For those who have been wondering why former Vice President Dick Cheney doesn't just go gently into the night -- or at least park himself at that undisclosed location for a while -- now comes the answer. Apparently he really cares.
Liz Cheney, the vice presidential daughter who got a plum job at the State Department during George W. Bush's administration, has taken to the airwaves to defend her father's rants.
Ever since President Obama started initiating new policies -- closing the Guantanamo Bay military prison, ending harsh interrogation techniques -- Dick Cheney has made the oft-repeated and truly incendiary assertion that Obama's policies are making the country less safe from terrorism.
On Tuesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Liz Cheney said her father would "rather be fishing in Wyoming" but felt compelled to tear down the Obama administration.
Her basic argument: Waterboarding was not only effective, it was legal, since the Bush administration had the legal documents that said so -- despite international conventions to the contrary.
Liz Cheney also accused the media of a double standard in criticizing her father over his outspoken views, noting that the media embraces former Vice President Al Gore when he speaks about global climate change.
"You want [Cheney] to shut up because you disagree with what he's saying," she told the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson, whose column called Cheney "an Old Faithful of self-serving nonsense."
The Post's Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist also asked this question: Can't we send Dick Cheney back to Wyoming? Shouldn't we chip in and buy him a home where the buffalo roam and there's always room for one more crazy old coot down at the general store?
Others in key policy roles in the Bush administration -- former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, former CIA Director George Tenet, even former President George W. Bush -- have maintained a respectful silence during the recent debate over whether the "enhanced interrogation" methods they approved crossed the line into torture.
Not so Cheney, who has become a familiar face on the Sunday talk shows, spewing his critiques about the Obama administration, urging Republicans to recover politically by embracing the very Bush conservatism that cost them control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Asked about Cheney's recent comment that he would rather see the future of the Republican Party in the hands of conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh than the more centrist Colin L. Powell, former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and former Secretary of state, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called it "an illuminating answer."
The former vice president, Gibbs added, keeps floating ideas that "in many ways the last election was about and the last election rejected. They're essentially going forward by looking backward."
"If the vice president believes that's a way of growing and expanding the Republican Party, then we're happy to leave him to those devices."
Neuman writes for The Times.
Read Top of the Ticket, The Times' blog on national politics with its blend of news, commentary and analysis, at latimes.com/ticket.