In the course of a valedictory interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News, Vice President Cheney took some satisfaction in the administration he served having succeeded in preventing a second mass terrorism attack, and shrugged off its loss of popularity.
CHENEY: We didn’t set out to achieve the highest level of polls that we could during the course of this administration.
We set out to do what we thought was necessary and essential for the country. That clearly was the guiding principle with respect to the aftermath of 9/11. I feel very good about a lot of the things we’ve done in this administration. I think that they will be viewed in a favorable light when it’s time to write the history of this era.
I think the fact that we were able to protect the nation against further attacks from Al Qaida for 7.5 years is a remarkable achievement. To do that, we had to adopt some unpopular policies that have been widely criticized by our critics.
But I think in terms of â€” is 29 percent good enough for me? Well, we fought a tough reelection battle. We won by an adequate margin in 2004. We’ve been here for eight years now. Eventually, you wear out your welcome in this business.
But I’ve â€” I’m very comfortable with where we are and what we achieved substantively. And frankly, I would not want to be one of those guys who spends all his time reading the polls. I think people like that shouldn’t serve in these job.
And in response to a predictable reference to alleged Constitutional overreach, Cheney effortlessly eviscerates his democrat opponent.
WALLACE: Biden has said that he believes you have dangerously expansive views of executive power.
CHENEY: Well, I just fundamentally disagree with him. He also said that the â€” all the powers and responsibilities of the executive branch are laid out in Article 1 of the Constitution. Well, they’re not. Article 1 of the Constitution is the one on the legislative branch.
Joe’s been chairman of the Judiciary Committee, a member of the Judiciary Committee in the Senate, for 36 years, teaches constitutional law back in Delaware, and can’t keep straight which article of the Constitution provides for the legislature and which provides for the executive.
So I think â€” I write that off as campaign rhetoric. I don’t take it seriously. And if he wants to diminish the office of vice president, that’s obviously his call.
And on the inadvertent comedy front, excitable Andrew Sullivan uses the Cheney interview as the occasion for one of the most spectacular displays of begging the question achieved by any leftwing commentator all year.
What Cheney has advanced is that the president has the right to dissolve the constitution permanently. That he has the right to commit war crimes with impunity. That there is no legal authority to which he is ever required to pay deference in a war that is his and his alone to declare and end. Now when you consider that, in Cheney’s view, these war-powers are limitless, and that war is declared not by the Congress but by the president, and can be defined against a broad, amorphous enemy such as “terrorism”, and never end, you begin to see what a dangerous man he is, and how much danger we have all been in since he seized control of the government seven years ago. …
The vice-president long ago became an enemy to the Constitution and to all it represents. He should have been impeached long ago; and the shamelessness of his exit makes prosecution all the more vital. If we let this would-be dictator do what he has done to the constitution and get away with it, the damage to the American idea is deep and permanent.
And then he stole the baby’s candy and kicked the cat, too, right, Andrew?