When the Obama administration started elevating Rush Limbaugh as their primary foe, and invoking him as the leader of the opposition, they later found that Rush’s ratings were increasing and that in fact he had been selling out all of his advertising slots faster than ever before. Someone had noted — and I’m sorry the originator of this thought escapes my memory at this moment — that Obama is used to “fighting” foes who fear what the media will say about them, flinch when criticized harshly, and cringe at the thought of unpopularity. In Rush, Obama had taken on someone who didn’t give a hoot about any of that, and his traditional leverage was nowhere to be found. He had managed to select a foe who wasn’t boxed in by senatorial courtesy, the tastes of the mainstream media, Washington conventional wisdom, etc.
Interestingly, we haven’t heard the administration invoking Limbaugh as frequently as we did before.
Today, Dick Cheney said:
Being the first vice president who had also served as secretary of defense, naturally my duties tended toward national security. I focused on those challenges day to day, mostly free from the usual political distractions. I had the advantage of being a vice president content with the responsibilities I had, and going about my work with no higher ambition. Today, I’m an even freer man. Your kind invitation brings me here as a private citizen – a career in politics behind me, no elections to win or lose, and no favor to seek.
Mind you, this is the man who, as vice president, responded to a comment about his policy positions being unpopular with “So?”
Dick Cheney isn’t running for anything. He doesn’t have to worry about approval ratings, or tailor his remarks to a focus group or polling demographics or anything. He essentially has nothing to lose, and this makes him very different from John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Alan Keyes, or any of the tomato cans Obama knocked over in the Democratic Senate primary. Also note that Obama is used to campaigning, but this isn’t a campaign; there is no ballot between Obama and Cheney.
Events will offer their verdict on Obama’s policy changes before the American people get their next chance to weigh in.