The Corner

On Cheney

I’ve been waylaid by Nyquil of late (Obamallergic reaction?), and so missed yesterday’s deadline for paying tribute to the President. But once people like Yuval Levin and Bill McGurn have had their say, the field has pretty much been occupied. So I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my old boss, Dick Cheney. He fought like hell for principle, but never showed any public disagreement with the President when his position didn’t win out. He sought to maximize the influence of his Office in order to protect and reestablish the authority of the Office of the President. He took major arrows for the administration without complaint, even when the facts were woefully distorted by gleeful, self-proclaimed enemies (see, e.g, Halliburton. Cheney gave up millions in stock options to an irrevocable charitable trust in order to serve the country and recused on matters related to the company, yet has been portrayed as a shadow CEO of the company while in office). And he, like President Bush, never wavered in his commitment to protecting the country. On a personal note, beneath the Western reserve, he was always kind, gracious (with a terrifically impish humor at times) and fiercely loyal to his staff, his friends, and his supporters. His successor has gone out of his way to try to belittle Dick Cheney at every turn, but Biden’s comments barely mask the insecurity he brings to the Office–an insecurity that stands in stark contrast to a man comfortable with who he is and how best to do his job. Thanks, Mr. Vice President. 

Shannen W. Coffin is a contributing editor to National Review. He practices appellate law in Washington, D.C.

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