EDITORIAL: GOP Doesn't Need This Kind of 'Help'
Imagine this: The company you work for fires its top executives for poor performance and turns the keys to their offices over to a new team.
Now imagine that one of those executives, the vice president of the firm, refuses to stay fired. He takes to turning up outside the entrance and accosting employees as they come to work, trying to undercut his successors by complaining to whomever will listen about how things are being done under the new regime, even though the owners are pleased with the directions the company is taking.
The more out of touch he grows, and the more embarrassing information begins to come out about the previous team's mismanagement, the more irrelevant and annoying the former executive's self-justifying sidewalk rantings sound. Soon most of the workers begin avoiding him, using the back entrance and wishing the bitter old fool would just go away.
That's no hypothetical. It pretty much describes recent behavior displayed by former Vice President Dick Cheney.
Usually, when a politician or his chosen successor or party goes down to electoral defeat, he willingly retreats into obscurity for at least a decent interval, bowing to the will of the voters and giving the new officeholders a chance to show their stuff with a minimum of second-guessing from the losers' gallery.
Former President George W. Bush has had the good grace to do just that. But not Cheney. Suddenly he seems determined to show up as the guest on every talk show, making a retroactive case for torture and warning that President Obama is leading the nation down the road to destruction.
On Sunday, when Bob Schieffer of "Face the Nation" asked Cheney if he really thinks the Obama administration has "made this country more vulnerable" to terrorist attacks by repealing Bush-era polices on "enhanced interrogation" and detention, he quickly replied, "That's my belief... We put in place some very good policies (after 9/11), and they worked for eight years."
You mean like the policy of invading and occupying the wrong country, turning much of the rest of the world against us? That certainly worked out well.
With 'Friends' Like This
Rather than enjoy a well-earned retirement, Cheney has also lately sought to capitalize on his (single-digit) popularity by thrusting himself into a new role as Republican power broker and hit man. The Democrats must be watching all the resultant discord with glee.
During the first Gulf War, when he was secretary of defense, Cheney worked closely and effectively with Colin Powell, who was then chairman of the Joint Chiefs. So one might have thought he would defend Powell, who later served as secretary of state, from the current attacks by talk-show host Rush Limbaugh.
But not so. Cheney told Schieffer, most uncharitably, that he agreed with Limbaugh's sentiment that the Republican Party would be better off without Powell in it. "If I had to choose in terms of being a Republican," he said, "I'd go with Rush Limbaugh, I think."
So, the GOP would be better off throwing in with a self-promoting radio blowhard who has never been elected or appointed to anything than identifying itself with one of the most thoughtful and distinguished public servants America has produced in the past half-century.
With "friends" giving it advice like that as it attempts to redefine itself and win over new converts, the Republican Party doesn't need any enemies.
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