Is he off in a private little world all his own, surrounded by aides who don’t dare tell him that he believes things that are not true? Is he mentally unbalanced? Or is he too old for the job?
No, no, and no. Cheney may be a true believer who allows himself to ignore evidence he doesn’t like, but he’s not stupid, he’s not unhinged, and he’s not very old. It is a grave mistake to think otherwise.
What he is is a vice president. And a smart politician. And he knows perfectly well that most people pay only vague attention to the news reports they hear and pay no attention at all to the followups from serious reporters. Millions of people turned on the radio and heard Cheney say that we’ve found both WMD and al-Qaeda links, but only thousands read the LA Times and discovered that he’s pretty much the only person who thinks so.
Net result: millions more people believe the WMD and al-Qaeda fantasies. Cheney’s boss, of course, will never say anything this direct ? even though he had a chance just three days ago ? and if this heats up the White House will simply issue a low-key “explanation” of Cheney’s remarks that will be published on page 23 of most major metro dailies.
This is a very smart, very deliberate strategy. Don’t ever believe otherwise.