Monday, February 15, 2010
Cheney VS. Biden & Happy Presidents Day!
Hey Vice-Precedence Fans!
Well, yesterday was a very interesting day for VP's in the media. Current VP Joe Biden was on NBC's "Meet the Press" and former VP Richard "Dick" Cheney was on ABC's "This Week".
Cheney made many interesting comments in his interview with Jonathan Karl, once again sharply criticizing the Obama/Biden Administration over the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and national security issues. He claimed that any success that the current administration has had on these major issues was only due to the efforts of Bush and Cheney himself:
"If [the administration is] going to take credit for [Iraq's success], fair enough ... but it ought to come with a healthy dose of 'Thank you, George Bush' up front and a recognition that some of their early recommendations with respect to prosecuting that war were just dead wrong," Cheney said.
He went on to say that he thinks the policies of the Obama/Biden administration are putting the U.S. in danger of more terrorist attacks. He used VP Biden's own words against the current administration to make his point, attacking Bidens claim that another 9/11 level attack is "unlikely":
"I just think that's just dead wrong. I think the biggest threat the United States faces today is the possibility of another 9/11 with a nuclear weapon or a biological agent of some kind. And I think Al-Qaeda is out there -- even as we meet -- trying to do that. You have to consider it as a war. You have to consider it as something we may have to deal with tomorrow. You don't want the vice president of the United States running around saying, 'Oh, it's not likely going to happen.'"
While this is par for the course when it comes to Cheney (as I have reported on this blog) and probably made his fellow conservative Republicans very happy, he then
went on to make comments that probably had their jaws dropping in shock.
Cheney DID say that he agrees with Obama's strategy for Afghanistan, saying he is a "complete supporter" of the idea of sending more soldiers, sailors, and marines to that country and highly praised the Presidents selection of General Stanley McChrystal to lead this attack.
Once again, Cheney showed his open-mindedness when it comes to issues regarding Homosexual Rights. When it comes to "Don't Ask-Don't Tell" Cheney admitted that the time has come to re-examine the issue:
"Twenty years ago, the military were strong advocates of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' when I was Secretary of Defense. I think things have changed significantly since then. I'm reluctant to second-guess the military in this regard. When the Chiefs come forward and say, 'We think we can do it,' then it strikes me that it's time to reconsider the policy."
Keep in mind, this is not only a former VP making this argument, but as he reminds folks-a former Secretary of Defense (1989-1993). Besides that, as you all probably know - he is also the father of an out lesbian and grandfather to her two children produced from artificial insemination, something that has made conservative Christian Republicans in groups like Focus on the Family and The Christian Coalition furious and disgusted. So his point of view on this subject is a unique one that should be respected and taken into account.
He also showed a lack of enthusiasm for Sarah Palin and her ideas. He made it clear that he disagrees with her on the idea that President Obama could help himself politically by declaring war on Iran. On an interview last week for the FOX NEWS
show "FOX News Sunday" Palin stated that if the President: "toughen[ed] up" and "secured our nation," people might change what they think about him.
"Say he decided to declare war on Iran or decide to really come out and do whatever he could to support Israel, which I would like him to do. If he decided to toughen up ... I think people would perhaps shift their thinking a little bit and decide, 'Well, maybe he's tougher than we think he's, than he is today.'" Palin said.
Cheney disagreed with her and made it clear he did:
"I don't think a President can make a judgment like that on the basis of politics. The stakes are too high, the consequences too significant to be treating those as simple political calculations. When you begin to talk about war, talk about crossing international borders, you talk about committing American men and women to combat, that takes place on a plane clear above any political consideration."
As for a Palin presidential bid - Cheney showed little enthusiasm for the idea:
"I haven't made a decision yet on who I'm going to support. I think all of the prospective candidates out there have got a lot of work to do if in fact they are going to persuade a majority of Americans that they are ready to take on the world's toughest job," Cheney said.
Cheney also admitted that he was in disagreement with the majority of the Bush Administration when it came to issues of interrogation of detainees in Guantanamo and Abu-Grahib. He talked about a meeting he was in with the Cabinet and other advisers to President Bush held in the Roosevelt Room "where we had a major shootout" over whether to try captured terrorist suspects before military commissions or, as the Justice Department advocated at the time, in civilian courts here in the U.S.
"We never clearly or totally resolved those issues," Cheney said. "These are tough questions, no doubt about it. You want my opinion, my view of what ought to happen, I think we have to treat it as a war."
He was, and still is, in favor of water-boarding and other intense, controversial methods, while many of the cabinet members and military advisers were against it.
He went on to criticize the way the White House is handling terrorist issues and the incident on Christmas with the "Underwear Bomber" prompting Vice-President Biden on "Meet the Press" to say:
“Dick Cheney’s a fine fellow, but he is not entitled to rewrite history without it being challenged. I don’t know where he has been. Where was he the last four years of the last administration?”
"A fine fellow"? Wow. Where the hell did that come from? So as you can see it was a very interesting week for the former VP and the current VP - who you may have seen with his wife representing the U.S. at the Opening Ceremonies at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
As you probably already know - its Presidents Day, which means days off for some people, no school for many, sales at car dealerships, furniture stores, mattress places ("Get Free Delivery with your New Sealy or any New Mattress and Pay Nothing til Next Year!!") department stores, and other places. While I don't begrudge anyone getting a good deal in this day and age with the economy the way it is, I think there needs to be more thought about what today is really about. Maybe, just maybe, we should take the time today to remember the Presidents (and VP's) who worked hard to make our country what it is today.
Remember President Lincoln, who sacrificed his life to make this nation free from the stain of slavery, who pledged "Malice towards none, and charity towards all" and who simply wanted to heal a nation stunned by death and destruction-only to be murdered in cold blood before he could do so. Lincoln rose to the greatest crisis in American history and preserved our Union, eradicated slavery, and made us what we are today.
Remember George Washington - who left his comfortable home to lead a war against the most powerful empire on Earth - who risked being hanged for treason and put himself in the middle of terrible fire from the enemy to rally his men, who somehow managed to attain victory and instead of making himself dictator or king as had all other men in history had in his position, simply retired and went home, until his country called on him again to be its first President, and who has set the standard for every President since.
Also, remember VP's like Daniel Tompkins who in his last act before becoming VP, banned slavery in New York. Remember William Wheeler, who when pressured to go along with machine-politics of New York and accept bribes flatly refused and said; ".."[T]here is nothing in the gift of the State of New York which will compensate me for the forfeiture of my self-respect". Remember the VP's who when tragedy struck the nation and we lost Presidents to murder or illness, took over an office they never thought they'd have to and did the best they could to make sure our system of government continued.
Remember our Presidents and VP's and think about all they had to give up to lead our country. Thats what today is really all about.
Thanks for reading and Happy Presidents Day!