Open Thread: Darth Cheney, Redux

(Don Wright via

I can’t help myself; I was born to a tribe that cherishes a good grievance as an heirloom to be passed down for generations.

Apart from football, what’s on the agenda for The Last Official Summer Weekend?

Open Thread: Republican Family Values on Parade

John Cook at Gawker, “Bloomberg Deputy Arrested for Beating His Wife Last Month“:

When Stephen Goldsmith, the former Indianapolis mayor and technocratic guru that Michael Bloomberg hired as his deputy last year, resigned suddenly in August, everyone assumed it was because he failed so miserably during last winter’s blizzard…
Turns out that four days before his resignation, Goldsmith had been arrested for allegedly beating his wife at their Georgetown home…

Something seemed to be missing here — namely, a prior history of Goldsmith furiously mouthing pieties about family values! ! eleventy-one ! So I decided to check Indiana-based Doghouse Riley and “Ask The Man Who Owned One“:

… Anyway, after becoming an Eagle Scout, like Dick Lugar, graduating from Michigan Law, like Ann Coulter, and landing a six-year gig with the US Army Reserves at the height of the Vietnam War, like Dan Quayle, Goldsmythe started work for a well-connected Indianapolis law firm, and shortly after went to work on the government’s dime as Corporate Counsel, and later chief trial deputy, for the city. He won a surprise victory for Marion County Prosecutor in 1978, thanks to the popular Nixonian law n’ order blather and some fortuitous financing. Goldsmythe spent the next twelve years as Prosecutor, pissing off Bad Guys and carping about Permanent Indianapolis Mayor the Reverend Bill Hudnut, whose job Goldsmythe wanted…
Goldsmythe, meanwhile, had become a disciple of Government Privatization, on the grounds that this seemed like a good deal for his backers. His antics, which to this point had been only about 10% more disturbing than the run-of-the-mill politician’s in these parts–he had a particular fixation on “cleaning up” massage parlors and adult bookstores, and no apparent concern with Constitutional rights, nor the cost to taxpayers of losing extended court fights over overarching prosecutions–now became, in a word, insufferable. Indianapolis did not undertake Privatization under Stephen Goldsmythe for the sake of economic efficiencies or improvement of services; Indianapolis undertook Privatization because Stephen Goldsmythe was metaphysically correct in his every assumption, and on his way to important political office.

[Emphasis mine.] So, I guess Goldsmith (to understand Riley’s spelling, click over and read the whole post) switched from the Talibangelical wing of the GOP, to the Glibertarian faction. And the police responding to his wife’s plea for assistance were therefore damaging his civil rights by interfering in a private contract dispute between adults, not trespassing against his religious beliefs concerning proper spousal conduct. Sucks to be Mrs. Goldsmith, either way…

Open Thread: Darth Cheney, Puppy-Kicker

(Mike Luckovich via

“From our first encounter,” writes Dick Cheney, “when I woke him up by stepping on him, Cyrano and I became close friends.” Cyrano is—sorry, was—a beloved family dog, a basset hound, accepted by the family when Cheney was working at President Richard Nixon’s Office of Economic Opportunity… “I think that Cyrano and I had an understanding.”
The last time a retired vice president wrote a memoir, when Dan Quayle gifted the airport book-buyer with Standing Firm, the goal was to prove he was serious. That’s not Cheney’s problem. The purpose of Cheney’s memoir, In My Time, is to prove he is human.
So the reader of In My Time gets a few stories about dogs. He gets snapshots of Cheney and his mentor, Donald Rumsfeld, having wacky adventures… These little stories are meant to humanize Cheney, which is necessary, because no one else is going to accept that mission…

You read it here first: Willard “Let me tell you a heartwarming story about strapping the family dog to the roof rack, and how it greatly reduces the annoying noise level from the kids in the back seat, too” Romney is going to solicit Mr. Cheney’s endorsement… big time.

Open Thread: Darth Cheney, Fictioneer

(Jim Morin via

Conor Friedersdorf at the Atlantic has a pretty good thumbnail summary Remembering Why Americans Loathe Dick Cheney: the Iraq war, torture, Halliburton, Ahmed Chalabi, unlimited detention of the innocent, his radical view of executive power, etc. Colin Powell’s former chief of staff, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, sniffs about Cheney’s “cheap shots”:

“I think he’s just trying to, one, assert himself so he’s not in some subsequent time period tried for war crimes and, second, so that he somehow vindicates himself because he feels like he needs vindication. That in itself tells you something about him,” Wilkerson told ABC News, explaining that Cheney may have “angst” because of receiving deferments instead of serving in the Vietnam War like Wilkerson and others in the administration.
“He’s developed an angst and almost a protective cover, and now he fears being tried as a war criminal so he uses such terminology as ‘exploding heads all over Washington’ because that’s the way someone who’s decided he’s not going to be prosecuted acts: boldly, let’s get out in front of everybody, let’s act like we are not concerned and so forth when in fact they are covering up their own fear that somebody will Pinochet him,” Wilkerson said alluding to the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who was arrested for war crimes.

But IMO the most significant review so far is Dahlia Lithwick at Slate dissecting Cheney Getting Away With Torture:

This week Dick Cheney invites us all to join him again in a game he likes to play against the rest of us called Tedious Torture Standoff. He continues to assert—this time in his memoir, In My Time—that he has “no regrets” about developing the U.S. torture program, and he continues to argue—as he did this morning on the Today Show—that torturing prisoners is “safe, legal, and effective.” He continues to assert that he would “strongly support” water-boarding if actionable information could be elicited from a prisoner. He even says that different standards apply to torturing Americans and foreigners. Cheney is trying, in short, to draw us back into the same tiresome debate over the efficacy of torture, which is about as compelling as a debate about the efficacy of slavery or Jim Crow laws. Only fools debate whether patently illegal programs “work”—only fools or those who have been legally implicated in designing the programs in the first place…
__ Read more

Open Thread: The TerMITTnator

(Mike Luckovich via
Don’t have a Mac, iPod, or iPad, but (or should that be “therefore”?) I LOL’d.


Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly reports that my personal nemesis, Willard “Mitt” Romney, has decided he can no longer stand above the fray now that James Richard “Guv Goodhair” Perry is stealing the GOP primary limelight:

In a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention today, Romney has apparently come up with an opening salvo.

According to excerpts of the speech released by his campaign, Mr. Romney plans to say: “Career politicians got us into this mess, and they simply don’t know how to get us out!”
It is an argument Mr. Romney has made repeatedly on the campaign trail — that he is not a career politician, and is one of the few candidates, having spent 25 years in the private sector, with the know-how to create jobs — but never in such a pointed contrast to Mr. Perry, who first entered politics in 1984 and has not lost an election since.

… Romney’s reliance on his private-sector background is itself problematic — he got rich by putting thousands of Americans out of work.
But even if we put all of that aside, the “career politician” line seems especially odd given Romney’s background. Isn’t this the guy who ran for the Senate in 1994, ran for governor in 2002, ran for president in 2008, and is running for president again in 2012? Indeed, by most measures, he’s been running for the White House continuously for more than four years.
In other words, wouldn’t Mitt Romney be a career politician, too, if only voters liked him a little more?

As a stickler for accuracy, I must point out that Willard started his vulture-capitalist career with a mere multi-million-dollar trust fund, although in true Galtian fashion he’s used all the tools of the modern MBA sociopath to multiply that into a quarter-billion-dollar fortune for his campaign managers to steal from his own kids. But President Obama can safely state that Romney has devoted his life to destroying American jobs in both the public and private sector… or is that going to be the Romney campaign’s advertising pitch to his fellow Republicans?