Dick Cheney, on Barack Obama
Washington, Soon Enough -- Former Vice President Dick Cheney today announced the formation of a new political-action group to promote the causes he championed as one of the most formidable members of the Bush administration.
The new group, to be called HarrumphPAC, will also give Mr. Cheney a more visible platform from which to continue his criticism of Barack Obama’s approach to foreign-policy and national-security matters, and other issues. Mr. Cheney has ramped up that criticism in recent weeks, blasting the new president for “dithering” over his Afghanistan strategy and for “projecting weakness” in his dealings with other nations.
Mr. Cheney also objects to Mr. Obama’s choice of snacks aboard Air Force One, and thinks that Sasha Obama’s bookbag “sends exactly the wrong message” to terrorist groups.
In a statement released this afternoon, Mr. Cheney promised that HarrumphPAC “will be a major force promoting America’s leading position in the world, and taking on its most dangerous critics here at home.”
Among HarrumphPAC new ventures will be a weekly cable-TV show, “Back in My Day...,” and a radio call-in program, “Get Off My Lawn!” Still in the works: a Cheney-hosted panel discussion tentatively titled “You Call That Music?”
HarrumphPAC will be based in Arlington, Va., just a stone’s throw from where Mr. Cheney served for eight years as the nation’s most powerful -- and, in the view of many, its most secretive -- vice president. But this higher public profile is in keeping with a sudden outpouring of speeches and interviews -- all of them highly critical of the new administration’s actions and policies -- as Mr. Cheney has unexpectedly become the single most outspoken alumnus of the Bush White House.
“He knows what’s good for America,” explained daughter Liz Cheney, a vocal conservative advocate in her own right. “And he’s not going to sit by while certain people try to destroy it.”
According to opinion surveys, the public’s view of Mr. Cheney continues to be overwhelmingly negative. But according to Cheney confidants, he’s as firm as ever in his convictions.
“Dick Cheney doesn’t care a bit about poll numbers,” says one close associate. “Frankly, he’s not all that interested in election results either.”
And another associate confirms, “As far as he’s concerned, he should still be running things. He doesn’t see last November as a rejection. More like a clerical error.”
If Barack Obama’s election as the 44th president of the United States has shaken -- or even touched -- Mr. Cheney’s core beliefs, he gives no sign of it. Meanwhile, the 43rd president (and Mr. Cheney’s ostensible boss) has taken a very different course since leaving the White House. George W. Bush has largely kept out of the spotlight, making just a handful of public appearances and mostly holding back from criticizing his successor.
His No. 2 shows no such reticence. Indeed, his willingness to keep up the fight instead of maintaining a discreet silence has some former Bush officials wondering about Mr. Cheney’s emotional balance.
“I’m not saying he’s gone off the deep end or anything,” says one senior official who has known him for decades. “I’m just saying it’s not so good to be yelling ‘Whippersnapper’ all the time.”
# # #
Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at email@example.com.