Cheney vs. Obama: This Time It’s Personal

Empire Strikes Back: Former Vice President Dick Cheney, one of the principal architects of the 2003 Iraq invasion, and President Barack Obama, who surged into office on opposition to it and other “dumb wars,” squared off – sort of – for Round Three in their foreign-policy showdown, and this time it got personal. No competing addresses, but Cheney lived up to his name as the Darth Vader of politics, whipping out a verbal lightsaber to shred Obama’s Iran deal as “catastrophic” and an act of “madness.” No surprise there: Cheney’s been harshing on Obama since year one of Obama’s term, when he challenged the new commander-in-chief with a competing speech on national security.


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Book Report: Unlike last time, however, Cheney was selling something other than a dark worldview with terror around every corner and a feckless president getting swindled at every turn. Cheney’s hawking, so to speak, a new book, “Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America,” co-authored with his daughter, Liz Cheney. Only according to the Washington Post, the book should stay on the shelf and Cheney might want to think of staying in the Death Star for another two years. Far from bringing fresh arguments, contrition or even perspective to the debate with Obama, reviewer Carlos Lozada writes, Cheney doubles down on his smackdown of the president’s diplomacy-first protocol, and his own might-makes-right strategy. But Lozada also finds Cheney’s book rings hollow, and he wonders why anyone pays attention to him anymore. ”Rather than a slugfest, this feels like a swan song,” Lozada writes. “It is far from clear that Cheney’s arguments, calcified in the intervening years, wield much influence anymore, even within his own party, or that they should.” Ouch.

Return of the Jedi: In the rematch with Cheney, the White House brought a new weapon that plays to the Obama administration’s strength. While Cheney kicked it old-school with a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, Obama’s communications team slapped Cheney with a video outlining how Cheney got it wrong on Iraq. The administration also got plenty of backup, when the Senate whip count showed Obama now has 41 senators backing the Iran deal, giving the president a big foreign policy win. And a day earlier, former Secretary of State Colin Powell – a former member of the Bush-Cheney White House – said on “Meet the Press” that he thinks the White House got the deal just right, just as Fox News grilled Cheney on what he got wrong.


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