Tuesday evening, as he accepted a "Keeper of the Flame" award at the hawkish Center for Security Policy, Dick Cheney attacked President Obama's long decision-making process on Afghanistan, while urging him to ignore to liberal opponents of the war. Conservative bloggers echoed Cheney's mixed praise and criticism. But some are reacting more viscerally--and predictably--to the unpopular ex-VP's continued command of the spotlight. These commentators are blasting Cheney's crusade as illogical, or worse. If nothing else, it's clear that Cheney can still rattle his old foes into summoning up some schoolyard vitriol:
- 'Primitive' At The Daily Beast, Lee Seigel says Cheney's belittling of Obama has taken a primeval turn. "There is something primitive--something along the lines of magical thinking--about the way the former vice president projects his psyche onto reality." Siegel says Cheney's campaign has begun to resemble an ancient Greek tragedy. "Like the Furies, the Cheneys stand for unreason and emotionalism. Revenge is their milk and their meat. Obama's Age of Reason--the advent of Athena--drives them into a rage, which in turn impels them to pursue Obama relentlessly to punish him for his crimes against what their hearts know to be true."
- 'Pathological' Steve Benen of The Washington Monthly. While he says it's "very tempting to just blow off Dick Cheney's latest harangue," it's important to remind people of Cheney's legacy. "When speaking about national security policy, Dick Cheney a) owes us an apology; and b) should be politely asking for Americans' forgiveness. That Cheney feels comfortable making demands of the administration dealing with his failures shows a certain pathological quality."
- 'Selfish' That's the only conclusion Politics Daily's David Corn can come to to explain Cheney's political behavior. "By slamming Obama, Cheney may be hoping to boost his own standing among conservatives, even if these moves also help Obama. But since Cheney is not running for any office in the future, such a tactic would be particularly selfish. After all, the Cheney brand is a damaged one. He's not a product the Republican Party wants on the shelf."
- "Ooooh, Dick Cheney's back, just in time for Halloween!" Salon's Joan Walsh agrees that something is not quite right with the former Vice President. Unlike her liberal brethren however, she doesn't have much patience for analyzing his psyche:
Where do I begin? How does a man who spent much of his vice presidency hiding in a secret bunker get off accusing the president of being 'afraid'? How does a guy who got five deferments from service in Vietnam, because he famously had 'other priorities,' call someone else a coward? (Still, Chickenhawk Cheney had no problem sending other people's children off to die in needless wars.) How does a guy who dropped the ball on the Afghan war, letting Osama bin Laden escape and the Taliban retrench, blame someone else for 'dithering' on Afghanistan?