offers Mitt Romney counsel on who to pick as his VP, and in so doing, sets out to demolish the party’s last nominee for that post. It’s a despicable bit of politicking on Cheney’s part, and it is in such instances as this one that cause many in the grass-roots to wonder about the motives of the establishment. It is Cheney, as part of Washington DC’s permanent political class that symbolizes the problem. From his first day working inside the Beltway as an intern for Congressman William Steiger in 1969 until present, Cheney has been hooked into DC politics. Forty years of his influence in Washington is more than enough. Until we begin to discard these insiders, we will never get very far in restoring our republic.
His opinion on Governor Palin was offered up as another propaganda victory to the left, as it was the sort of answer Jonathan Karl had been seeking. An old Washington insider like Cheney couldn’t possibly have fallen into a trap of that sort, so this was said with the full intention of malice, and the manner in which it was said makes it clear there is plenty of that left in Dick Cheney’s heart.
(I suppose this evinces also the fact that one can change one’s heart but still not alter one’s mind, however small the latter chore might have been.)