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Cheney's New Persona

During his tenure as vice president, Dick Cheney has found himself compared to movie villains time and again. He is Darth Vader, the embodiment of evil in the Star Wars movies. Or he is Dr. Evil, the more comic but nonetheless malevolent bad guy of the Austin Powers films.

Today, Cheney arrived at the Capitol for the inaugural ceremony in a wheelchair, the result of a pulled back muscle. And wouldn’t you know it? There’s a menacing movie character that fits this image, too. It’s Mr. Potter!

Yes, Mr. Potter is the greedy, manipulative banking and real estate baron who exploits the hardworking and good-hearted people of Bedford Falls in the Frank Capra holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Cranky, lonely and despised by those around him, Mr. Potter (played by Lionel Barrymore) eventually is bested by George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) in this iconic film that celebrates the triumph of generosity and concern for community over profit and greed.

Is life today imitating art? Let’s hope so.

By Marie Cocco  | January 20, 2009; 11:22 AM ET
Categories:  Cocco  | Tags:  Marie Cocco  
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In the 1920s and 30s, the brilliant Austrian film director Fritz Lang created classic films that featured the wonderful German character actor Rudolf Klein-Rogge in several memorable, villainous roles. Klein-Rogge was the evil mad scientist Rotwang in “Metropolis” (1927) who creates the iconic Futura (False Maria) robot. He was Doctor Mabuse, the evil genius who controlled a vast criminal empire in “Dr. Mabuse: Der Spieler / Inferno” (1922) and who was resurrected as an immortal evil spirit in “Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse” (1933). Finally, Klein-Rogge portrayed the evil, wheelchair-bound master spy (and part-time clown!) Haghi who ruled an espionage network in “Spione” (Spies) (1928). Common threads in these chilling characterizations were of course, “evil”, mind control and world domination.

Both Fritz Lang and Rudolf Klein-Rogge passed away long ago, but just think if these classic films were remade today. Former Vice President Dick Cheney is so perfectly suited for these parts; in fact he was born to play them! With his menacing icy glare, crooked smirk, low-register grumbling and cold-blooded temperament, Cheney is evil incarnate! In fact, Cheney ruled Bush’s White House much as the spectral Dr. Mabuse controlled the insane asylum. And now that Cheney winds up in a wheelchair – he is the very personification of Haghi! How perfect!! … You can’t make this stuff up!

Indeed, Mr. Cheney certainly makes a believable Darth Vader, Old Man Potter, Blofeld (Dr. Evil) or Dr. Strangelove!

Now that Dick Cheney is without work (thank goodness and rood riddance!), he can really carve out a future as an evil, villainous and entirely despicable character actor. And best of all, he needs no training or acting lessons!

Posted by: stevemko | January 20, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Steve there on the Dr. Strangelove similarity. My wife and I got up at 3:30 a.m. in Australia, where we're living in political exile, to watch the inauguration. When the swearing-in was done, the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company) had a shot of Evil Dick in his newfound wheelchair, with a cane, just like Sellers' character. When the screen showed Cheney putting on a glove, just like Dr. S wore when his malign hand started choking him, I expected the ex-realPresident to jump up and shout "Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!"

May you live long enough to die in a jail cell, you b@stard Cheney!

Posted by: Bukkonen | January 20, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Cheney injured his back at all.

More likely, his raging paranoia persuaded him that being the shortest guy in that crowd would afford him some protection from all the terrorists and assassins who might be after him.

Posted by: kjohnson3 | January 20, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

So poetic and pathetic that mr Cheney was in a wheel chair. Too bad his injury did not happen in New Orleans/Katrina where there was an abundance of medical care far away.

Even that was expensive..

Posted by: Fei_Hu | January 20, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Not Mr Potter.

Guy Caballero, the owner of SCTV, who doesn't need a wheelchair but uses one anyway to elicit unearned sympathy from people who don't know the truth.

Posted by: seattle_wa | January 20, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Thats showing the message Obama's been trying to get out. Coming together to kick a cripple when he's down. Now that's inclusive, non-judgemental compassion for your fellow man. I can already hear the excuses, the nazis had excuses too, for killing the cripples who had lost favor with the masses. Why not demand Obama put a bulliet in his head on National TV? I'm sure a lot of Dems whould pay big bucks on pay-per-view for that.

Posted by: MarxBro | January 21, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Hey MarxBro, is it against the formal rules of the Greedy Ol' Party to have a sense of humor? Lighten up a little, will you?

Posted by: seattle_wa | January 21, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Boooo! The WaPo is going down the crapper.

Posted by: brigsy1 | January 22, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Strangelove lives!

I could almost hear him planning the underground city for the nuclear holocaust.

Posted by: jpk1 | January 22, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

In associating Cheney with Dr.Strangelove is doing him a great disservice -to Dr.Strangelove, that is.

Posted by: tonyharding | January 23, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Or to put it another way - Cheney is the Godfather of all evils!

Posted by: tonyharding | January 23, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

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