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03-26-09, 12:22 AM #1
Go back into hiding, GOP begs Dick Cheney
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.
The veep, who showed a penchant for secrecy during eight years in the White House,has popped up in media interviews to defend the Bush-Cheney record while suggesting that the country is not as safe under President Obama.
Rep. John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) said, “He became so unpopular while he was in the White House that it would probably be better for us politically if he wouldn’t be so public...But he has the right to speak out since he’s a private citizen.”
Another House Republican lawmaker who requested anonymity said he wasn’t surprised that Cheney has strongly criticized Obama early in his term, but argued that it’s not helping the GOP cause.
The legislator said Cheney, whose approval ratings were lower than President Bush’s during the last Congress, didn’t think through the political implications of going after Obama.
Cheney did “House Republicans no favors,” the lawmaker said, adding, “I could never understand him anyway.”
Cheney’s office declined to comment for this article.
Potential Illinois Senate hopeful Rep. Mark Kirk (R) told The Hill that Cheney would better shape his legacy by writing a book.
“Tending a legacy is best done in a memoir,” Kirk said. “I would just encourage everybody who has left office to follow the tradition of the Founding Fathers — to write your memoirs, but to refrain from [criticizing].”
Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.), who is running for governor, suggested that past leaders should not be seeking the spotlight at a time when the party is rebuilding and redefining itself, after “hitting bottom” in the devastating losses last November.
“Interpret it however you want to, but what I’m saying is: We should focus on the people that will lead us tomorrow, not the people who led us yesterday,” Wamp said. “With all due respect to former Vice President Cheney, he represents what’s behind us, not what’s ahead of us.”
To the delight of some Democrats, Cheney, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele have attracted headlines in recent weeks.
Asked about Cheney’s criticisms of Obama, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs last week said, “I guess Rush Limbaugh was busy so they trotted out the next most popular member of the Republican cabal.”
Bush, who has announced he has already started to work on his memoirs, has not taken shots at Obama.
The 43rd president said last week that Obama “deserves my silence,” adding “it is essential that he be helped in office.”
Not all Republicans are calling for Cheney to keep mum.
Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.), the ranking member on the Homeland Security Committee who is eyeing a 2010 Senate bid, said Cheney’s remarks are not out of bounds because Obama made some “pretty severe criticisms of what President Bush did in the war against terrorism.”
Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) said, “Politically, it’s irrelevant, because whether I like it or not, a private citizen has the right to free speech and they can do what they want. What gets a majority back is deeds, not words.”
During an interview on “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday, Obama fired back at Cheney.
Obama said, “I fundamentally disagree with Dick Cheney … I think that Vice President Cheney has been at the head of a movement whose notion is somehow that we can’t reconcile our core values, our Constitution, our belief that we don’t torture, with our national-security interests. I think he’s drawing the wrong lesson from history. The facts don’t bear him out.”
In 2007, it was revealed that Obama and Cheney are distant relatives.
03-28-09, 01:34 AM #2
I hate politics. Cheney is a helluva smart guy with a "do what needs to be done" attitude that I respect. Clearly he is not a standard politician that can't speak his mind without someone else telling him what exactly should be coming out of his mouth. Liberals demonized Cheney just like they made Bush out to be a babbling idiot, even while 90% of the people calling Bush a moron barely made it out of high school.
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