Chastise Cheney

This week saw some notable apologies and makings of amends.

“Padre Oprah,” as the Rev. Alberto Cutié is known to his fans in Miami, got caught canoodling with a female companion. Consenting adults in love? Great. Not so cute thought the church. To them it was a violation of its medieval dictate. So, he apologized.

It was reported that last year Oprah herself called James Frey, fabulist of “A Million Little Pieces,” whom she had dragged on her show and ripped into a million little shreds. What did she say?: “I felt I owe you an apology.” (Wording according to Frey anyway.)

Michael Steele, who I am convinced suffers from some sort of diarrhea of the larynx, apologized for saying that religious bigots in the Republican base rejected Mitt Romney in part because he’s Mormon. (That’s probably true, but really Michael, just be quiet, or chillax, or whatever dated slang you prefer.)

One major exception to this trend of mea culpas: Dick Cheney.

When CBS’s Bob Schieffer asked Cheney if he had any regrets about the detestable torture tactics used during the Bush administration (which may not have even worked), Cheney, channeling Mr. Burns from “The Simpsons,” responded: “No regrets. I think it was absolutely the right thing to do.”

Furthermore, when Schieffer asked whether he would side with Rush Limbaugh or Colin Powell on the future of the Republican Party, Cheney chose the demagogue over the diplomat. What sense does that make?

My theory: Cheney isn’t simply going out in a blaze of vainglory. He felt the stiff winds of change and accountability blow across his coffin. It roused and enraged him. Now, he’s on a political suicide mission. And if his own party is collateral damage, so be it. He would rather break it than see it bend anyway.

Mission almost accomplished. According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released last month, Cheney’s positive rating has reached another low: a measly 18 percent.

Cheney may 16 4

His incessant ramblings are further weakening an already hobbled party as well. That’s bad for them and the country. We need a strong opposition party to ensure a healthy democracy. And while politics are cyclical, the Republicans are now in danger of flat-lining.

One-party rule doesn’t appeal to me. Lord Acton had it right: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” Amen.

So, the Republicans need to dump this crotchety recalcitrant and develop a new vision that embraces moderation and inclusiveness, for all our sakes.

Look at it this way: Cheney’s positive rating is even lower than George W. Bush’s. And he shouldn’t speak for the Republicans either.

Unless he wants to apologize.

Charles M. Blow, New York Times


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See also:

Celebrity Priest Says He Is Torn Between Church and Girlfriend

James Frey Gets a Bright, Shiny Apology from Oprah

Foot in Mouth Disease