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Cheney Warns of Obama Dangers -- Again

Newly loquacious former vice president Dick Cheney was on TV again yesterday, warning grimly of the enormous dangers the country faces from President Obama's plans. The new twist: He was talking about the economy, instead of national security.

Chatting with CNBC's Larry Kudlow, (here's the transcript), Cheney echoed Kudlow's concern that Obama's budget deficits will cost the country its credit rating, and he came this close to calling the president a socialist.

Kudlow: "[S]ome conservatives say Mr. Obama is a socialist or a socialist-light, and he's running socialist type policies. Do you agree with that criticism?"

Cheney (smiling): "Well, I agree with the criticism without using the labels.....

"[W]hat we've been seeing, though, and what's been advocated by the president and what looks to be in store if he's successful is that we're seeing a vast expansion, not only the power of the federal government over the private sector, but also in terms of spending. Massive, massive amounts of new spending and presumably new taxes to pay for it that I think will do fundamental, long-term damage to the country. And I do think it's a more liberal agenda, if you will, than any in recent memory."

But Kudlow, normally a pushover interview for Cheney, actually tried to make the former vice president take some of the blame for Obama's unprecedented interference in private enterprise.

Kudlow: "But, in truth, isn't it fair to say that many of these policies, central planning policies, command and control interference policies, whether it's socialism-light or European market social kinds of policies, they really began under the Bush-Cheney administration, did they not? I mean, after all, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are under government ownership 80 percent. That began under your administration. The first General Motors loan began under your administration. And, of course, the great TARP program to allegedly prop up the banking system, which has turned out to be partly bank ownership, we don't know the last story on that.... All these things really began under your administration. At what point President Bush, I believe, said we have to--we have to stop--we have to suspend free market capitalism in order to save free market capitalism. What's your take on that? How much blame of this shift to the left do you think the Bush-Cheney administration bears?....Did you anticipate how Congress would move in to take control of the banks when you made these initial loans?

Cheney: "No, I don't believe we did. I don't recall any debate within the administration. There may have been some over at Treasury or someplace that focused on the extent of which government would try to control these institutions once they provided financing for them."

After the interview, Kudlow crowed that he had gotten Cheney to admit that he and Bush hadn't fully thought things through.

Meanwhile, Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus writes that "Cheney's speech at the American Enterprise Institute [last week] was so chockfull of faulty arguments and rank misrepresentations that it's worth taking the time to review them, in their multiple incarnations."

And Salon's Gary Kamiya is upset that Obama didn't sufficiently distance himself from Cheney in his speech that same day: "By tacitly accepting Cheney's terms -- by shamefully proposing that we detain suspected terrorists indefinitely without real trials, or by refusing to release photographs of Americans torturing people in their control -- Obama has enabled and encouraged our diffuse national cowardice....

"Obama has tried to lead America out of the shadows of the Bush years. He has projected a calm optimism, a reasoned determination, that is a breath of fresh air after the puerile, bullying bravado of George W. Bush and the dark, croaking counsel of his evil courtier Cheney. And he has said inspiring things about the importance of defending our laws, rights and traditions, even in the face of terrorist threats. But because Obama has failed to directly reject the irrational boogeymen his predecessors whipped up, and because he has continued many of their policies, he has not been able to spring us from their dank culture of fear."

By Dan Froomkin  |  May 28, 2009; 11:40 AM ET
Categories:  Looking Backward  
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Comments

Now Cheney's worried about deficit spending? He certainly didn't seem worried about them back when he allegedly told then Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil:

"You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter. We won the mid-term elections, this is our due."

(Refefernce: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/01/09/60minutes/main592330.shtml)

If the Bush administration had taken the deficit issue more seriously from the start and been the financial conservatives that Republicans used to claim to be, maybe the current administration wouldn't be in a position where they have to double-down on the Federal budget to try and get us out of our current financial mess.

Posted by: Gallenod | May 28, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

At the end, Cheney complains that the new administration is basically ignoring the ways you stimulate the economy "by growing the private sector" ... principles like cut taxes as much as possible, minimize government regulation, etc.

Bulletin for Mr Cheney: If "trickle-down economics" hasn't worked after 28 years, it's NOT GONNA!

You guys had your chance, you ran the economic paradigm for the last generation and what did you get us? A castle made of sand that melted when the tide came in.

Mr Cheney had the gall to complain about deficit spending, yet Mr Kudlow failed to remind him that "deficits don't matter".

I think the Obama administration should release the files on interr--torture that Cheney wants released if he will agree to release his Plame testimony, the energy committee info, and complete records from WHIG.

Posted by: camsoccer | May 28, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Obama has turned into Bush-lite. I really don't think he understands that millions of Americans have died to protect the freedoms he so easily disregards. Congress refuses to do it's job and the courts are hard right-wing. In my judgement, this country ended when SCOTUS appointed Bush. When I get layed off(we will all be layed off soon), I hope to move to Canada. America has left the building.

Posted by: davidbn27 | May 28, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

"Obama has turned into Bush-lite.... When I get layed off(we will all be layed off soon), I hope to move to Canada.... "

Posted by: davidbn27 |

I hate to tell you but the current government of Canada is Bush-lite. Fortunately, they started in office with a country much farther to the left but they have tried to move it right.
After years of surpluses under the Liberal government they have managed to lower taxes, and generate a deficit.

I think you seriously "misunderestimate" the good Obama has already done and is doing.

Posted by: JohnnyCanuck1 | May 28, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't want Obama to start thinking his government has been Hijacked by criminal bootleggers pretending to be patriotic. Cheney wouldn't want his war funding cut off, to much money to be made there. His latest idea is to tack a federal tax on purchases to cover Bush's war. My question would be did Obama fall for Bush's pity me talk? Or was he bribed or threatened?. Either way he's breaking his campaign rhetoric, or was it an outright lie? Our secret government will never tell. Meanwhile another young man comes home in a body bag for the Bush war crimes. Liberators! If Cheney was to stop his lies he would be guilty with in a week. He mi-swell call Obama stupid along with the rest of our government. They have used Fox News and talk to lie and control us for 9 years, their not going to stop now. How can any right wing talk show host be patriotic and condemn everything the elected leader does? How can Fox news be patriotic and partisan at the same time. How can people be so dumb as to believe everything these well paid professional propaganders say? Wouldn't they find it peculiar that every station on the radio has one of the right wing idiots on all the time? Blaming the whole mess on the party that just took over from the worst president in history. And condemning any effort from any one that tries to turn it around. Bigotizing Colin Powell because he can see their a bunch of cheats and liars willing to sell the hole country down the road to cover their self. For the last 35 years our country has been under siege from these tyrants and the crap finally floated to the top. Obama and Pelosi are either cowards or leaders and they aren't looking so good at the moment.

Posted by: kimkimminni1 | May 29, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I love it when the number two guy for eight years in the administration that doubled the deficit to ten trillion dollars, that same guy now is all about fiscal conservatism.

Did I mention the ten trillion? That's T, trillion; not million, not billion, trillion. That's $10,000,000,000,000. That we owe. Mainly to China.


Give us another lecture on prudent spending, Dick!

Posted by: jpk1 | May 29, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

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