Dick Cheney chatted with Rush Limbaugh this week, and wouldn’t you know it, the disgraced former vice president has decided that deficits matter after all.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney was “embarrassed” when the U.S. credit rating was downgraded in August, and he hopes that the development will compel lawmakers to continue to work to address the deficit. […]

“Now, these last few months have been pretty messy,” said Cheney. “I think like a lot of people I was embarrassed when they lowered our credit rating from AAA to AA. I literally felt embarrassed for my country.”

“But I also think that the fact that we’ve gotten to this point where we are faced with a crisis in terms of the debt problem, that that’s going to give those of us who want to address that issue and fix it the leverage that we haven’t had up until now, in terms of insisting on the kinds of policies that will be painful, but in the long run are necessary if we’re going to restore full faith and credit in the United States government.”

Oh, I see. Now he’s concerned about “the debt problem.” Remember that guy who declared “deficits don’t matter“? That was the old Dick Cheney. The new Dick Cheney wants President Obama to act faster to clean up the mess he and George W. Bush left behind.

For lack of a better word, this is … funny. Cheney pushed massive tax breaks for the wealthy, and didn’t even try to pay for them. He pushed for multiple wars, and didn’t even try to pay for them, either. He supported Medicare expansion and No Child Left Behind, and like the rest of his agenda, Cheney just threw the costs onto the national credit card, running up a bill for some future president to pay.

But now he’s worried about the deficit.

Let’s note a few details that Dick Cheney may not be aware of. For example, Cheney inherited a large surplus and turned it into a massive deficit. Cheney took a budget that was on track to eliminate the national debt altogether and instead added nearly $5 trillion to it in just eight years. The day Barack Obama took the oath of office, he found a $1.3 trillion deficit sitting on his desk — a little gift from Cheney and his team.

Maybe someone can explain this chart to Cheney.

This one, too.

If Cheney wants to express a degree of shame for his role in creating this fiscal fiasco, I imagine some Americans would be gracious in accepting his apology. But if he’s not prepared to accept responsibility, maybe he should enjoy a little quiet time rather than whining to Rush Limbaugh about “the debt problem” he created.

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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.