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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Dec. 17, 2009 / 30 Kislev 5770

Cheney's abuse of freedom of speech

By Michael Smerconish



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I used to hold Dick Cheney in high regard. I met him 25 years ago when I was part of the Washington Semester program at American University in Washington. Class often consisted of meeting with members of Congress and government representatives — usually informally in their offices.

Of the many outstanding interactions, one was truly exceptional. I can still picture the obscure sole member of Congress from Wyoming — who at age 34 had been President Gerald Ford's chief of staff — perched at his desk with his cowboy boots in full view, lecturing to a small group of us about the world.

Cheney was impressive in his remarks and gracious with his time. Since that day, I've maintained respect for the man who has served his country for the better part of four decades as White House staffer, congressman, secretary of defense, and vice president. Even when disagreeing with him, I've abhorred the Darth Vader image favored by some.

Now he's losing me. By using a 90-minute interview with Politico to pre-emptively criticize President Obama's decision-making process regarding Afghanistan, Cheney sought to undermine the commander in chief the night before the most important foreign-policy announcement of his young presidency.

That the former vice president said Obama was projecting "weakness" was bad. Worse was when he suggested that Obama was "far more radical" than expected on some foreign-policy and national-security issues, which was wholly over the line.

It is not always Cheney's message with which I disagree. I happen to concur with his defense earlier this year of harsh interrogation methods. My objection is to the messenger and the timing. Whatever he says carries the imprimatur of the office he once held, and speaking up at critical junctures undercuts the president before his policies can take hold.

It also places Cheney at the wrong end of the spectrum among an important constituency: the fraternity of retired White House occupants, including the man he served alongside for eight years.


Letter from JWR publisher


While Cheney's disapproval has been almost constant, George W. Bush has remained true to the words he spoke during his first post-presidency speech last March: "I'm not going to spend my time criticizing (Obama). There are plenty of critics in the arena. He deserves my silence." And indeed, aside from a few faint jabs during a June speech in Erie, Pa., the only "arena" Bush has entered involved throwing the first pitch for the Texas Rangers and participating in the coin toss for the Dallas Cowboys.

That approach is more in keeping with American tradition, according to presidential historian and author H.W. Brands. In June, Brands was one of nine prominent American historians — others included Michael Beschloss, Doris Kearns Goodwin and Douglas Brinkley — to attend a White House dinner where Obama sought historical perspective on the office he now holds.

During a phone conversation last week, Brands told me: "Generally speaking, retired presidents stay out of day-to-day politics. They give speeches sometimes, but the speeches usually don't touch on current controversies. There's been a feeling that retired presidents form a very exclusive club, and they know the responsibilities of the office. They can remember what it was like when they were in office and the last thing they needed was one of their predecessors taking pot shots at them."

That's not to say that former presidents and vice presidents have never criticized their successors. George W. Bush himself endured plenty of disapproval from Democratic former commanders in chief, especially Jimmy Carter, who once called W's presidency the "worst in history."

But that comment came in May 2007, deep into Bush's second term, months after the Iraq surge had been announced, and more than a quarter century since Carter held office. It wasn't right. But the degree and circumstance were different than Cheney's most recent outburst. Indeed, slinging such high-profile criticism on the eve of such a significant national-security speech, Brands told me, is "pretty much unprecedented."

"I can't think of anything close to this," he said. "Generally speaking, people who have held the highest offices in the land, president and vice president, have sufficient respect for what their successors have to do, and how the actions of any president impact on national security, that they're usually quite loathe to make anything like a partisan issue of big national-security policies."

And unlike many of his vice-presidential predecessors, Cheney is at this point beyond the realm of future political ambition, Brands noted.

"I think it's important to note that we're really talking here about good or poor taste. There's nothing obviously in the Constitution or American law that says a retired president or vice president can't speak his mind. This is in the tradition of American freedom of speech," he said. "The question is whether it's in good taste, whether prudentially they ought to exercise that right."

Time and a place, my parents often said. Time and a place.

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Previously:

11/26/09 The true cost of freedom from anxiety 10/27/09 If GOP wants to win in 2012, it must reshape its primary process
10/08/09 It's time to get smarter on extended school day
09/03/09 What a summer of eulogizing flawed public figures reveals about society
08/12/09 It's time for cyclists and motorists to reconcile
08/05/09 Faces have changed, but vitriol remains
06/25/09 Fair comment or foul? Warm up the Muzzle Meter
06/08/09 Believability is key in crime-hoax villains
05/14/09 Did Hollywood inspire the meltdown men?
04/20/09 Let's give killers their due: Anonymity
03/12/09 Uninsured who can't afford medical care lose a lot more
02/06/09 My debate with Musharraf on hunt for bin Laden
01/29/09 Torture must remain an option
01/15/09 Making a case for suing Madoff
12/22/08 A difficult but rational chat about ‘plans’
12/17/08 Facebook epidemic: More than 120 million have joined, many too old for this nonsense
12/01/08 The high price of downsizing the news biz
11/14/08 Prescience on greed, arrogance of a system
09/29/08 Closer look at party lines
08/26/08 Obama's pick creates GOP opportunity
08/21/08 Fishing with the Angry Everyman
07/31/08 The perils of e-mail: Ponder, then click
05/22/08 Two very different sides of the Internet
02/12/08 Sublimely ridiculous suits
11/28/08 Cell phones cut out secondary circle of kinship
09/26/07 What do we owe those who have died in Iraq?
08/30/07 A Navy SEAL's gut-wrenching tale of survival
07/30/07 First it was a faux pas, now it's a new word


© 2008, The Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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