Republicans "Wince." They're "queasy. Cheney's "unhelpful." And, his biggest defended, Mary Matalin, says it's Presdient Obama's fault that Cheney had to attack him. No. Really.
From The WaPo:
Cheney entered the arena this winter in a politically weak position after that election. His personal favorability ratings were and are still low. A Gallup poll in late March found that 30 percent of respondents gave him a favorable rating, while 63 percent rated him unfavorably.
That is why his high-profile defense of controversial Bush administration policies has caused queasiness among Republican political strategists. But Cheney remains powerful enough that most of his GOP critics are not willing to take him on in public. "The fact that most people want to talk [without attribution] shows what a problem it continues to be," said one Republican strategist who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to be candid. "Cheney continues to be a force among many members of our base, and while he is entirely unhelpful, no one has the standing to show him the door."
Since leaving the White House in January, Cheney has accused Obama of making the country less safe, disagreed with orders to close the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, defended the Bush administration's harsh interrogation techniques and called for a public airing of classified information on the controversial program. On Sunday, he said he would pick Rush Limbaugh over former secretary of state Colin L. Powell as a model for the Republican Party and virtually wrote his onetime colleague out of the GOP.
Rarely has an official from one administration moved so quickly and aggressively to criticize a new president. Most vice presidents in the past century have sought the White House as presidential candidates, putting themselves before the country and accepting the judgment of the voters. Those who were defeated went quietly to the sidelines, at least for some time.
How do Dems feel about Darth's sudden spotlight fetish?
Mary Matalin, who was a spokeswoman for Cheney during the early years of the Bush presidency, believes her former boss is motivated mainly by his principles. Had Obama not moved so precipitously to undo the Bush policies about which he feels so strongly, she believes, Cheney would have held his fire.
"If Barack Obama had come in and done what he said he was going to do and look at the stuff and see what is working, then Cheney would have continued to do what he was doing -- working on memoirs, finishing his house," she said. "He's got a good life. He's got stuff going on. He doesn't care about being on TV. There's no more politics there. He's not settling any scores. He just wants people to understand."
"He's perfectly entitled to make his case, and given that Dick Cheney is as popular as Britney Spears at a Sunday school teacher convention, we hope he continues to be the face of the Republican Party," said Hari Sevugan, national press secretary for the Democratic National Committee. "His continued presence reminds people that the GOP is unwilling to put forward new ideas or leadership, and so long as he continues to be the voice of the Republican cause, he ensures that the Republican Party will remain the party of the past."
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