QUOTE OF THE DAY…. Former Vice President Dick Cheney was in rare form yesterday, appearing on CNN and repeating a variety of foolish and false talking points. Reporters asked White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs today if he had any response to Cheney’s comments. Gibbs said:

“I guess Rush Limbaugh was busy. So they trotted out the next most popular member of the Republican cabal.”

Given Cheney’s dishonest demagoguery yesterday, Gibbs’ hard-hitting response seems entirely appropriate.

But that probably won’t stop news outlets from jumping all over this. Matt Yglesias noted that ABC News’ Rick Klein, for example, was taken aback by Gibbs’ comment:

Wow — we’re talking about the former vice president here.”

In context, I suspect Klein meant that Cheney, as a man of alleged stature, deserves more deference from the White House press secretary. But if that’s what Klein meant, I suspect he has the problem backwards.

We are talking about the former vice president here, which is exactly why the real outrage isn’t Robert Gibbs being mean to him, it’s Dick Cheney’s decision to deceive a national television audience with absurd attacks and ridiculous claims. Klein is offended by Gibbs’ sarcasm when he should be offended by Cheney’s mendacity.

I suppose the argument is that Cheney was a national figure who deserves respect by virtue of his former office. I’d note, though, that we’re talking about a man who, at a friendly gathering on the Senate floor, told a respected Democratic senator, “Go f*** yourself,” and instead of apologizing, bragged about how pleased he was with himself.

Do Cheney’s political allies really want to get into a discussion about respect?

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.