Friday, August 14, 2009

Nothing Runs on French Fry Grease These Days

It has been said that with age comes wisdom. It has also been said that, in our modern world, sixty is the new forty. Put those two concepts together and what do you get? Well, I do not know exactly. I think I can make a pretty compelling argument however that the love child of the shotgun wedding of those two abstract concepts is "no matter how old someone is, he can still be an immature a##hole." Sadly, even if my argument is persuasive I do not foresee generating a lot of cashola from bumper stickers and t-shirt sales.

In the months since he vacated 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, our most recent "ex-Mr. President Bush" - W - has been a full-time resident of Texas. He has kept a profile so low that it makes his post-Katrina profile throughout New Orleans and the Gulf Coast seem larger than life. Whether you liked him or not (and I do not shy away from the fact that I voted from him twice.....both times in Broward County, Florida in 2000. Take it easy Chad - just a little joke), you cannot argue the fact that during the first several months of President Obama's administration, Mr. Bush has been neither seen nor heard. Given the extremely low personal approval numbers that accompanied him out of office, his low profile is no doubt as much for his benefit as it is for his successor. Regardless of why he has done it, he has done a commendable job of staying the hell out of the way.

To date, former Vice-President Dick Cheney has not followed Mr. Bush's lead. In May he gave a very well-publicized speech on national security at AEI, as part of his effort to directly challenge and criticize President Obama's plans for the nation's security. I half-expected a sound bite from their evening of Dueling Verbose to end up on JibJab - set to the tune of "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better" perhaps? Alas, no such luck.

Cheney is proving - in the autumn of his years - to be the gift that keeps on giving but only if one considers angina to be a gift. One supposes that it brought at least a smile to Mr. Obama's lips to read that Cheney is furiously working on his memoirs, which are to be published at some time in 2011, in which he shares with the world at large all of the shortcomings of George W. Bush. As seen through the eyes of Dick Cheney - of course - as if the opinion of any other could possibly carry as much weight. According to the Washington Post, "Robert Barnett, who negotiated Cheney's book contract, passed word to potential publishers that the memoir would be packed with news, and Cheney himself has said, without explanation, that "the statute of limitations has expired" on many of his secrets. "When the president made decisions that I didn't agree with, I still supported him and didn't go out and undercut him," Cheney said, according to Stephen Hayes, his authorized biographer. "Now we're talking about after we've left office. I have strong feelings about what happened. . . . And I don't have any reason not to forthrightly express those views."

In other words, someone has agreed to pay him boatloads of money to vent his spleen all over his former boss and Cheney, whose mantra appears to be, "I'm Dick Cheney, I'm smarter than you. I'm more patriotic than you. Now shut the F*** up" has apparently jumped at the opportunity. The crux of his newly disclosed animosity towards Mr. Bush appears to be that in the second term, Mr. Bush moved away from an almost blind reliance on (the) Dick. Not surprisingly Cheney felt marginalized and increasingly shut out by the President's decision to become his own man. How dare he? Did he not know how fortunate he was to be able to serve an apprenticeship as President under the tutelage of such a great man? Methinks that at some time in 2011, he is going to be made to see just how fortunate Cheney thinks he was - and how unappreciative he was of all of (the) Dick's sage advice.

It is Willie the Shakes who posed the question, "What's in a name?" In the case of our most recent former Vice-President, the answer appears to be, "Quite a bit". Just ask he who now wishes to strike a match get back and watch that sucker burn.

-AK

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