Former Vice President Dick Cheney got a big dose of Republican Rehab yesterday as Fox News Sunday turned him into a Serious Critic of President Obama’s foreign policy, prompted him to urge Hillary Clinton be held accountable for Benghazi and conveniently erased from his own record that huge blunder called the Iraq War. You know, the one nobody on Fox has held him accountable for. While they were at it, Wallace helped Cheney give a little extra cred to Rove’s attack on Hillary Clinton’s health.
Just before his nearly 12-minute interview that also included Cheney’s wife, Lynne, host Chris Wallace set the stage for the Cheney-rehab by using the following in his introduction to the show:
DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: There has developed over the years of the Obama administration, I think, a sense on the part of others that we have a weak government.
WALLACE: We discussed Ukraine, Benghazi and Hillary Clinton.
Wallace’s first question was a set up for Cheney to back up Rove on Hillary’s health:
WALLACE: Hillary Clinton is in the news this week. Karl Rove talked about her having sustained a traumatic brain injury. The Clinton camp fired back: “This shows just how desperate the Republicans are this year.”
Mr. Vice President, do you think that Hillary Clinton’s health and age are fair game?
Notice that Wallace didn’t point out that there’s no evidence to suggest that what Rove said was true? That Wallace didn’t ask what “Mr. Vice President” thought of Rove’s sly manipulation of the media to question those issues (which Wallace was now enabling)?
I’m sure nobody was surprised when Cheney played along, suggesting that Rove had legitimately raised a legitimate question that Democrats need to answer:
Well, I think any presidential candidate or vice presidential candidate is going to have to answer questions about their health. I wouldn’t want to prejudge Mrs. Clinton’s health. I don’t know anything about it. Certainly, I felt responsible to—to be open about my health when I was vice president and a candidate. And I think that’s going to be expected of anybody who runs for president or vice president.
Wallace’s next question:
What do you think about Benghazi? Do you think that she did anything wrong and should she be held responsible for the events surrounding that attack?
It was more than a little leading for Wallace to "ask" if Clinton should "be held responsible." Did Wallace think for a moment there was a chance Cheney would say she should get a pass the way he did in Iraq? Sure enough, Cheney said:
She was Secretary Of State at the time that it happened. She was one of the first in Washington to know about it. I think she clearly bears responsibility for whatever the State Department did or didn't do with respect to that - that crisis.
I do think it's a major issue. I don't think we've heard the last of it yet. And I would expect that she will be held accountable during the course of the campaign.
Rather than discuss Cheney’s accountability - or lack thereof, Wallace moved on to Monica Lewinsky.
Then, after some talk about Ukraine and Russia (with a little Obama-bashing from Lynne Cheney), Wallace did some more Cheney image polishing. Notice how this question both paints Cheney as a foreign policy expert and hands him a silver platter of an opportunity to attack Obama at the same time:
(T)he situation in Syria… continues to get worse. The U.N.’s mediator has just quit. The rebels have been forced to leave one of their strongholds. And France’s foreign minister said this week that he believes that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons more than a dozen times since the signing of the treaty after President Obama, back in - last year, decided not to attack the Assad regime in Syria.
And the question I have is what is the impact of all this, do you think, both in Syria and for the—the U.S. overall foreign policy?
That just happened to give Cheney an opportunity to talk up a recent trip he took "to the area where I have long-term relationships back from the days when we were doing Desert Storm." Predictably, those important people that Cheney hobnobs with (Wallace never asked for a single detail as to who they are) are all in sync with Cheney and paint Obama as the one who has damaged U.S. credibility in the Middle East and elsewhere:
To a -- a man, everybody I talked to out there is very concerned with U.S. policy and they hold up the Syrian situation as a classic example the U.S. can't be trusted, that the president gave a lot of bold talk, drew a red line, said he was going to act and then, in the end, didn't act and left them high and dry.
So the Syrian situation has significantly undermined our credibility in the region. I think it's also the kind of thing that leads Putin and others to believe this is a time for adventurism on their part.
It’s not as though Wallace completely forgot Iraq. He brought it up in one question. It just happened to be a question Wallace almost surely knew Cheney could answer and still make himself look good. Check out this question that was supposed to be about the 2016 election but looked more like a Cheney rehab op:
Senator Rand Paul. Senator Paul said last month that he thought you might have a potential conflict of interest during the invasion of the—of Iraq during 2003, because you had worked for Halliburton and the defense industry.
How do you respond to that?
D. CHENEY: Well, before I ever took the job as vice president, I totally severed all my ties with Halliburton, at considerable financial cost. I had no relationship at all with the company throughout the time I was vice president. I didn’t even talk to them. We kept a totally arm’s length relationship.
So he obviously is not familiar with the facts.
I have previously written that Fox uses Benghazi not just to attack Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration – but also to beef up the tarnished images of the Bush administration. This was a textbook case.
Something tells me that Obama—upon leaving the White House—won’t have that problem. Obama might not be especially welcome in a few countries (like Russia and, after today’s charges against certain members of its army, China) but, at least, he won’t have to worry about being arrested on war crimes charges.
Iraq was and still is one of the best investments for American business! It was a great way to start off the 21st century!!!
A – Is guest® a jerk? (yes = goto 2, No = goto 1)
1) mention a (D) and smear them – any of them
2) mention a (D) and smear them – any of them
B – has guest® shown bad judgment? (yes = goto 2, No = goto 1)
C – is guest® a closet-gay? (yes = goto 2, No = goto 1)
D – is guest® a complete idiot? (yes = goto 2, No = goto 1)
E – has guest® a criminal record? (yes = goto 2, No = goto 1)
F – has guest® supported terrorists? (yes = goto 2, No = goto 1)
… and so on