Left Plays 'Blame Dick Cheney' Game

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Dick Cheney is a bugbear to the left. As such, he serves as a frequent scapegoat for liberals when something goes awry, the first part of a mad lib that might read: "Dick Cheney is to blame for [insert catastrophe here]."

There are events for which Cheney does deserve credit--or blame. He helped create the country's torture policy, championed Guantanamo Bay and the Iraq War, and pushed the limits of the executive branch. Pundits have wondered if Liz Cheney's work with Keep America Safe was in fact designed to change her father's legacy.

But in their zeal to portray Cheney as Darth Vader (as Jon Stewart so often does), the left has sometimes turned blaming Cheney into a game of its own. In articles about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the attempted bombing in Times Square, the former vice president is blamed for the incident in the story's first sentence.

  • Cheney Caused the Spill, Kind Of  Though he says the spill's real culprit hasn't been proven, Salon's Alex Pareene says half-jokingly, "for now, let's hold Dick Cheney personally responsible for the whole thing." Citing reports that Cheney blocked approval of shut-off switches for oil rigs, Pareene gleefully savages the former vice president. "The spill will very likely destroy the fragile economies of at least five states and it could even plunge the nation back into a recession. So thanks, Dick. Nice work."
  • Cheney Proven Wrong in Times Square  At Slate, Fred Kaplan's first takeaway from the attempted bombing is a broadside against Cheney. "First, the event further discredits the Dick Cheney-Newt Gingrich view of terrorism—that it's 'an act of war' and that, therefore, fighting it as if it were a 'criminal act' is foolhardy," he intones.
  • Newser's Cheney-Bashing Day  Both above stories were eagerly picked up by Newser, which blasted Cheney in back-to-back aggregation articles. "The scope of the Gulf oil spill is far from clear, but the finger-pointing is already under way, and a lot of fingers ought to be aiming at Dick Cheney, Alex Pareene blogs for Salon," begins M. Morris. Not to be outdone, Kevin Spak leads off his story with: "The foiled Times Square bombing proves yet again that Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, and the other conservatives who argue that terrorism is “an act of war” that can't be treated like a normal crime are dead wrong, writes Fred Kaplan for Slate."

Did Dick Cheney really set loose the wildlife-killing oil spill and get terrorism 100 percent wrong? We'll leave it all to history.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.