Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney speaks about national security at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington in this file photo from May 21, 2009.
Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Cheney’s descent into incoherence

It stands to reason former Vice President Dick Cheney would be unimpressed with the international agreement with Iran over its nuclear program. Heck, Cheney didn’t even get along with George W. Bush late in their second term because Bush was reluctant to launch military strikes on Iran, so the notion that Cheney would balk at President Obama’s policy is hardly a surprise.
But as Ben Armbruster noted, Cheney appeared on Fox News this morning to complain about U.S. policy towards Iran, and the former VP doesn’t even seem to be trying anymore.
The former vice president moved to Iran and without mentioning any specific criticisms of the agreement, claimed it’s bad because of unrelated health care issues. “We don’t follow through and Iran we’ve got a very serious problem going forward and a deal now been cut,” he said. “The same people that brought us ‘you can keep your insurance if you want’ are telling us they’ve got a great deal in Iran with respect to their nuclear program. I don’t believe it.”
This is what I like to call a “guy at the end of the bar” argument. You may know the type: there’s some angry guy watching the TV above the bar, and to no one in particular, the loudmouth wants to share his poorly informed wisdom about a variety of subjects. He’s the guy who’s convinced government is inherently bad because of lines at the DMV.
Cheney has become that guy. About 1 percent of the population will be adversely affected by changes to the messy individual, non-group insurance market, and as such, the P5+1 nuclear agreement with Iran is suspect. What do these two things have to do with one another? For sensible people, nothing.
But in Cheney’s mind, if Obama used oversimplified rhetoric about a sliver of the population individual health plans, then literally everything the administration says on every subject should be rejected. One wonders if Cheney would hold himself to the same standard, given his lengthy record of breathtaking dishonesty.
Indeed, in the same Fox appearance, Cheney added, “I don’t think that Barack Obama believes that the U.S. is an exceptional nation,” which is demonstrably silly.
And why should anyone care what the failed former vice president thinks? It’s a fair question, though I’d note that Cheney’s perspective remains relevant, not just because of his frequent media appearances, but because congressional Republicans continue to seek his counsel on matters related to foreign policy and national security.