President Barack Obama and the new administration have just gotten a bit of feedback on their economic policies from a man who has experience stewarding the American economy — someone who in his time in office developed a clear record, one that is out there…one that Americans can see and experience every day: former Vice President Dick Cheney.
In a sign that either he doesn’t know the meaning of the words “over exposure,” has lost directions to his “undisclosed location,” or is vying for his own Fox News show — perhaps co-hosting with his favorite interviewer Shaun Hannity (who throws him more softballs than thrown during an elementary school double-header softball game) — Cheney has momentarily put aside his blasts at the Obama administration and Obama for not understanding the threat of terrorism, or for not being strong enough to call the administration’s economic policies “devastating” — a word some have used to describe the quality of Bush administration economic policies and stewardship.
Here’s Cheney’s latest:
President Barack Obama’s expansion of the federal government into the financial sector is likely to have “devastating” effects in the long term, former Vice President Dick Cheney said in his latest salvo directed at the new White House administration.
In an interview on Fox News — portions of which aired Tuesday night — the former vice president said he is “very concerned” about where the Obama administration is taking the country economically.
“I worry very much that we’re in a situation now where there doesn’t appear to be any limitation whatsoever in terms of the spending commitments that this administration wants to make,” he said. “Vast expansion in terms of the deficit, but it also says a lot about what they intend for the role of government in this society.”
White House officials have predicted the country’s deficit will soar to $1.75 trillion this year, after the administration’s efforts to bail out troubled financial companies and stabilize the nation’s flailing economy. Obama has also pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term, a promise critics doubt is possible to keep.
But beyond rising deficits, Cheney said he is concerned the administration is fundamentally “redefining that relationship between government, on the one hand, and the private sector on the other.”
But wait: wasn’t Cheney a Vice President who redefined the relationship between the executive branch and the legislative branch? So some redefining is OK but some other redefining is terrible, and taboo (if that is indeed what it is)? MORE:
“I’m one of those people who believes that part of the greatness of the United States is our private sector. “It’s what we do as private citizens for ourselves and our companies,” he said, later adding, “I think we have to be very, very cautious. I think we’ve gone beyond what reasonably we could expect by way of intrusion into the private sector.”
If Cheney crossed the line before he has now crossed the galaxy. It was unusual enough for a former Veep to blast an administration that replaced his on foreign policy. Now he’s putting himself in the forefront of blasting its economic policies as well — policies that could work or indeed flop, but at this point, polls show, are backed by the bulk of the American people.
Why? Because the bulk of the American people want to try something different than what brought the country to its present state — something different than the policies and talking points of the past 8 years that Cheney himself promoted, implemented and articulated.
Once again thoughtful GOPers must be cringing. The Republican party needs an image makeover — even a small one. And with Cheney out there blasting Obama on a nearly weekly basis on terrorism, Obama’s visit to Latin America and now the economy (a classic case of a battered old pot calling the sparkling new cookware “worn out”) the IMAGE most Americans will continue to have of the GOP is that of Dick Cheney…someone whose reason for being now is to oppose any kind of new approach. Someone who uses the mega-polarizing and mega-partisan Sean Hannity as his information delivering venue.
You get the feeling that for Cheney “change” would perhaps be trying a new kind of waterboard, giving more tax cuts to those in the upper brackets, deregulating some more industries and vowing not to be interviewed by Sean Hannity — but by Glenn Beck instead.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.