Sunday, May 10, 2009

(Concern) Trolling for Dick (Cheney)

There are a lot of criticisms that folks level at Dick Cheney, but that he’s uncalculating or careless (quail hunting notwithstanding) is not one of them. Yesterday on Face the Nation, however, the former Vice President just might’ve made a preemptive gaffe:

"If I had to choose in terms of being a Republican, I'd go with Rush Limbaugh. My take on it was Colin [Powell] had already left the party. I didn't know he was still a Republican."

First, two small points:

1) Democrats are gloating about how this battle for the soul and future of the GOP is its penultimate gasp before its death knell. About a year ago, when the soul and future of the Democratic Party was framed in the epic battle of Obama vs. Hillary, many in the GOP counted down the hours ‘til the Democratic Party would at last implode. Many Democrats seem to have forgotten this and are getting a little cocky for a team that only recently clawed their way out of this seemingly identical situation for a decisive victory.

2) Obama vs. Hillary was made out to be a more meaningful choice than it actually was, practically speaking. They symbolized different approaches and modes of thinking that ultimately arrived at the same policy ends. Limbaugh and Powell are further apart, ideologically speaking, Powell and Limbaugh are not as close as Obama and Clinton, but it’s not like Cheney was asked “Stones vs. The Who, pick your Gods!” It’s more “Zeppelin or Sabbath, if you had to pick one.” And I’m surprised Cheney answered.

There’s an unfortunate pattern that happens in politics, and it’s as good a reason as any not to ever run for office: you align yourself with someone, and then that person goes on to say something that makes you wish you had never given that blurb-worthy quote about their perfect virtue or posed smiling next to them, maybe giving a thumbs up. That's what I mean by preemptive gaffe (and what about the main architect of preemptive war being done in by preemptive gaffe?) Remember Jeremiah Wright at the National Press Club after Obama’s historic speech about race? Well, the former veep might be in for his moment.

GOP figures have had to do the reverse as of late – Michael Steele, Jim Tedisco, and others have had to issue mea culpas for saying that party loyalty didn’t mean loyalty to Limbaugh (and frankly, I don’t think the result would necessarily be any different if a Dem had to walk back a statement about Keith Olbermann) – but something is different this week, and Cheney should’ve waited. Here’s why:

Rush Limbaugh might be about to say something really, um… regrettable. The kind of thing that makes people stop doing those mea culpas. Maybe by the time you read this, he already has.

Wanda Sykes got some serious shots in at El Rushbo at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday.

Limbaugh is not going to take that lying down. Love him or hate him, he's not brushing that off, and I’d be willing to give odds that he might say something about Sykes, one of the best-known and universally loved openly gay women, that might make a man who was recently the second-most powerful man in America (with a gay daughter, for that matter) wish he hadn’t chosen Limbaugh over the cool-headed, widely admired Powell.

Sure - I'm mostly just concern trolling here, but I for one was surprised to see Cheney not play this one close to the vest. If he does have to backpedal, he’ll be one of the few political veterans to be doing it for the first time after so many years in the ring.

No comments:

Post a Comment