Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"Then they pull me back in!"

We all remember the line from 'The Godfather' (I guess it was one of the sequels and I honestly don't remember which one). It's one of those lines that enter the lexicon (like Play it again, Sam or The past is prologue). It was Al Pacino bemoaning his involuntary commitment to "the family." For all the horror and violence of his experience with them —and them with him— there was this strange and entirely irrevocable bond.

I'm reminded of Dick Cheney, somehow.

Maybe it was Sarah Palin's gosh gollee gee reconcilliation with the old guy that got me thinking. At the debate the other night she allowed as how she sure does like that "flexibility in there" that Cheney brought to the office (the same "flexibility" Joe Biden described as the most damaging disregard for the Constitution he's ever seen).

You might use the word "erratic" to describe the way McCain/Palin have handled themselves with regard to the current administration. McCain walked in (to the rescue) to the highly touted Bush bailout bill meeting a while back like he was visiting an imbecilic nephew on the matter of his depleted trust fund. Cheney's name was not mentioned once at the Republican National Convention —not once. There has been occasional reference to "blunders" of the current administration from both Palin and McCain, but thus far they have been kind enough not to name one —they've yet to name one, and when it comes to actual policy —well, you know how they say imitation is a form of flattery.

There's this love/hate thing going on. Nobody is really comfortable with the spooky uncle with the brass knuckles and the bag full of bloody rags in his closet. But still, when things get ugly —you gotta love him.

John McCain may publicly attack Obama for "voting for Dick Cheney's energy bill" —and he may, on occasion, lay some of the blame for the Iraq war's difficulties at the vice president's dooorstep, but let's just say there's some winking going on.

Consider this quote from an interview McCain gave author Stephen Hayes as he was preparing a book on Cheney. This was just over a year ago and McCain was asked whether he’d be interested in Cheney as a VP, or in some other administration role, McCain said: “I don’t know if I would want him as vice president. He and I have the same strengths. But to serve in other capacities? Hell, yeah.”

"Same strengths"?

"Hell, yeah"?

I guess the question becomes just who is giving whom an "offer they can't refuse"?

Barton Gellman, author of "Angler" —a study of the Cheney vice presidency— watched the debate between Biden and Palin and came away with this observation (which he shared in an article for slate.com):

"Palin, by her own recent accounts, is more inclined than Biden to emulate the incumbent."

But there's hope, he also observes:

"But Palin is strictly an amateur by Cheney standards. The woman tried to use free e-mail services on the Web to circumvent Alaska's public records laws, as if no one would guess the identity of gov.palin@yahoo.com. Letting her account get hacked was the inevitable newbie comeuppance. No one in Cheney's office would have dreamed of writing down some of the things the hackers found."

So I guess we can pin our hopes on a McCain/Palin administration where the abuse of power isn't carried off with nearly as much skill and accomplishment!

Unless of course they keep the old guy around as a coach.

"...Hell, yeah!"

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