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Cheney on Orwellian Campaign to Revise Administration History

Political language … is designed to make lies sound truthful … and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.— — George Orwell

“I think [Guantánamo Bay] is a great success story. It was done legally. It was done in accordance with our constitutional practices and principles.— — former Vice President Dick Cheney, CNN, March 16

[IMGCAP(1)]Former Vice President Dick Cheney, it appears, is heading the 2009 Bush-Cheney Legacy Media Tour to revise history based on the Orwellian philosophy that informed their administration: Lies are truth, wrong is right and war is peace.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said this past weekend that Republican lawmakers “ought to get the idea out of their minds that they are legislators.— They are now “communicators,— he announced.

Cheney, who has given numerous media interviews since the election on topics ranging from pre-war intelligence to national security to the economy, seems to be the new GOP communicator in chief.

So it should not come as a surprise to anyone watching his interview Sunday with John King on CNN’s new show, “State of the Union,— that Cheney is not only driving himself around town, but is also packing a Blackberry and a Kindle. Those three “facts— seemed to be the only real news that Cheney made during the entire interview. Otherwise, it was a rehash of the past eight years.

Cheney spent the entire hour on CNN’s “State of the Union— hammering away at the Obama administration, trying to discredit the new president and the policies that he is enacting to reverse the disastrous effects of Bush-Cheney governance.

Cheney even managed to blame the current economic crisis on Obama, who entered the Oval Office less than 60 days ago. What was the point of it? As Orwell noted, “Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.—

Perhaps it is time for Cheney to get a dose of reality.

Just a few weeks ago the Bush-Cheney administration was thrown out of office with the lowest approval rating of any chief executive in American presidential history. A furious and weary electorate put its hopes in Obama and increased the Democratic control of Congress.

This was no anomaly. It was a repudiation of the ethically, morally and ideologically bankrupt policies and leadership of Bush, Cheney and the Republicans on Capitol Hill who had become wilted, potted plants.

While other former Bush-Cheney administration officials have either had the grace to hide in quiet shame or to roll up their sleeves to help the new president and his team rebuild the economy — yes, there are one or two of them — Cheney has decided to stay in the public arena and go down swinging. Fair enough.

Partly because Cheney is the only one defending the unraveling of the previous administration, in which he played a key role in some of the most controversial aspects of its tenure — from waterboarding to fighting the war in Iraq — it’s time Democrats take him on by pointing out the inconsistencies and untruths in his critiques.

It leads me to the conclusion that it is time someone should ask the former vice president this question: Has any regime in U.S. history done more damage to the United States, both at home and abroad? Cheney was Bush’s pit bull, the enforcer. He was the mastermind behind every administration national security policy that trampled the rule of law: Guantánamo Bay, torture, rendition and CIA black sites to “interrogate— terrorists suspects.

And once again, Cheney is waving his pom-poms to rouse the GOP troops to defend the debacle that Obama is putting an end to.

“President Obama campaigned against it all across the country,— Cheney complained to John King. “And now he is making some choices that, in my mind, will, in fact, raise the risk to the American people of another attack.— Perhaps it is time for the former vice president to appear before the relevant Congressional committees or even give a nod to Sen. Patrick Leahy’s (D-Vt.) truth commission to better explain everything. Now that would be newsworthy.

Former President George W. Bush, who is in Canada today making one of his first post-presidential public speeches, needs to ask Cheney to dial it back a little. Instead of distracting the public — and the judicial system — from contemplating the full effects of the Bush-Cheney legacy, the former vice president is drawing unwanted attention to it.

In the end, I must give the former vice president his due. Cheney drove home his message loud and clear. The Bush-Cheney years are not yet over — lies are truth, wrong is right and war is peace. The GOP’s Orwellian battle continues.

Donna Brazile, the campaign manager for Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore in 2000, runs her own grass-roots political consulting firm.

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