Liz Cheney went on Fox and Friends on Tuesday to criticize House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, after Pelosi had the gall to suggest that Dick Cheney is proud of the Bush administration's torture program. Which he is.
Cheney's return to the welcoming arms of Fox News comes several months after her contract with the network was terminated because she planned on running for Senate in Wyoming. That Senate race went poorly, so now Cheney is back on the air, taking on targets that, unlike Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi, Republicans like worse than Liz Cheney.
Pelosi criticized Cheney on Sunday for being the originator of the torture program in philosophy if not practice, claiming that Cheney was proud of that role. This isn't terribly controversial; during a speech last week the former vice president said he would do it again. Liz Cheney's point on Fox and Friends was simple: Pelosi forgot that she was briefed on the "enhanced interrogation" program. "I have to say that when I heard those comments yesterday," Cheney said, "I was reminded of something that Margaret Thatcher once said about one of her political opponents: Mrs. Pelosi's problem is that her spine doesn't reach her brain."
A good dis, but a weird argument. In 2009, FactCheck reviewed the question of whether or not Pelosi knew about the CIA programs, determining that she did. But that's pretty far from authorizing the program in the first place. Cheney (both father and daughter) seems to have difficulty deciding if she wants to defend or criticize what happened. She reiterated the all-but-debunked argument that the torture programs helped save lives, and then criticizes Pelosi for trying "to cast blame" and "say things that aren't true about those brave men and women" of the CIA. Which is it? Is there blame to be had? Was it good? Bad? It's not clear what Cheney thinks besides this: Dick Cheney is a hero.
Fox host Brian Kilmeade backed Cheney up, saying that critics of the program hadn't "met any al Qaeda operatives" and were criticizing people who had "got the OK from everybody before [they] went ahead and did it." Which, according to a Reuters report, is not exactly the order in which the torture happened.
Kilmeade then played a clip of Maine Sen. Angus King similarly criticizing the waterboarding program. Cheney simplified the complex question. If you oppose waterboarding as King does, she said, you have "got to be willing to accept the consequences of [that] argument, which is to say: Which attacks would you have let happen or which Americans would you have let die?" It's a classic Cheney choice: Please pick between what the Bush administration did and killing Americans. Kilmeade agreed. "If their relatives in the line of fire," he said, "let's see how they would feel, if their hearts would go out to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed," the 9/11 plotter that the CIA waterboarded so often that he would count off the length of the torture on his fingers.
Now that Liz Cheney has so much free time on her hands, we can expect to see her on Fox News more often, sharing her unique perspective on how great Dick Cheney was.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.