At this point in his life, Dick Cheney is probably used to protesters leaping out of crowds to call him a war criminal.
Today was one of those days. During the Dick, Lynne, and Liz Cheney Politico Playbook lunch in Washington's Mayflower renaissance Hotel, a protester stood up and called Dick a war criminal, then another, and another and another.
"You destroyed Iraq, Dick Cheney, and you're destroying this country!"
Outside, a man in a paper-mache Cheney head and a prison uniform joined told the crowd he — Dick — was right about everything, as long as people ignored the facts.
Code Pink, the "women-initiated" anti-war grassroots organization, and the man in the Dick Cheney head, weren't enough to distract the Cheney's from their main objective: forcefully rejecting the idea that they've been wrong about anything since 2003.
When a heckler called Dick a war criminal, Lynne remarked, "I wondered why the line was so long." The many haters (or, to be more precise, people who disagree with the Cheneys about climate change, women's reproductive rights, same-sex marriage and, above all, foreign policy) didn't phase the Cheneys, or ruin their on-stage family bonding.
Liz said we should do "nothing" about climate change, because both the science and the policies are bad. Lynne got in a dig at Hillary by noting that they were never "dead broke."
And, despite evidence to the contrary, Dick said going into Iraq was "absolutely the right thing to do," and criticized the "outrageous" cuts to the Pentagon. “That ought to be our top priority for spending, not food stamps," he said. As for purely domestic issues, Mike Allen asked him what he thought Republicans should do to appeal to new demographics — gay people, young people and people of color — given that it's a "mathematical certainty" that the GOP won't win any more national elections. He doesn't think that's a real issue. "I just don't buy the premise of your question," he replied.
If anything came close to breaking the image of the Cheneys as a family united against the haters, it was the noticeable absence of Mary Cheney. Allen brought up the fact that Mary is gay and supports same-sex marriage, while her sister Liz doesn't. Liz declined to add much, other than that she loves her sister, and her sister's partner, before changing the subject to the Cheney's uncomfortable interview with Megyn Kelly. (Last month Kelly said "time and time again, history has proven that you got it wrong as well in Iraq, sir.")
But Momma Cheney didn't leave Liz out to dry. "You know, I think the best thing about being a mother is having terrific children, which I do, and wonderful grandchildren, which I do. And if I were those grandchildren, or those children, the last thing I would want is my mother, in a public forum, commenting on personal differences in the family," Lynne said. Mary wasn't there to counter that, but the audience applauded and cheered.