Sunday, June 27, 2004
previous entry | main | next entry | TrackBack (1)
What the f@#% is in Dick Cheney's coffee?
The Vice President has not been the epitome of good manners in recent days. There's the use of the f-word to Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont on the Senate floor. Then there's the complete lack of contrition about the use of that word in that place in a Friday interview on Fox News. Here's his explanation:
So, Cheney's beef is that Leahy doubted Cheney's integrity publicly and then tried to play nicey-nice in the Senate floor.
Three thoughts on Cheney's little tamptrum:
1) While I understand getting upset when someone questions your integrity, there are better ways of responding than the admittedly economical "f--- you."
2) Hey, Mr. Vice President, you say that an elected official exhibited one demeanor in public and another in private? Welcome to politics. You've been in this business for how long?
3) While this was bad, Ron Reagan describes behavior by Cheney in today's New York Times Magazine that seems far, far worse to me:
posted by Dan on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM
1. Agreed. While I am secretly delighted at the thought of the sanctimonious Leahy's shock, shock at being spoken to that way, I look askance at the poverty of language resources the F word's excessive use betrays. The VP would have better said something more literate, e.g., "Your mother mated with a scorpion" (from Robert Bolt's "Lawrence of Arabia" script).
2. Dick Cheney's political style is, perhaps, an acquired taste. To me, the VP's outrage is refreshingly authentic. Daschle and Company's outrage -- not to mention Ron Reagan's -- is patently phony.
3. Ron Reagan has it in for the Bush Administration, GW on down -- as he exhibited so distastefully in making a snide comment re GW's manner of showing his faith at Ronnie's burial service. Not a reliable observer, that young Ron. Citing him diminishes any argument.posted by: Sissy Willis on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
"Dick Cheney's political style is, perhaps, an acquired taste. To me, the VP's outrage is refreshingly authentic. Daschle and Company's outrage -- not to mention Ron Reagan's -- is patently phony."
Gee, Sissy, care to explain that further? I'd be fascinated to hear a dissertaton on why liberal outrage is so clearly phony. Please elaborate.posted by: Kevin Drum on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
Let's not worry too much about Cheney's tantrum, bad words or whatever. I personally would like fewer 4 letter words in public discourse, but I think that we Americans are too much caught up in symbols, words and personalities, while Rome is burning.
Richard Nixon was our last liberal President. Clinton (and Carter) were more conservative than Nixon, as Max Boot says. To underline the difference between Nixon’s economic policy and Clinton’s, consult Piketty and Saez, Income inequality in the United States, 1913–1998, Quarterly J Econ 118:1, 2003. It shows that the share of GDP going to the richest 1% of Americans plunged in the 1930s and stayed down until the 1980s when it shot up during the Reagan years- that climb continued during the Clinton years. Clinton talked the talk, but it was hollow talk. Clinton’s deeds favored big oil and rich people, notwithstanding the myths. Presidents can’t repeal the business cycle, but they can influence the distribution of wealth- look at FDR.
Isn't it long past time someone told Pat Leahy to go fuck himself? Cheney's action is one of the few things he's done in the last few years that I wholeheartedly approve of.
Does it lower the tone of public discourse? No, I don't think so. Fahrenheit 9/11 is #1 at the box office this weekend; I'd take that as a sign that the state of public discourse is already as low as it can go.posted by: Dan on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
Yep, anciano, my folks really loved the '30s because they had a larger share of the GDP comparatively speaking. Of course, maybe since the GDP was much lower that made a difference. 30% unemployment probably helped, too. Then I got lucky and came of age in the '60s and had my own small busindess in the late '70s (with 22.5% interest rates), and, DAMN, was I glad that my share of the GDP was so good. Then I got poor again. Then came the '90s and that darned share of the GDP started getting smaller again, so, even though I became much more well-off relatively speaking, it was dismal because the top 1% got a bigger share than me.
It is difficult to say how much more fun it is to have a large share of very little than a smaller share of a whole lot in terms of economics, but let me say this: Your reasoning sucks. If you and those who rode in on the same horse want to go back to the '30s (or even the '60s or '70s) when the GDP share was more to your liking, fine. Go. Dump all your stuff. Give up modern dentristy and medicine. Lose you computers and DVDs, etc. Just don't try to convince me that I'm worse off and should go with you. Also, don't you dare try to force me to go.
Idiot.posted by: JorgXMcKie on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
My admittedly parochial view of this starts with the fact that the Vice President is the presiding officer of the Senate. This imposes on him as on Senators an obligation to avoid conduct, and language, likely to bring the Senate into disrepute.
I would bet good money that these obligations mean more to me than they do to Vice President Cheney, part of a generation of senior American leaders for whom nothing matters more than their own place, prerogatives and feelings. He is outraged that anyone could question his ties to a company from which he received millions in compensation and that is now intimately involved in a policy in Iraq and elsewhere that he sponsored, and so feels greatly relieved to have expressed his outrage. That some questions about this circumstance were inevitable means little to him, and the decorum of the Senate means even less.
As in many other ways I am struck by how little difference there is between Cheney and his chief on the one hand and their immediate predecessors on the other. No doubt Cheney sees Senator Leahy as part of a great left wing conspiracy out to bring down a Vice President.posted by: Zathras on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
What do you expect from right-wing nihilist?posted by: NeoDude on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
Hey, Kevin Drum. Thanks for the challenge. Lately, we disagree with the premise of all things anti-Bush that are transparently political. It's election season, so anyone who says it's not political is either a fool or takes us for one. Does Kerry have a better vision? Who knows? What are the Democrats for, beyond having a Democrat -- ANY Democrat -- in the White House?
We've blogged about it here: http://sisu.typepad.com/sisu/2004/06/we_are_deeply_h.html
All good wishes to Jasmine and Inkblot!posted by: Sissy Willis on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
“He is outraged that anyone could question his ties to a company from which he received millions in compensation and that is now intimately involved in a policy in Iraq and elsewhere that he sponsored, and so feels greatly relieved to have expressed his outrage.”
It is not the reasonable questions which infuriate Dick Cheney---but the viciously unfair and slanderous accusations of Patrick Leahy and the liberal establishment. And yes, I also find it morally repugnant when somebody craps all over me---and then pretends to be my best buddy. Such a person well deserves a “f*^%$ you.”
“Gee, Sissy, care to explain that further? I'd be fascinated to hear a dissertaton on why liberal outrage is so clearly phony. Please elaborate.”
I can unhesitatingly state that conservatives are generally far more ethical and decent than liberals. The Valerie Plame nonsense and the exaggerated emphasis placed on Abu Ghraib are only two of the most recent examples of manufactured outrage. Why should this be surprising? A conservative, by definition, believes in the concept of objective truth. The typical liberal is a moral relativist and inclined to assert “That depends on what the meaning of 'is' is.” Perhaps Kevin Drum is unfamiliar with deconstructionism?posted by: David Thomson on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
“Ron Reagan describes behavior by Cheney in today's New York Times Magazine that seems far, far worse to me”
This particular son of Ronald Reagan is a flaming liberal. What would have happened if Dick Cheney had offered assistance to Nancy Reagan? Ron would likely accuse Dick Cheney of being a male chauvinist pig who believes women are helpless and unable to stand on their own two feet. I did not view this part of the funeral. Isn’t it strange, though, that nobody else seems to share Ron Reagan’s view of the matter? What does Michael have to say?posted by: David Thomson on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
I will provide a quintessential example of liberal duplicity. It is my adamant conviction that the complaints regarding Dick Cheney’s unwillingness to provide the names of those individuals advising him on energy policy is manufactured outrage. In my own particular case, I would say the exact same thing even if a Democrat sat in the White House. The liberals, on the other hand, only desire to bring down a Republican administration.posted by: David Thomson on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
Excuse me! I think Cheney was long overdue in his comments. Why do sanctimonious jerks like Leahy get a pass when they come out with the most outrageous personal attacks, then try to act to that person as if they were bosom buddies. I for one appreciate the honesty. Surely I am not the only one who was slightly sickened when George HW Bush gave a big award to Teddy "I didn't leave that girl to die" Kennedy right on the heels of his most vicious personal attacks on the current president. I think he should have brought him to College Station and instead of giving him the award, told him to get the F out of Texas. But then George HW is too nice for that.
The funniest part is " part of the problem here is, that instead of having a substantive debate over important policy issues, he had challenged my integrity. " Who is he kidding? When has Cheney ever wanted any type of debate on any type of issue? The hallmark of this administration is policy shrowded in secrecy.
Either way, your second point is exactly right. Cheney has been in this game for waaaay to long to be so stupid. Cheney is going to bring next to no votes for the administration come november. Everyone's talking about how Kerry needs a VP to win electoral votes, its amazing people don't say Bush should drop Cheney and add on Guliani or McCain -- either of whom will definitely help in november.posted by: Jor on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
Jor: "its amazing people don't say Bush should drop Cheney and add on Guliani or McCain -- either of whom will definitely help in november."
I'm amazed that there isn't talk about dumping Bush. Bush gets 45% in the polls, because 80% of public is not yet paying attention. Gore said it: if you are well enough informed to know that there is no connection between Iraq and 9/11 or Saddam and Al Qaeda, then you think Bush should go. If you are either an idiotic ignoramus or just not paying attention, then you might support Bush. Might.
As more and more people pay attention, Bush's numbers are going to plummet. I will go out on a limb and predict that the Republican convention will get Bush a negative "bounce" -- the first in electoral history.
Cheney will be plenty foul-mouthed by then.posted by: BrianWild7 on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
I'm willing to put money on the proposition that none of these people complaining about Cheney saying a naughty word would forebear from using a naughty word in what they believe to be a private conversation.
I would further bet that very few of them grew up out here in the west in the 40's and 50's.
Here's a clue, folks: out here, especially among those of us of Cheney's generation, it is considered to be far better manners to say "fuck you" to a man's face than to be their best friend face to face but deeply offensively insulting behind their back. You might be able to reconcile with someone who will insult you face to face; you'll never be able to trust the other guy.
It's also generally considered better form to have the argument one to one than to whine about how nasty the person was to others.
It's different back East, I know, but I can promise you Cheney did himself a lot more good -- and Leahy did himself a lot more damage -- in that exchange among the people Cheney would think of as peers.posted by: Charlie (Colorado) on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
Brian: If Kerry wins, it will be because of massive ignorance of the truth. What you are saying about WMD's is a false cliche. US weapons inspectors have found 12 canisters of WMD with enough sarin gas to kill 100,000 people.
Weapons delivery system? They don't need an ICBM for that, a Wahabbi terrorist sneaking the gas across the Canadian border will do just nicely?
Also, you have Vladimir Putin stating now that Iraq was planning attacks against the United States.
Can you not add 2 + 2 here? If the voters in this country are as deliberately ignorant as you are, then we DESERVE to have John Kerry lead us into Carteresque ruin.posted by: Fraydog on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
"US weapons inspectors have found 12 canisters of WMD with enough sarin gas to kill 100,000 people."
Don't forget about the rifles they found with all that ammunition - if people were to walk, single file towards the shooters, and the ammunition didn't run out, those rifles could kill upwards of a million people. WOW! How scary is that?
The terrorists in Japan killed five people with sarin. Color me not afraid.posted by: SomeCallMeTim on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
"US weapons inspectors have found 12 canisters of WMD with enough sarin gas to kill 100,000 people."
The only way this would happen is if you walked up to 100,000 different people and beat each of them to death with a sack of canisters.
Really, the only "WMD" that deserve the name are nukes, smallpox, and a handful of other biological agents.posted by: EH on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
Charlie (Colorado) has got it right.
It has something to do with those wide open spaces. A big sky expands your thinking, as I was reminded on a recent two-day drive through the heartland. Sometimes the ocean can do that for us New Englanders. But, of course, Leahy's Vermont is landlocked. Maybe that's his problem.posted by: Siss on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
How does citing Ron Jr weaken any argument? Because he's partisan?
And just beacuse Dick's political style is an acquired taste doesn't make it right? One could say the same thing about any asshole.posted by: Zach on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
Cheney's use of the word "f*ck" is an actual issue? Who f*cking cares? Grow up, everyone. Leahy should have faked a heart attack in response - and should do so whenever he meets with Cheney.
A much bigger issue is the constant use of the phrase "f-bomb" to mean "f*ck". What precisely was wrong with "f-word"? "F-bomb" encodes some six year-old's analysis in it; it demonstrates how cool or badass the user is because he dropped a bomb on the other guy. If you're an adult and you use words like "f-bomb," then you never learned to swear properly. That by itself should be enough to destroy your credibility and prevent you from commenting on the issues of the day.
"F-bomb"? F*ck that.posted by: SomeCallMeTim on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
Your party has been calling Republicans "racistsexisthomophobebigotcrookswhosellouttheircountryformoney" for so long you've apparently forgotten about it.
Your party's idea of political debate has long been to challenge the integrity & decency of those who disagree with you.
For Leahy to expect Cheney to play "nice-nice", Cheney would have to buy into the B.S. that Democrats can say all that crappola & Republicans can't conduct themselves as if the Democrats mean it.
Here's a suggestion for you - debate policy without the invective for a change. Defend your policies on the basis of "they work" instead of calling those who disagree "heartless greedy SOB's on the take from big business".
In short - if you want to have a civil debate on policy, drop the constant accusations that everyone on the other side is a crook.
But it'll never happen.posted by: BradDad on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
The path of "civil" debate:
1. I am right, you are wrong.
2. I ignore the weaknesses of my position and highlight the weaknesses of yours.
3. I highlight the strengths of my position and attack the strengths of yours.
4. If I am losing then see rule no. 1. and you are liar besides.
5. If I am still losing then rules 1 and 4 apply; and I am a victim besides.
6. If I am still losing then you are a fascist, communist, etc. thereby naming the victimizer.
7. Still losing, I fall into a fit of denial and cognitive dissonance, attack the others patriotism, or hint at his unsavory sexual proclivities.
8. I have slipped into full denial and the only thing I can "argue" is one-liners and bumper sticker propaganda. It is true because I say so or agree with it.
9. I am completely divorced from fact and relevance.
10. Ah, Blessed ignorance and self-righteousness I have arrived.
Of course adherents sometimes take different steps in their path of civil debate.
posted by: j swift on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
Ron's a shifty-eyed lightweight with a heavy agenda.
Re Dick Cheney's style as an acquired taste, it's the underlying aged-in-wood substance that gives it that richly rewarding flavor.posted by: Sissy Willis on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
Don't you find it a little hard to swallow that if Howard Stern had been broadcasting Dick Cheney, Stern would have been fined another zillion dollars?posted by: Andrew J. Lazarus on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
To Charlie and the other "straight-talking" westerners:
So, your view is that Cheney is a real man, unlike those eastern dandies who hide behind lawyers and fancy talk? Are you serious?
Can you imagine Ronald Reagan going up to Tip O'Neill in front of a large gathering of House leaders and telling O'Neill to go fuck himself? No, you can't. Why? Is it because RWR was a great big sissy? I'm guessing the answer there is no. Maybe it's because his animating spirit was fundamentally optimistic. Cheney's is bilious.posted by: TedL on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
To the much earlier comment that Ron Reagan "has it in" for the Bush administration, and so is not a reliable observer:
If you have any scrap of reasoning power left (not to mention any residual scrap of decency), you have it in (of necessity) for the destructive incompetents who presently run the country. YOU'RE the unreliable observer!posted by: Aaron Baker on 06.27.04 at 11:53 AM [permalink]
Post a Comment: