Dick Cheney

Obama Says He’s Not Dick Cheney — Dick Cheney Disagrees

Dick Cheney

During a recent closed-door meeting with Senate Democrats, President Barack Obama fended off questions about his controversial drones program, which could put American citizens accused of terrorism in its crosshairs. In seeking to downplay his administration’s use of drones, President Obama claimed that he is no Dick Cheney, whose hawkish foreign policy views carried significant weight in the Bush Administration:

President Barack Obama’s defense to Democratic senators complaining about how little his administration has told Congress about the legal justifications for his drone policy: Dick Cheney was worse.

That’s part of what two senators in the room recounted of Obama’s response when, near the outset of his closed-door session with the Senate Democratic conference on Tuesday, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) confronted the president over the administration’s refusal for two years to show congressional intelligence committees Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel memos justifying the use of lethal force against American terror suspects abroad.
[…]
“This is not Dick Cheney we’re talking about here,” he said, according to Democratic senators who asked not to be named discussing the private meeting.

Dick Cheney apparently didn’t get that memo. The former vice president spoke positively of President Obama’s drones program last month in an interview with Charlie Rose. Cheney said, “I think it’s a good program and I don’t disagree with the basic policy that the Obama administration is pursuing now in those regards.”

Once proud civil libertarians, Democrats have now accepted Bush’s policies

Barack Obama and George W. Bush

During his 2008, presidential campaign, Barack Obama spoke forcefully against then-President George W. Bush’s expansion of executive power, leading many to believe that he would strengthen civil liberties. In March 2008, Jeffrey Rosen wrote at The New York Times that “[i]f Barack Obama wins in November, we could have not only our first president who is an African-American, but also our first president who is a civil libertarian.”

That was the great “hope” about Obama, to borrow a phrase from his 2008 campaign. There is no question that Bush waged an assault on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights by signing the PATRIOT Act, approving warrantless wiretaps, among other concerning policies he enacted.

But since taking office in 2009, President Obama has not only kept these policies of his predecessor in place, but he actually greatly expanded them — and he has done so with the approval of neo-conservatives, who were frequent targets of the Left during Bush’s presidency. During an interview with Charlie Rose on CBS just this morning, former Vice President Dick Cheney praised President Obama’s drones program.

The irony here is thick. BuzzFeed noted recently that there are several aspects to Obama’s presidency that not many Democrats are willing to acknowledge — from the troops surge in Afghanistan to the “kill list” and drones to torture of terrorist suspects — though when Bush pushed them, they absolutely lost their minds.

Not One of Us - The Fall of Neoconservatism

Some months prior to Rand Paul’s primary victory in Kentucky, a familiar pair of politicians came together in support of his opponent Trey Grayson. Late endorsements by the President of 9/11, Rudy Guiliani and Dick Cheney were trotted out in an attempt to make a dent in a double digit lead that Dr. Paul had held for some months. Cesar Conda also got into the act, writing an article for the National Review the day of Cheney’s endorsement announcement. He also convened an emergency conference call and sent out a panicky email to neoconservative pundits.

These efforts had no effect whatsoever. Rand Paul not only won the primary against Grayson, but crushed his Democrat opponent in the general election.

That the effort failed is a matter of record. However, you may or may not have noticed how little this failure, achieved with the help of the two most prominent elected neoconservatives of the last decade not named Bush, has been analyzed,  much less discussed..

One of the more interesting facts about Conda’s email  was its list of recipients. A desperate cry for help, the list of neoconservative writers was a who’s who list of PNAC advisors.

Politico reported:

CPAC was the wrong place to make that statement

Since some are already jumping to conclusions, I don’t in any way condone what was said at CPAC. I don’t want to get in an unwinnable debate of opinions of the former Vice President. I’m simply saying that if you feel that way, say it somewhere else.

As libertarians, we are notoriously bad at politics. Partly because we are cynical about things actually changing, but also because we are so principled on certain issues, including opposition to unjustified war and distrust of the Federal Reserve, that we tend to render ourselves irrelevant before we even have a legitmate opportunity to establish our position.

The response is “but it shouldn’t be that way,” and you’re right. But that doesn’t change the fact that this is reality, and sometimes we have to work within the system to achieve a desired change.

On Friday, CPAC attendees were given a surprise as former Vice President Dick Cheney showed up to intro Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense in the Bush Administration, who was set to receive the “Defender of the Constitution” Award from the American Conservative Union.

It was rumored early in the day that several dozen Campaign for Liberty members were going to stage a walkout during the presentation of the award. But I’m afraid the addition of Cheney to the stage was too much for some people to stand.

After a steady round of applause, someone or a group of people - presumably supporters of Ron Paul - began taunting Cheney from the crowd, shouting “war criminal,” calling Cheney “murdering scum,” asking “Where’s bin Laden” and for him to “show us the shekels.”

Why are conservatives and Republicans enamored with George W. Bush?

With the release of his new book, Decision Points, many conservatives and Republicans are making a big deal over George W. Bush’s return from political exile. While I understand that they may be looking at Barack Obama’s presidency, where we’ve seen out of control spending and the Constitution often ignored. It doesn’t make much sense to look back longingly at Bush, who spent like a drunken sailor and treated the Constitution and Bill of Rights like an afterthought.

While I’m not a fan of Michelle Malkin, she is cautioning Republicans not to get too nostalgistic over the return of the Big Spender from Crawford:

The problem, of course, is that Bush nostalgia is indelibly marred by his disastrous domestic policy legacy of big government, big spending, and betrayal of core fiscal principles — the very impetus for the Tea Party movement upon which he now heaps glowing praise.

Take yourselves back to 2007. The headline on my blog on December 3, 2007:

Hillary and Bush agree: Government should bail out homeowners.

Former RNC Chair: “I’m Gay”

Ken Mehlman, a former chairman of the RNC and George W. Bush’s campaign manager, has confirmed in an interview with Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic that he is gay:

Mehlman arrived at this conclusion about his identity fairly recently, he said in an interview. He agreed to answer a reporter’s questions, he said, because, now in private life, he wants to become an advocate for gay marriage and anticipated that questions would arise about his participation in a late-September fundraiser for the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the group that supported the legal challenge to California’s ballot initiative against gay marriage, Proposition 8.

“It’s taken me 43 years to get comfortable with this part of my life,” said Mehlman, now an executive vice-president with the New York City-based private equity firm, KKR. “Everybody has their own path to travel, their own journey, and for me, over the past few months, I’ve told my family, friends, former colleagues, and current colleagues, and they’ve been wonderful and supportive. The process has been something that’s made me a happier and better person. It’s something I wish I had done years ago.”
[…]
Mehlman acknowledges that if he had publicly declared his sexuality sooner, he might have played a role in keeping the party from pushing an anti-gay agenda.

“It’s a legitimate question and one I understand,” Mehlman said. “I can’t change the fact that I wasn’t in this place personally when I was in politics, and I genuinely regret that. It was very hard, personally.” He asks of those who doubt his sincerity: “If they can’t offer support, at least offer understanding.”

Napolitano: Bush, Cheney should be indicted

Andrew Napolitano, host of Freedom Watch and Fox News legal analyst, says that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney should be indicted for torture, illegally spying on Americans and suspending habeas corpus (ignoring the Constitution and Bill of Rights):

Top CIA Official Says Waterboarding Ban Has No Negative Impact On Intelligence Gathering

Another nail in the Cheney coalition’s coffin:

Michael Sulick, head of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, told a student audience last week that the spy agency has seen no fall-off in intelligence since waterboarding was banned by the Obama administration.

“I don’t think we’ve suffered at all from an intelligence standpoint,” Sulick told students and some faculty members at Fordham University, his alma mater, on March 25. “But I don’t want to talk about [it from] a legal, moral or ethical standpoint.”

Oh well, nice try Neo-Cons.

KY Senate: Dick Cheney endorses Trey Grayson

The Republican establishment is getting nervous about Rand Paul. So much so that ex-Vice President Dick Cheney has endorsed Trey Grayson:

Dick Cheney today announced that he is endorsing Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson over Rand Paul in the GOP Senate primary.

“I’m a lifelong conservative, and I can tell the real thing when I see it. I have looked at the records of both candidates in the race, and it is clear to me that Trey Grayson is right on the issues that matter — both on fiscal responsibility and on national security,” Cheney said in a statement released this morning.
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“The challenges posed by radical Islam and Al Qaeda are real and will be an on-going threat to our domestic security for years to come. We need Senators who truly understand this and who will work to strengthen our commitment to a strong national defense and to whom this is not just a political game,” Cheney said.

“There is no doubt that the real conservative in this race is Trey Grayson, and there is no better choice for Kentuckians in May and November.”

Grayson, neo-conservatives and Republican establishment are running against Ron Paul more than they are Rand Paul, who has taken a more hawkish stand on foreign affairs that his father.

Rand Paul Must Be Doing Something Right

The Cheneyites are nervous:

Senior Republicans in Kentucky and Washington D.C. are deeply concerned about Senate candidate Trey Grayson’s campaign as he struggles to narrow the gap against GOP primary rival Rand Paul.

Two months before the election, the libertarian-leaning Paul, son of the Texas congressman and quixotic presidential contender, has tapped into anti-Washington grass-roots fervor on the right and staked out an advantage over Grayson, Kentucky’s secretary of state and establishment favorite.

There have been few polls in the race, but an automated survey earlier this month showed Paul leading by double digits. Even Grayson backers acknowledge that their candidate is lagging, if not as badly as the public polls indicate.

A win by Paul, a Bowling Green ophthalmologist, would represent the first true electoral success of the tea party movement. Equally important, it would embarrass Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose political organization is running Grayson’s campaign, thrust onto the national stage a Republican with foreign policy views out of the conservative mainstream and, strategists in both parties believe, imperil the GOP’s hold on the seat now held by retiring Sen. Jim Bunning.

Recognizing the threat, a well-connected former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney convened a conference call last week between Grayson and a group of leading national security conservatives to sound the alarm about Paul.

“On foreign policy, [global war on terror], Gitmo, Afghanistan, Rand Paul is NOT one of us,” Cesar Conda wrote in an e-mail to figures such as Liz Cheney, William Kristol, Robert Kagan, Dan Senor and Marc Thiessen

Rand Paul: Not A Neo-Con Warmonger.

The commercials write themselves.


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