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The Cheney Reaction

By Dan Froomkin
11:56 AM ET, 03/24/2009

Who does former vice president Dick Cheney think he's helping, exactly?

Molly K. Hooper writes for the Hill: "Congressional Republicans are telling Dick Cheney to go back to his undisclosed location and leave them alone to rebuild the Republican Party without his input.

"Displeased with the former vice-president's recent media appearances, Republican lawmakers say he's hurting GOP efforts to reinvent itself after back-to-back electoral drubbings."

Writing about President Obama's "60 Minutes" interview on Sunday, Los Angeles Times blogger (and former press secretary to Laura Bush) Andrew Malcolm assails Obama for -- among many other things -- responding to Cheney's assertion that he had made the nation less safe.

"Yes, he was asked about them. And Obama's certainly entitled to defend himself. But in that much detail? Let's be brutally honest here: Except for Sunday TV shows' desperate search for Sabbath conflict and the ex-VP's own family, who cares what Dick Cheney has to say now? He's history.

"The reason Obama went on about Cheney, of course, is that as long as Obama can keep the public and especially his own Democratic supporters on the left focused on the aging, albeit unifying, sins of the devil Bush years, the less anyone thinks to start comparing Obama promises to Obama actions in the present day."

Malcolm continues: "[W]hat happens if, heaven forbid, there is another successful terrorist attack on the homeland? Who'd look more politically prescient then -- the departed vice president or the rookie incumbent who defensively and unnecessarily called so much attention to those dire predictions way back now?"

Harper's blogger Scott Horton has video of MSNBC's Rachel Maddow talking to Jonathan Turley. Horton writes: "As Professor Jonathan Turley notes, the curious thing about Obama's response is that it is so mild. Cheney's statements are tantamount to an admission of his involvement in a serious criminal conspiracy. Moreover, Cheney actually brags about his criminality—he insists that he's doing it because it's good for us. When prosecutors decide which cases to charge, one concern is whether the crime has been committed in an open and notorious way. Cheney's conduct on this score is off the charts. As Turley says, 'This is the best defined and most public crime I've seen in my lifetime.' Cheney is effectively building the case for his own criminal prosecution."

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