Diminishing the OVP

DIMINISHING THE OVP…. Fox News’ Chris Wallace asked Dick Cheney to respond to some of the criticism Joe Biden had directed at the vice president over the course of the presidential campaign. After mocking Biden for having referring to Article I during a debate, instead of Article II, Cheney shrugged off Biden’s disapproval in a pointed way.

“…I think I’d write that off as campaign rhetoric. I don’t take it seriously and if he wants to diminish the office of the vice president, that’s obviously his call.”

Yes, Dick Cheney believes someone else may tarnish and cheapen the OVP. Right.

Cheney also seemed to mock Biden for having less power and influence in the future than he’s had over the last eight years.

“I think that President-elect Obama will decide what he wants in a vice president and apparently from the way they’re talking about it, he does not expect him to have as consequential a role as I have had during my time,” Cheney said.

That’s true, but Cheney is rephrasing reality to make it sound insulting. Both Obama and Biden have said publicly that Cheney took on the role of co-president, and that it’s time to restore some institutional and constitutional normalcy to the office. Cheney, for example, began every day with his own intelligence briefing, and then insisted that he sit in on the president’s. It was Cheney who was the last person the president saw before making an important decision. And it was Cheney who not only picked Bush’s cabinet and Supreme Court nominees, but who also established his own “shadow government” within the Bush administration.

Cheney believes Biden will be less “consequential” in the OVP. We should be so lucky.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.