I expected cheap shots and lies from liberals and they unloaded bundles in Vice, their movie about me. Right away they gleefully recalled I had a couple of drunk driving arrests as a young man and dropped out of Yale to repair power lines and almost got dumped by my fiancée, Lynne. At least they were right I promised her I’d shape up and did, and you’d think the moviemakers would appreciate that from distant Wyoming I soon worked my way into the halls of Washington, D.C. power, aiding Donald Rumsfeld, then a congressman.
I assure you I didn’t have horns or a tail and neither did Rumsfeld or Henry Kissinger or President Nixon or his media consultant Roger Ailes. They were already men of great accomplishment and I was thankful to observe and emulate. I made myself indispensable and therefore ready when Nixon resigned and Rumsfeld became President Ford’s chief of staff, and I gained more influence, and then Rumsfeld took over the Department of Defense and I became the youngest presidential chief of staff.
The movie might have been okay, for a leftie hit job, if the hotshots had been able to decide whether they were making a drama, a satire, a comedy, or delivering a sermon. They did all those things, shuffling the deck and undercutting any narrative momentum they might otherwise have had. I should’ve stopped the video when they essentially accused Lynne’s father of drowning her mother. That was despicable.
They presented their next holy theme as the unitary executive theory whereby the president must have absolute power especially in times of war. I suppose the cinematic wizards have forgotten that Lyndon Johnson manufactured the conditions he needed to escalate the war in Viet Nam. Nixon did the same. Don’t fear presidential authority, especially in times of war. Be thankful for decisive leaders like Franklin Roosevelt who yearned for and got wars in Europe and Asia.
On screen we moved to 1978 as I became the lone congressman from Wyoming and had my first heart attack, an event that’s hardly portrayed with empathy. I served in Congress ten years and during this period the Koch brothers funded conservative think tanks. Damn right. You think the other side wasn’t financing theirs. Not long after Ronald Reagan was elected, I had another humorous heart attack, and later, after George Bush had become president, we met his drunken son, W, as he stumbled into a gathering. Soon the movie gloated that my daughter, Mary, was gay. The great oil company Halliburton hired me to run it and I’m proud I did a hell of a job and made millions.
As George W. Bush prepared to run for president he invited me to his Texas ranch and asked me to be his vice president. I can’t accept, I said, it’s a lousy job, but I’ll help you search for the ideal candidate. Look at my resume. I was clearly the only man to help W win and, according to the moviemakers, all I needed was a different understanding that would enable me to oversee bureaucracy, the military, energy, and foreign policy. Do you think any presidential nominee would accept that? Don’t worry about things getting too serious or political. I had another entertaining heart attack. And on December twelfth, 2000 the Supreme Court stopped the recount in Florida and I became Vice President Dick Cheney.
Remember, I had run the Department of Defense during Operation Desert Storm and organized a massive military campaign and also learned it was disastrous the elder President Bush let Saddam Hussein keep power in Iraq. Young President Bush agreed about that all along and so did oil company CEOs, as the movie tremulously notes. After 9/11 we rapidly crushed the Taliban and waterboarded any terrorist we wanted and put others in boxes and choke-chained others and let our dogs chew on them. We had this great momentum and now aimed it at the most wicked man in the world, Saddam, who had to be removed since somehow he’d schemed with his enemy Osama bin Laden and the Taliban in Afghanistan to incinerate three thousand Americans.
We got Great Britain’s Tony Blair on the war train and, look at that, even young Mike Pence and liberal Hillary Clinton who was as patriotic as anyone. She knew she had to be a hawk to win in this country. Colin Powell, the too-celebrated general from Desert Storm and now my secretary of state, reluctantly explained matters at the United Nations, and we went back into Iraq and started kicking asses. No, and I knew you were going to ask, I didn’t serve in Viet Nam. I got deferments. I had other priorities. But, I assure you, I knew a lot about war and felt empowered sending young soldiers into battle and killing several hundred thousand Iraqis. That’s what we had to do and I don’t care what you or anyone else thinks.
I am damn happy that when my heart ceased pumping enough oxygen to keep my vital organs alive I got a heart transplant but thought it was crude for moviemakers to show my big old heart on a table and the dead donor disrespecting me.
Notes: The preceding opinions are those of Dick Cheney and in no way reflect the views of this publication.