How Cheney Rolls

From an interview on GMA, posted at

Raddatz: “Two-thirds of Americans say [the Iraq war’s] not worth fighting.”

Dick Cheney, smiling: “So?”

Raddatz: “So? You don’t care what the American people think?”

Cheney: “No. I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public-opinion polls.”

This is how a politician talks when he doesn’t care about re-election. And I have to admit that I admire that somewhat, even though a lot of people say he’s kind of the Duck of Darkness–not the prince, you understand; that job’s taken. But I wish we got that kind of candor out of more politicians.

What’s more, he’s right. We don’t elect or pay a president to do whatever the public wants. Contra every talking head from here to Timbuktu, that’s democracy. But we do not live in a democracy, do we? We should be electing our leaders to exercise wisdom and judgment. (Not that that happens very often.) Not for their ability to remain in office by riding the waves of public opinion.

Instead, we continue to elect folks who will change sides to stay in office. Who have made flip-flopping an art form. Who don’t have actual opinions that aren’t tied to polls.


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