David B.




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September 3, 2009

Dick Cheney: Just Shut Up Already


You know the type: The overanxious salesman who follows you throughout the car dealership, refusing to leave you alone with your thoughts for even a minute. The inebriated party guest who, come 2:30 a.m. is still holding court on your couch to an audience that has diminished to include only you and your dog. The blowhard ex-college football player who suffocates all conversation at your family reunion with his tired recitations of unremembered, ancient glories.


Add the category of snorting, sociopathic, failed ex-vice president to the list of unliked, unwelcome, unwanted intruders upon your time, attention, and consciousness.


Dick Cheney, failed neo-colonialist warmonger and torture cheerleader, refuses to spiral down the sewer of history as he ought. Unsurprising: No matter the era, no matter the juncture in history, one could always count upon Cheney to make the wrong decision and then cling like a barnacle to it forevermore, impervious to reflection, reconsideration or the influence of new information – even such a salient point as that he is no longer vice president, and consequently doesn’t count anymore.


The man just cannot shut up. Unfortunately for the American public, his enablers on the television networks haven’t figured out that it is not their duty to continue to amplify his bellicose, ignorant voice. Come the weekly cycle of Sunday public affairs programs, it’s a fair bet that one Richard Cheney will be ensconced in a chair at center stage, looking like a cross between a cornered Norway rat and a large curd cottage cheese, extolling the merits of torture and railing inanely against the eclipse of his influence upon national policy.


Nobody with two brain cells to rub together wants to hear it. The poodles whose televisions are permanently tuned in to Fox News lap it up, sure – after all, they’ll eat anything you put in front of them, provided that it is sufficiently white, angry and ignorant. But most of America really doesn’t want to watch or listen to failure incarnate. Their verdict to that effect was rendered last November.


All of Cheney’s bloviations since have served only two purposes, neither of which have the slightest beneficial effect upon the nation’s well-being: Airbrushing his own criminal role in history in hopes of somehow escaping eternal ignominy, and pouring sand into the orderly workings of an actually functional new administration. It is the ultimate exercise in narcissistic selfishness, odious to behold – and like all such exercises, immeasurably destructive to anyone or anything unfortunate enough to come in contact with it.


Cheney knows both that he is broadly loathed and absolutely wrong, but being Dick Cheney, he doesn’t care. Throughout his four-decade infestation of the corridors of government, the unifying theme underpinning his words and deeds has been the acquisition, consolidation and continuation of personal power – and the consequent exercise of that power against any and all who dared question the actions of the five-time draft dodger-cum-militarist. America has paid the price in blood, treasure and global leadership and goodwill. So long as his toxic bleatings continue to hold a scintilla of sway, it will continue to pay that price.


Dick Cheney’s greatest single post-White House achievement has been the accomplishment of seemingly an impossible task – making George W. Bush look dignified, even ex-presidential. Bush has had the good sense to retreat silently to his quiet suburban compound, pretzels in hand and the unfortunate Barney the dog in tow, to clear brush, watch Scooby Doo reruns or otherwise unobtrusively fill the days of his dotage.


Cheney, thus far, hasn’t even had the sense to do that. Instead, he lingers on the Washington scene and our television screens as a wayward, unwelcome specter of the most spectacularly failed administration in American history. It will be to America’s shame if we allow him to continue to drag the country down to his level.


© 2009 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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