MOTIVATIONS…. Dick Cheney stuck up for Rush Limbaugh yesterday, so Rush Limbaugh stuck up for Dick Cheney today. From Mark Halperin’s transcription of Limbaugh’s radio show:

“What motivates Dick Cheney? He doesn’t need the money. He has no further political ambitions. He is not hot for interns. He is not a torture freak. He knows that he is toxic and despised by the drive-by media and the Democrat party and the left in this country.

“What motivation does Dick Cheney have to go out and say these things? Is it possible that Dick Cheney is motivated by national interest? Is it possible that Dick Cheney is motivated by love of and for his country? Is it possible that Dick Cheney is speaking from his heart and is not speaking politically?”

Is that a rhetorical question?

Honestly, I haven’t the foggiest idea what motivates Cheney. I didn’t understand his motivations while he was in office, and I understand them even less now. I could hazard a guess — he’s bitter about being perceived as a national joke, viewed by most Americans as a Vader-like malevolent political force, so he’s lashing out at Obama now as angry partisan — but I’m not in a position to say for sure.

But the question itself seems rather pointless. Limbaugh wants Americans to consider the notion that Dick Cheney is sincere, and his desire to undermine the president is driven entirely by his concern for the nation.

I find that pretty hard to believe — if Cheney’s sole concern was “national interest,” he wouldn’t have governed as he did — but it really doesn’t matter. Cheney’s motivations are irrelevant. Whether he’s sincere or putting on a partisan show doesn’t change the fact that Cheney’s completely wrong.

Limbaugh wants us to think Cheney is speaking “from his heart”? What difference does it make? Cheney’s wrong about torture, wrong about the rule of law, wrong about national security, and wrong about the economy. He’s been wrong about just about every important policy question of the last decade.

Whether Cheney believes what he’s saying is of no consequence.

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.