Tag Archives: Dick Cheney

What about Dick Cheney?

Liz Cheney is getting some ridiculous pushback from those on the far right of her Republican Party over her condemnation of Donald Trump’s inciting of the 1/6 insurrection.

I cannot allow that resistance to go unchallenged.

The Wyoming GOP congresswoman is now being held responsible in some circles for the lies her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, told the nation about weapons of mass destruction that allegedly were possessed by the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Let me be crystal clear on this.

Liz Cheney was a grown woman when her father pitched the notion that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD, which he and the George W. Bush administration used to justify the invasion of Iraq. She did not serve in the administration. Her father did. Therefore, she bears no responsibility for the lies that Dick Cheney fomented about WMD.

For those who now challenge Liz Cheney’s credibility in voting to impeach Donald Trump and for serving on the 1/6 House select committee is a classic case of “what about-ism” run amok.

Indeed, does it occur to anyone that perhaps Liz Cheney learned something from the deception that her father perpetrated on the nation in the lead-up to the Iraq War? Might that have served as a “teachable moment” to the VP’s daughter to tell the truth were she ever to seek and hold public office?

This nonsense that Rep. Cheney should be held to account for the actions of a family member is utter rubbish.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Cheney seeks redemption?

Richard Bruce Cheney has done the virtually impossible; he has ingratiated himself to Democrats across the nation simply by doing something that damn few Republicans are able to do in this terrible, divided political climate.

The former vice president stood with his daughter, Rep. Liz Cheney, on the floor of the U.S. House this week and participated in a moment of silence to honor the brave men and women who fought with the 1/6 rioters.

Think for a moment about this. Dick Cheney once was considered the most loathsome politician in the nation, according to Democratic partisans. The VP in the George W. Bush administration was seen as the shadow architect of our foolish Iraq War. Indeed, he was thought by many critics to be a “shadow president” who called the shots in secret.

However, Dick Cheney today stands on the right side of history. He has condemned the disgraceful conduct of the current Republican congressional leadership and its handling of the 1/6 riot and its aftermath. He told reporters this week that Congress doesn’t “resemble the place” he knew during his service in the House before becoming defense secretary and then vice president.

I won’t forgive Cheney for what I consider to be some horrible decisions he made. However, I want to applaud the former vice president for participating with Democrats in a solemn ceremony to honor the police officers who fought to defend members of Congress and the Constitution of the United States.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Wyoming: where few folks live, where U.S. rep wields huge clout

RAWLINS, Wyo. — This is a charming town in the south-central region of a sprawling state. It sits somewhere between two fictitious towns to which I refer when I’m trying to illustrate sparse population: Resume Speed, Wyo., and Bumfu*, Egypt.

Here’s the deal with Rawlins, and with Wyoming: The state shares the rare distinction of having three statewide representatives in Congress; by that I mean two U.S. senators and one U.S. House of Representatives member. The other states are North and South Dakota, Alaska and Montana.

But let’s talk about Wyoming.

Its lone U.S. rep is a young woman named Liz Cheney. You might have heard of her. Her parents are Dick and Lynn Cheney. Dad Cheney has considerable political credential: former vice president, former secretary of defense, former congressman — from Wyoming, no less, former White House chief of staff. The dude’s been around, you know?

He passed his political interest on to his daughter, Liz, who recently moved to Wyoming so she could run for Congress from the state that ranks No. 10 in geographical area among all 50 states.

She faced down carpetbagger accusations, given that she grew up Back East, while Dad was serving as congressman, defense secretary during the Bush 41 administration and WH chief of staff for President Ford.

I don’t know how well Liz Cheney has acquainted herself with Wyoming’s unique issues. The state has a couple of impressive national parks, it is teeming with spectacular beauty; they mine a lot of coal in Wyoming; driving across the magnificent landscape one sees a lot of wind farms as well. They all require federal attention.

Given that Rep. Cheney represents the same constituencies as Sens. John Barraso and Mike Enzi, Wyoming gets a three-fer in political clout. Cheney is not bashful, either, about wielding her power, as the second-term House member already is chairing the House Republican Caucus.

Oh, and gerrymandering, the task that allows state legislators to carve up their states according to population trends? Not an issue in Wyoming. No such thing as “gerrymandered congressional districts” here.

There might come a day when the state gets a second House member. For now, all the state’s 580,000 residents should appreciate having a U.S. representative who answers to them.

Bale sticks a former VPOTUS in the eye . . . needlessly

Christian Bale more or less demonstrated the kind of behavior I wish wouldn’t occur at these awards ceremonies.

The actor — who I recognize is a brilliant artist — decided to stick it in the eye of former Vice President Dick Cheney while accepting his Golden Globe award Sunday night for best actor in a dramatic film. Bale portrays Cheney in the film “Vice,” and I must say he turns in a stellar performance.

Bale thanked director Adam McKay for casting him to portray the former VP. But . . . then he described Cheney as “absolutely charisma free and reviled by everybody.” Sigh.

Bale wasn’t finished. He said in the future he would be “cornering the market” on portraying “charisma-free assholes.”

“Thank you to Satan for giving me inspiration,” Bale added.

Again, sigh.

I have already stated my wish that actors and others in the entertainment industry would refrain from making political statements at these events.

It’s fair to wonder, though, why Bale would decide to launch a gratuitous assault on an individual who — regardless of how you feel about him — is a significant, historic American political figure. Why then? In that moment? In that context?

I just don’t get it.

Oh, one more thing: Christian Bale is a Brit. Meaning that he didn’t have a voice in determining whether Dick Cheney would occupy any of the public offices he held.

Just sayin’, man.

Bush 41 ended the Gulf War the correct way

I will now offer you my brief statement of support for the late  President George H.W. Bush’s decision to end the Persian Gulf War the way he did it.

They’re going to bury the former president later this week, but before they lay the great man to rest, let’s revisit one of the signature events of his presidency.

Iraqi dictator/madman Saddam Hussein sent his army into Kuwait in August 1990. He took control of the country. He seized the nation’s oil fields. President Bush was, naturally, quite alarmed. He summoned his national security team to the White House. They began plotting a strategy to respond.

He went to the United Nations. Bush then got on the phone and enlisted the support of 33 nations. He assembled an enormous international coalition.

The UN then approved a resolution authorizing and endorsing military action if the need arose. Bush and Secretary of State James Baker sought a diplomatic solution. They failed.

The massive force had gathered in the area near Kuwait and Iraq. They were ready. The UN resolution limited the mission to one element: get the Iraqis out of Kuwait.

The president gave the order. The aerial campaign started, pounding Iraqi defenses in Kuwait — and in Iraq.

The armored divisions breached the Kuwaiti frontier and within days the Iraqis were routed. They were on the run. Our fighter aircraft strafed the fleeing troops, killing thousands of them on the road to Baghdad.

Then the president called a halt to the fighting. We lost fewer than 200 American lives in the fight. The Iraqis were defeated.

But some critics at home — notably the “chicken hawks” who didn’t understand the consequences of war the way Bush 41, a World War II naval aviator did — wanted our forces to march all the way to the Iraqi capital. They wanted to capture Saddam Hussein, presuming he would surrender the way his troops did on the battlefield.

President Bush knew better. So did Defense Secretary Dick Cheney. Same for Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Army Gen. Colin Powell, who saw combat during the Vietnam War. They knew what the UN mission allowed. They weren’t going to overstep their authority.

The end of the Gulf War delivered for a time a period of relative stability. Saddam Hussein — who never set foot outside of Iraq — was thoroughly contained after our forces destroyed his supposedly vaunted Republican Guard in Kuwait.

The containment wouldn’t last, tragically, after we invaded Iraq in March 2003 intent on removing Saddam Hussein.

However, there can be little doubt as we look back at the Persian Gulf War that we set forth on a specific mission. We accomplished it. We restored — yes, with mixed success — a sense of stability in a volatile region.

Taking the Gulf War fight all the way to Baghdad was a prescription for geopolitical disaster. I am grateful to this day that President George H.W. Bush reacted with reason, calm and with good judgment.

Wyoming: stranger political climate than Texas?

CASPER, Wyo. — I love this state. It’s spacious, gorgeous and virtually uninhabited.

It’s the 10th-largest state in the union in terms of area; but it ranks No. 50 in terms of population, with about 580,000 residents scattered across 97,000 square miles.

It also has a single U.S. House of Representatives member representing it, along with two U.S. senators, Republicans John Barrasso and Mike Enzi.

And what about that member of Congress? She is Liz Cheney, who happens to be the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Here’s where the strangeness of Wyoming politics comes into play. Our friend Tom — a longtime journalist of some standing here — was showing us around Casper and he told me that Wyoming isn’t too keen on carpetbaggers, the politician who barely knows a region he or she wants to represent in government.

Why, then, did Wyoming elect Liz Cheney, who grew up in Washington, D.C., while her dad was serving in the Defense Department, Congress and as President Ford’s chief of staff before being elected VP in 2000?

Tom’s answer: “Because she has an ‘R’ next to her name and her dad happens to be the former vice president of the United States.”

I don’t have a particular problem with carpetbaggers. Indeed, my first political hero — the late Robert F. Kennedy — carried that title when he was elected to the U.S. Senate from New York in 1964. So did Hillary Rodham Clinton when she ran for RFK’s old seat in 2000 after serving eight years as first lady of the United States. Indeed, Mitt Romney — the former Massachusetts governor — is facing down the carpetbagger demon as he runs for the Senate in Utah.

I do find it cool, too, that a U.S. House member can represent the same constituency as two U.S. senators. Indeed, senators tend at times to lord it over House members that they represent entire states while their House colleagues have to settle for representing a measly House district.

Not so in Wyoming, where equality between the “upper” and “lower” congressional chambers is alive and well.

Dick Cheney … where are you?

Of all the public figures who has shown no reluctance to speak out after leaving public office, the one to whom I refer has grown strangely silent.

Former Vice President Richard B. Cheney has gone dark. At least he has remained out of my earshot.

This is the guy who was quick to lambaste President Barack Obama during Obama’s two terms in office. He once referred to Obama as the “worst president in my lifetime.”

This blog took the former veep to task for declining to follow the lead of the man for whom he worked, President George W. Bush, who has remained quiet during his post-presidential time.

But now, with all this discussion swirling around President Obama’s successor, I keep waiting for some pearls of wisdom from Vice President Cheney.

I know he is able to put forward cogent thoughts. I heard recently he spoke at a college commencement. I cannot recall whether he weighed in on some of the issues of the day.

Seriously, the man who exhibited a rhetorical hair-trigger when it involved one president would seem willing to fire away with public comments regarding another one. Isn’t that right?

Hey, I’m no fan of Vice President Cheney. I just believe he has something of value to add to the cacophony of noise that’s pouring out of the halls of power.

Kelly’s a downer; Trump is worse

Political junkies such as yours truly are writing about White House chiefs of staff lately. The trials, troubles and travails of John Kelly have elevated this post to the top of our minds.

Seriously, though, Kelly only deserves part of the blame for what ails the White House these days.

The main source of the difficulty rests with the man who sits behind the big ol’ desk in the Oval Office. Donald Trump’s the Public Culprit No. 1.

Kelly is unlikely to last much longer as chief of staff, no matter what he says about his desire to stay on the job or what the president says about his faith in the job Kelly is doing. This Rob Porter matter is threatening to swallow Gen. Kelly whole. Indeed, Kelly — a retired Marine Corps four-star general — has made a mess of the controversy surrounding Porter’s alleged spouse-beating.

The question has to center now on who would want the job after Kelly departs. Who, indeed, would subject himself to the whims and whimsy of the president?

Trump doesn’t take guidance well. He wants to be his own man. I can’t blame him for that, except that as president he needs a chief of staff who’ll tell him the truth, even when it hurts. Kelly apparently can’t do that.

Successful White House chiefs of staff — men such as James Baker III, Leon Panetta, Dick Cheney come to mind — have employed considerable political expertise to tell the presidents they served when they were making a mistake. I’m trying to imagine John Kelly delivering that kind of advice to Donald Trump. I can’t get there.

Trump operates in a constant state of chaos. He is tempestuous by nature. He relishes conflict. How can a president function successfully when his world is full of tumult and tension? He cannot. It’s that clear and simple.

So it now becomes a question of who is going to sign on to be the 45th president’s next whipping boy?

Donald Trump promised he would surround himself with “the best people.” The best of the best has to be the individual who runs the White House. Good luck finding someone to fill that bill.

Say it ain’t so, Joe

It pains me to say this, but I must reiterate what I believe remains the case to this day.

Democrats need not look to old warhorses to salvage their political fortunes, which means to me that former Vice President Joe Biden shouldn’t be a candidate for his party’s presidential nomination in 2020.

I say this despite my affection and respect for the former vice president. I’ve long admired his tenacity, his passionate patriotism and his sense of collegiality and comity. He served in the U.S. Senate for 36 years before joining the Democratic Party ticket led in 2008 by his Senate colleague, Barack H. Obama.

I believe still that Democrats need to find a newcomer to the national scene. I believe also that the nation has become afflicted with Clinton Fatigue, which means Hillary Clinton also is out of the presidential political game.

It appears to me that Democrats would do well to look for someone who is as unknown to the public as Jimmy Carter was in 1976. The nation was starved back then for a fresh face and they got one when the former Georgia governor climbed to the top of the party’s primary fight.

Vice President Biden has said publicly that he hasn’t ruled out a 2020 run. He was thought to be a possible candidate in 2016, but at the end had to stand down, given his intense grief over the death of his son Beau and his inability to commit fully to a presidential campaign.

Biden has been openly critical of Donald John Trump. Hmmm. Imagine that. So have many others. The ex-VP has spoken out strongly, much like another former veep — Dick Cheney — did during much of President Obama’s time in office.

But I don’t believe a Biden presidential campaign is going to serve the party well. Democrats would do well to find a fresh face, with fresh ideas to challenge a Republican Party that has been hijacked by a president who came into power knowing not a damn thing about how to govern the greatest nation on Earth.

Where has Dick Cheney been hiding?

Paging the former vice president of the United States, Richard Bruce Cheney!

You might recall — as I do — that Dick Cheney was a vocal, frequent and occasionally obnoxious critic of President Barack H. Obama. Yes, throughout Obama’s two terms as president, Cheney was making himself available on TV and radio talk shows to tell us how the president was endangering the nation, that he was the “worst foreign policy president” in U.S. history.

So, Obama leaves office. Donald John Trump Sr. takes over. Trump has made a mess of a lot of things.

The Russia matter? Allegations of collusion with the Russians? North Korea? Declaring that an aircraft battle group was steaming toward Korea when it actually was traveling in precisely the opposite direction, from Australia into the Indian Ocean?

Then we have the domestic stuff: Charlottesville and the president’s seeming cozying up to Nazis and Klansmen; the transgender ban in the U.S. military.

Where is Cheney? Mr. Vice President, have you nothing at all to say about the new president? You were pretty damn quick on the verbal trigger when Barack Obama was the man in charge.

It’s not that I necessarily want to hear what the former vice president has to say. It’s just that the current political debate seems so quiet without his voice.