It’s never a good sign when Dick Cheney shows up on your doorstep.

So it must have sent a few shivers down the back when the sinister former vice president arrived at the House Republican Caucus meeting yesterday to urge members to find a way to avoid the sequestration of defense funds that is set to occur at the beginning of next year.

It seems the Military Industrial Complex decided to bring out its very biggest gun to remind GOP lawmakers that Republicans never, ever cut defense spending, even if (a) they’ve spent the last three-and-a-half years shrieking about the imminent collapse of Western Civilization attributable to runaway federal spending, and (b) the sequestration device (as Steve Benen has been reminding folks) was their idea to begin with.

I don’t know what sort of dirt Cheney might have on key Republican House members, or whether he was brandishing a list of campaign contributions from the defense industry, but I suspect his mere appearance–accompanied, I imagine, by the distinct smell of brimstone–was chilling enough to make an impression.

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.