GOP on Cheney: ‘Getting a little strange’


A group of Republican lawmakers was waiting for an elevator on Capitol Hill when one of them said in frustration to his colleagues, “What’s with Cheney? Anybody know?”

One colleague muttered, “The guy’s getting a little strange, seems to me. Big chip on his shoulder.”



Vice President Dick Cheney has re-emerged from the shadows, causing a new ripple of speculation about whether his pit-bull attitude serves the president well, whether he’s the one dictating Iraq policy, whether he’s even thinking clearly.

Cheney, who was in charge of vetting potential running mates for George W. Bush in 2000 and ended up taking the job himself, is an enigma to many. Whether swearing at a Democrat on the Senate floor or calling former defense chief Donald Rumsfeld the best secretary of defense in U.S. history, Cheney’s conduct makes even some Republicans nervous.

Presidential contender Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Cheney have butted heads over U.S. torture policy, with McCain, a Vietnam POW for five years, demanding the White House forbid it. In an interview with a Capitol Hill newspaper, McCain said of Cheney, “The president listens too much to the vice president. Of course, the president bears the ultimate responsibility, but he’s been very badly served by both the vice president and, most of all, the secretary of defense (Rumsfeld).”

When asked about that by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Cheney responded laconically, “So?”

Cheney also told Blitzer that the problem with the situation in Iraq is that America may not have “the stomach to fight.” When asked about the possibility that Iraq may refuse to be a U.S. ally, Cheney insisted that won’t happen and retorted, “That we don’t have the stomach for the fight. That’s the biggest threat.”

Cheney’s statement is amazing. Americans have given the administration a virtual blank check for four years in Iraq. The price tag has included the loss of 3,000 sons and daughters, the disabling of thousands more, the deaths of thousands of Iraqis, the spending of hundreds of billions of dollars and lost prestige around the globe.

No stomach for the fight?

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s vote against President Bush’s decision to send 21,500 more soldiers into Baghdad to try to quell the mounting violence by suicide bombers and warring Iraqis was dismissed by Cheney as meaningless. He said it will be ignored by the White House. Cheney said that any anti-troop-surge resolution passed by the Senate won’t have any effect on White House resolve, but would be “detrimental to the troops” even if funding for Iraq is not cut.

But the defection of Sen. John Warner, R-Va., former chairman of the Armed Services Committee, is a telling public-relations blow to the White House.

The pro-military Warner’s decision to co-sponsor a bipartisan resolution against Bush’s strategy is giving other Republicans the courage to question the president, whose policy on Iraq is opposed by six out of 10 Americans.

Such stalwart Republicans as Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell, Minnesota’s Norm Coleman, John Cornyn of Texas and Susan Collins of Maine oppose putting more soldiers in harm’s way in Baghdad. Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, says Cheney has not been “right one single time on Iraq.”

Cheney argues that the administration has been “enormously successful” in preventing another attack since 9/11 and that one reason is the war in Iraq.

But with Iraq, which was hostile territory for al Qaeda under Saddam Hussein but now increasingly a haven for operatives of the still-at-large Osama bin Laden, Cheney’s boasts seem off-base.

Blitzer asked Cheney about the unhappiness of socially conservative Republicans with the fact that Cheney’s daughter Mary, a lesbian, is pregnant out of wedlock. Cheney snapped that he is happy about getting another grandchild, but called Blitzer “out of line” in asking about it.

Cheney, a former congressman from Wyoming, has been the point man with conservatives. But they are dismayed about the focus on Iraq, saying it has robbed them of the chance to get their agenda through Congress. They want abortion made illegal, tougher curbs on immigrants, more border security, a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, permanent tax cuts and private accounts for Social Security funds.

Cheney will again be in the spotlight when he testifies in the perjury trial of I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, accused of leaking the name of a covert CIA spy to reporters for political purposes. Libby’s defense is that Cheney told him to do it and that he became a scapegoat to protect Karl Rove, Bush’s political guru.

Cheney told Blitzer that any accusation that he’s lost credibility is “hogwash.”

It’s delightful to talk to the sitting vice president about trout fishing in Wyoming. On any other subject, listening to him is unnerving.

Almost, well, a waste of hogwash.

(Scripps Howard columnist Ann McFeatters has covered the White House and national politics since 1986. E-mail amcfeatters(at)


  1. Let’s face it. Our country is in the hands of a President who thinks and talks like a six-year old (I’m the decider!) and a Vice-President who would be most at home with the likes of Don Corleone and Darth Vader.

    It will be a testament to our founders if America can survive the governance of these two men, whose desire for total control and endless war threatens to make Brave New World and 1984 into documentaries of our time rather than fictions.

    It will be up to us, the people, our Congress, the Courts, to wrest power from these pretenders before they do any further harm. I only hope we all wake up in time and have the will to expel them before they lead us any deeper into Hell.

  2. Wobba

    Ya know, with all the heart problems Cheney has, does anybody else think that maybe he had a small embolism or a mini-stroke that is affecting his brain? That could explain a sudden change in personality or behavior. Not that he wasn’t already a warmongering, war-profiteering, chicken-hawk coward before. But if he suffered sudden minor brain damage, such as a lesion in the frontal lobe, it would explain why he’s suddenly apparently become more erratic of an asshole than usual.

  3. Rice Farmer

    This is all not so hard to understand if you see the huge gamble Cheney (the man who actually runs the US of A) and his henchmen have taken, and consider the rapidly growing possibility that it may not pay off. This man is more than irritable; he is desperate. In that light, merely telling a member of Congress to “f**k off” is exercising remarkable restraint.

  4. gene

    I know how to shut-up cheney, put an m16 in his hands and send his ass to Iraq. Wonder if he would have the “stomach to fight” a war that only makes his butt sucking friends richer. Both he and bush-e-boy are simply cowards and don’t think twice about getting americans killed to enhance their oil schem. I remember reading how sec Rice said she understood how the families of dead soldiers must feel. Well shut my mouth….. that really makes me feel better Ms Rice. That makes it ok now and the families can stop morning the loss of their love ones (ie. fathers with children left behind) because you understand. What a bunch of clowns….deadly clowns.

  5. Jennifer

    As I recall the Anti-Christ was supposed to be good, loved and then turn evil.

    Was Cheney ever thought to be loved by the world?…the last part of this right though…he is delievering evil to Iraq, Afganistan and real soon Iran & our soilders, I wonder how much he’s worth now? billions, trillions?
    It is amazing that he is still alive with his pace-makers.
    I saw a program, I think on Discovery about how one could zap someone’s pacemaker from a mobile unit with computors and no one would know. Oh, our technology is amazing isn’t it?
    HARRP has made a small box that can zap you if you are demonstrating against them, with intense heat and everybody collapes, no need for tear gas or wooden bullets. Our army has that little box. I think I thought saw that on Discovery, too with a re-enactment to show how it would work.
    I also saw, a year before 911, that Boeing was re-wireing their 707’s to be controlled on the ground by a computor. They could control “FOUR” planes.

    One last thing, right after 911 on CNN was shown from Campbell County in Kentucy’s army base ” a road block”, there were 5 men and women in gray uniforms and gray visors so one couldn’t see their faces, with M-16’s and a small building with a man on top with a machine gun. Surrounding the building and an area was razor wire fence and a sign like a stop sign and it said “Detaines if you try and escape you will be shot & killed” The 2nd time, this sign was blurred out.
    A man & woman in an older car were forced to stop. The army people called the people “citizens” and were asked for their drivers’ licenses. They were check and allowed to leave. The scary think both times I saw this was that all five of those soliders, held up their right arm and clutched their fist and said,
    “Hail to the Republic”.
    How many of you saw that? please let me know.
    That was only on CNN 2 times about an hour apart, and then I never saw it again! Unbelievabe, but true.
    A neighbor and I were talking this morning about how Jimmy Carter was on Today NBC and how he is being called everything. My neighbor said, “oh if we knew half of what they are doing to this country we couldn’t sleep at night”. I told him, I know, too much and find it really hard to sleep anymore.

    donQuixote…wow- you said it all!

    Pleae still pray for peace, I still believe in miracles from above.

  6. Jim C

    Americas lost its stomach to fight , this is coming from a cowardly pig who recieved five deferments .

  7. Bill Kitts

    If Cheney doesn’t think tht I have the stomach to fight, tell hill to meet me in the alley. By the way, I’, 69 years old.

  8. marlene bost

    The would-be boy king and his grumpy old man (cheney) live by the motto “Do as we say not as we do”

  9. L. Christenson

    What most of you fail to realize is that Big Dick (and probably “W”)has a borderline personality disorder. He’s sociopathic which means emotionally/psychologically he is fixated at the first stage of growth & development. He seems to have no ability to emotionally connect with anyone. He also seems incapable of taking any responsibility for his actions.
    The first stage of development lasts usually until about age 2. In that stage, the infant is unable to distinguish between itself and it’s environment. Everything is about “me.” If the child experiences enough emotional trauma during that stage, then as an adult they likely will be forever handicapped emotionally. That is to say, incapable of emotional intimacy. It means that person is incapable of feelings such as compassion or experiencing healthy mature relationships. The primary emotion they exhibit is anger and frustration, usually because they can’t get what they want.
    Children such as this usually grow up to become either VERY narcissitic or borderline personalities who think they are being victimized by the world. Big Dick has a HUGE AMOUNT of stored anger that he is projecting onto the world at large. Ever notice how everything is someone else’s fault?
    The takeaway message here is that to just criticize his behavior without understanding his emotional handicap is like treating an intellectually challenged person as if they had the capability to become Einstein. Borderline personalities are “managed” in the mental health arena, not treated. There is no treatment. Their personalities are fundamentally flawed. Therefore, the only thing that we can do about Cheney in the present is to insist that our Congress hold him (and “w”) accountable for their actions and try to curb his power. The long term solution is, of course, to get him out of office. People such as him are vindictive, malicious, and very dangerous under the right circumstances. They are also extremely slick manipulators. Their whole schtick is to control their environment. Their preferred method is through bullying and intimidation. No one is going to change Cheney, he is who he is. All we can do is to try to control him until his term is over or impeach him out of office.

  10. The South Point

    A little strange?

    Try a LOT strange.

    There’s a nice, comfy cell awaiting Cheney at Leavenworth. The perfect place for plenty of peace and quiet and to catch up on reading. True that there won’t be any more sadistic bird slaughters, but hey, you can’t have everything…

  11. Kent Shaw

    For Mr. I-had-other-priorities with his 5 deferments stating that America does “not have the stomach” for more illegal imperial warmongering defines a new height in arrogance. As far as I am concerned, to use a couple of his own stock phrases “if you will” is “totally out of line” and I say to him just “go f*** yourself”.

  12. Roger the Shrubber

    Well, now Cheney is blaming America for not having
    the ‘stomach’ for fighting on in Iraq.

    There was a certain wacky guy named Hitler who in the last weeks of his Reich, when Berlin was completely surrounded by the Russians, when presented with the fact that ordinary German citizens were suffering & dying from the shelling, bombing,and hunger; Hitler retorted that they deserved to die if they did not have the will to fight the enemy.

  13. Lou Raskin

    History seems to be repeating itself—Nixon and Agnew who resigned first; Bush and Cheney (to resign after a hellish fight) next as more and more Cheney questionable background activity becomes public. Let the show roll on.

  14. skyguy

    Okay….step away from your key boards and take a deep breath. Slowly return to a calmer state and mantra “Cheney is not the devil – but he’s damned close to him.”

    Cheney is a “Capo”, a pitbull enforcer, in the Bush regime. Period. The real head of the snake is GHWB, or Poppy as he so fondly likes to be called [by God only knows what kind of people.] GHWB, and the powers that have him locked up, are the sources creating all the Hell this nation is being forced to deal with.

    Cheney is a legend in his own mind. He’s been traveling in those D.C. snake pit circles for so long that he’s hopelessly engorged on the very BS he’s been force-fed and now hoping to get us to ingest.

    Cheney as President? Lord God Almighty, if that were to happen we’d all have to get off the planet as fast as we could. Keep George in place as Prez but start to make his feeble existence as hellish as he’s making it for us. Launch committee hearing after committee hearing and keep that fool occupied with something other than his constant coke-induced diddling with this nation’s reputation and resources. And get Cheney involved with defending himself with some form of legal challenges to his competency if nothing else.

    Just remember – the Kabuki theatre we’ve been watching for over 6 years is pure distraction when held to the real issues that are attempting to take satanic root. Push back HARD AND PROUDLY at the very sources that are busily undoing this great nation for their greater evil agendas.

    Cheney puts his pants on like the rest of us. He’s got his Achille’s heel, too. Find that and you’ve got HIM by the short curlies instead of the reverse continuing to happen to us.


  15. Phil

    So why didn’t the Reps have the cojones to say this five or so years ago, when it was already blindingly obvious to the rest of us?

  16. Fred P

    @JimZ – “Makes you really NOT want Bu$h impeached, with Dick next in line.”

    Actually, I still want Bush impeached. I think that impeachment is (and should be) a matter of principle, not of who’s next in line.