An oddly appropriate choice

AN ODDLY APPROPRIATE CHOICE…. Human Events, a relatively prominent right-wing magazine, selects a “Conservative of the Year” ever December. In its new issue, the publication extends the honor to former Vice President Dick Cheney. The article that accompanies the award was written by none other than John Bolton, the man Bush/Cheney tapped to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

It’s a strikingly silly piece, characterizing Cheney as a powerful political force, striking fear in the hearts of the president, his team, the media, and the political establishment. Bolton characterizes the failed former V.P. as a champion of all that is good and right — you know, stuff like torture — which has made Cheney the victim of mean Democrats and journalists, who’ve made “assaults on his character, his judgment and his performance in office.”

Cheney’s quiet, inner-directed motivation is simply impervious to the attacks orchestrated against him by the Chicago machine-style politicians at the White House, a fact also plainly visible to his fellow citizens. And it is yet another important reason to have confidence that Cheney’s solid policy analysis will yet prevail in the national political arena. Of course he is the conservative of the year!

The same piece, by the way, insists that Cheney may be reviled by the insider types, but outside of D.C., Americans appreciate the former vice president’s background as “a very experienced, very dedicated patriot.” (There’s ample evidence to the contrary.)

The article ran in print, which made it difficult for Bolton to dot the i’s with little hearts.

But stepping back from this reality-bending love letter, it’s worth noting the larger context — the fact that the “Conservative of the Year” is a wildly unpopular, almost clownish former vice president, who pops up on Hannity and Limbaugh from time to time, does not speak well of the state of conservative/Republican politics.

Cheney, after all, failed spectacularly in government. Cheney’s attempts at governing were humiliating for him personally, and nearly catastrophic for the rest of us. If he’s the nation’s leading conservative voice, Democrats are delighted.

After the painful embarrassment of the Bush/Cheney era, Republicans would presumably want a new direction, and perhaps a new crop of leaders to step. Instead, 13 months after the electorate strongly rejected Cheney’s way for a new, more progressive, direction, the appalling former V.P. is still considered the nation’s leading far-right voice.

Way back in March, even congressional Republicans weren’t afraid to say publicly that they really wanted Dick Cheney to just go away. Human Events, nine months later, proudly disagrees. I suspect the DNC is delighted.