Conor Friedersdorf does a great job of explaining why Americans loathe Dick Cheney. He touches all the obvious bases: the lies about Saddam, al-Qaeda, and WMD, Gitmo and indefinite detention, warrantless surveillance, authorizing torture, corrupt and unethical business practices, his theory of the Unitary Executive, and his treasonous relationship with Iranian-agent Ahmed Chalabi. Those are all good reasons to hate Dick Cheney, but it only really scratches the surface.
Dick Cheney might be the most aggressive politician this country has seen since Lyndon Johnson. That’s irritating in itself, but Cheney is wrong about every single issue facing the country. His record is as bad as any politician I have ever seen. It doesn’t matter that he lies as easily as he breathes, because even his lies only serve misguided goals. No human being in my lifetime has been as aggressively and consequentially wrong as Dick Cheney.
It’s this unmitigated track-record of non-stop failure that is the true cause of Cheney’s poor standing with the public. Even Bush eventually realized that he needed to stop following Cheney’s advice. The moment Dick’s ally Donald Rumsfeld was replaced by Robert Gates, everything began to improve in our foreign affairs and relations. In retrospect, the change represented the sidelining of Cheney and his neo-con confederates in favor of the realist school of Bush’s father. This didn’t prevent Bush from leaving a smoldering husk of a country to his successor, but it could definitely have been worse if Cheney’s influence had persisted.
Cheney lacks charm or warmth or any real sense of humor. He was willing to let his good friend and top assistant, Scooter Libby, go to prison for a crime he himself committed. Even his reputation for loyalty to Bush has been shattered by his new book, which makes Bush look bad on several occasions.
About the only thing there is to like about Cheney is his sheer aggression, if you’re into that kind of thing.
I think his contempt for the rule of law and the truth and the people far exceeds anything ever displayed by Richard Nixon. And Nixon was an able and competent president in both foreign and domestic affairs. Cheney was anything but able and competent.