Friday, January 26, 2007
Part II: "I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing."
Wolf Blitzer: "How do you respond to some Republicans in congress who are now seriously questioning your credibility, because of the blunders and failures (in Iraq)?"
Dick Cheney: "Wolf, Wolf, I simply don't accept the premise of your question. I think it's just hogwash."
It was to be expected that no one in the vaunted halls of the Capitol would use the kind of language the situation demanded, but Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois at least came close: he called Dick Cheney "delusional." The truth of the matter of course is that Cheney blew past "delusional" about twenty-seven rosey assessments ago, and has now reached the level of "terrifyingly batshit crazy."
On Wednesday, Cheney sat down with CNN's Wolf Blitzer for what was billed as an "exclusive" interview -- which seemed like an odd thing to say about a conversation with a sitting Vice President of the United States, until you considered the fact that when it comes to granting an audience, Cheney rarely strays outside of the friendly softball-field of the Fox News Channel. I suppose it's fair then to claim that the interview was indeed an exclusive opportunity for the portion of the country under the age of seventy-five to finally see a one-on-one with the elusive, mythical vice president. The fact that it was treated to such an unprecedented display of unhinged lunacy can only be called the icing on the cake. By now, most of us are used to Cheney's hallucinatory proclamations about the state of affairs in Iraq -- past, present and future -- as well as his angry mutterings about the media's unwillingness to report the "truth" as only he sees it. Wednesday's performance however, was something new altogether; it was such a frightening denial of reality coupled with an unfathomable tone of defiant demagoguery as to almost be cartoonish -- with Cheney taking on the mannerisms and language of a Bond villain.
When asked about a possible congressional resolution to oppose the Bush Administration's plan to send more than twenty-thousand new U.S. troops to Iraq, Cheney replied simply, "It won't stop us."
All that was missing was a white cat on his lap.
Normally, this kind of delusional and messianic rambling would be laughable -- and make no mistake, you've heard crazy talk just like this coming from the guys on the sidewalk who carry on lengthy conversations with telephone poles -- but when it escapes the mouth of the man who has a say in sending American kids to their deaths, it's nothing short of chilling. There's certainly no denying that Cheney's found himself marginalized as of late -- by those in his own party, by friends like John McCain, by the president he once stood side-by-side with -- and given the fact that literally nothing he has predicted or claimed about our adventure in Iraq has come to fruition, it's hard to be surprised; by this point, Cheney's peers are viewing him less as the menacing Darth Vader and more as the disoriented Dr. Weird of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Once again though, it's inadvisable to doubt for a moment that Cheney truly believes Iraq is in great shape and that all that's needed to seal the deal are a few more good men.
There's a conspiracy theory being bandied about by a few liberal bloggers which intimates that Cheney's being allowed to publicly hang himself and will soon be quietly asked to resign for "health reasons" -- the supposed endgame being that Bush will appoint Condi Rice to the VP's seat, thereby putting the Republicans in a better position for the 2008 election and, more importantly, securing Bush's legacy beyond simply being the president who got us into an unnecessary war, brought a volatility to the Middle-East that threatens the safety of the world, and possibly ruined America's good name for decades to come. Those who subscribe to this theory believe that the recent appointment of John Negroponte to the position of Deputy Secretary of State undeniably foreshadows this scenario.
I however hold no such hope that Cheney will be sidelined. It hasn't happened yet; I doubt it will happen at any point during the Bush presidency. The man whose unwillingness to accept, or inability to grasp reality, will more than likely continue to play at least some role in both the future of this country and the lives of its soldier -- and that's simply staggering.
At the end of the CNN interview, Wolf Blitzer asked Cheney about the criticism some Christian Conservative family groups have leveled at his pregnant daughter, Mary Cheney, and her plans to raise the child with her lesbian partner of fourteen years. Cheney stoically responded by saying, "Frankly, I think you're out of line with that question."
At that point, I truly expected the floor to open up and Blitzer's chair to drop into a shark tank.