Check out the homepage over on Drudge. There’s a huge headline, “Cheney: Obama Endangers the Nation,” topped by a sinister-looking black-and-white picture of Cheney (wearing a hat and heavy coat, and thus looking like a Soviet-era General Secretary) looming over Obama. The whole presentation gives off a serious Seven Days in May vibe. But Cheney’s comments, quoted in the story Drudge links to, are policy disagreements that it’s important to hash out. I am sanguine enough about America’s strength that I believe the country can survive and thrive under both Obama’s defense policies, and Cheney’s criticism of Obama’s defense policies. Conservatives sometimes enjoy mocking liberals who claim that dissent is the highest form of patriotism . . . and then turn around and complain about the loyalty to our country of conservatives who dissent from the policies of liberal administrations. Fair enough; it’s both fun and helpful to democracy to point out such hypocrisies when they occur. (How many times have we heard jokes along the lines of, “This message has been paid for by Adulterers against Gay Marriage”?) But the much more fundamental truth to remember is that dissent is, indeed, a very high form of patriotism; and Cheney–whether he’s right or wrong on the underlying issues–is morally praiseworthy for making these criticisms if he believes them to be true. Morality trumps the conventions of political etiquette: Paul Revere violated the latter by waking people up, but he was proved right. Is Cheney right? I’m betting not, but my mind remains open. In any case we’ll know soon enough, and will settle the issue at the ballot box.