The sign of a truly great leader is someone who knows when, where and how to exit the stage gracefully. And then there’s Dick Cheney. Exhibiting a tortured logic, he whimsically holds onto shards of truth, as facts that don’t fit neatly into his rigid paradigm fall in heaps by the side of the road… a path, if you will, to self-aggrandization, where it’s okay to break the country’s covenants to protect the good of the country; where it’s okay to talk about, indeed moralize about one set of (conservative) principles, but act in a wholly different manner that betrays those very principles — war, intolerance, division, debt; a path where he takes great pride in preventing another terrorist attack, while glibly ignoring the fact that The Terrorist responsible for The Attack is still lurking out there; a path that would have us invade a country based on, well, “facts” that we would tell our children were lies if they tried to tell them (WMD); a path that has led to the degradation of the environment to the point where polar ice caps are melting and it’s sleeting in April, and we’re all told this is just an abberation — just a flesh wound, if you’ll pardon the Monty Python pun. Tell that to the people in New Orleans, North Dakota, Minnesota, or in developing countries (thanks Daniel). His chief argument, when it comes to torture, is that waterboarding worked. If it works so well, then why isn’t it written into the Army Field Manual, and why don’t we use it on everyone and anyone? Don’t get me wrong, I have a personal connection to 9-11, so Dick Cheney isn’t going to play that trump card on this hand — there is no amount of pain that could be inflicted on Bin Laden to make him feel the pain of those who lost someone on 9-11. But if torture worked so well, why haven’t we captured Bin Laden? Why haven’t we shut down his network? Why has it festered like a cancer in Afghanistan and Pakistan while we had our eyes off the ball in Iraq, wasting precious American lives as well as billions of dollars, all for what? Do you think our soldiers on the front lines feel safer knowing we now condone torture? Oh, I forgot, Dick Cheney didn’t fight on the front lines. In fact, he didn’t serve. But maybe nothing illustrates Cheney’s Tortured Logic than his inability to keep his mouth shut, even for the good of his country. You have to ask yourself, if Al Gore started launching attacks against George Bush during his first 100 days in office, what would VP Cheney say? Look no farther than his logic. His thinking goes: I have to speak out because nobody knows more about this than me. Obama is not doing what we did. What we did was the right thing to do. By not doing what we did, he’s making us weaker and more vulnerable. Obama needs to listen to me. There are two problems with this tortured logic: 1) his team lost the election in a landslide. it wasn’t even close. Obama deserves a chance to try it his way, without the former VP sniping at his heels. 2) Could it be, sir, that you were wrong all along? You turned the word conservative on its head by increasing Medicare, Medicaid and non-discretionary spending to record levels, increasing the debt and deficit and growing spending per household to its highest levels ever — all under a so-called “conservative” government, while not giving us change, not giving us health care reform, not reigning in the size of government or even slowing the rate of growth, all while driving the economy into a depression the likes of which we haven’t seen in a generation. Haven’t you done enough? Maybe it’s time for a new voice in the Republican Party that doesn’t date back to the Ford Administration? Great leaders know how, when and where to exit the stage gracefully. It’s innate. Good leaders know when to go. Leaders get a clue. And then there are those, who when the doors close and the company shuts its doors, still come back to the plant, almost by force of habit. I’ve met these folks at political rallies. They’re cranky, mean spirited, full of hate, condescension, fear — you can almost watch as time passes them by, and while your first instinct is to rise up an meet their anger, a part of you almost feels sorry for them…until they go and do something stupid, like go on Face the Nation, and then, as if that wasn’t enough, Fox, and so on, and so on, and so on. He’s had more press in the last few weeks than he did during his entire tenure as VP. Do yourself a favor, Dick. Go back to Wyoming, get on a treadmill and stop draining our Medicare dollars. We need them for health care reform. — Jeff
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