William Kristol in The New York Times (my comments in red):
[C]onsider this exchange with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday”:
WALLACE: Did you really tell Senator Leahy, bleep yourself? (I wonder if Wallace really said “bleep” or if his question was bleeped.)
CHENEY: I did.
WALLACE: Any qualms, or second thoughts, or embarrassment? (Really – this is what you’re asking him if he has had second thoughts about – not torture? not his pushing of domestic wiretapping so radical it almost forced the entire top levels of law enforcement to resign in protest before Bush intervened? this?)
CHENEY: No, I thought he merited it at the time. (Laughter.) And we’ve since, I think, patched over that wound and we’re civil to one another now.
No spin. No doubletalk. (I’ll grant Kristol this. This exchange seems franks, even if Cheney was known as someone who could manipulate and spin with the best of them – just ask Dick Armey who still regrets that Cheney convinced him to support the Iraq war.) A cogent defense of his action — and one that shows a well-considered sense of justice. (“I thought he merited it.”) (WTF? How does this exchange demonstrate that Cheney has a “well-considered sense of justice” – because he thought that guy deserved it? Please! Kids use that as their justification – and now Kristol is trying to make Cheney’s “I thought he deserved to be told to fuck himsel” into some koan-like mastery of justice! This is worse than spin by Kristol – it’s just plain silly.) Indeed, if justice is seeking to give each his due, one might say that Dick Cheney aspires to being a just man. And a thoughtful one, because he knows that justice is sometimes too harsh, and should be tempered by civility. (This whole conversation is about how Cheney told Patrick Leahy to “Go fuck himself” on the floor of the Senate. I can accept that Cheney might think Leahy deserved it. But to say that it proves Cheney aspires to be a just man? And a thoughtful one??!? And that justice must be tempered by civility. It’s like Kristol is talking about an entirely different incident and the facts are mere props that sometimes get in the way. Kristol’s editor shouldn’t publish this bullshit. He should tell him to – in the words of our Vice President – go fuck himself. Because Kristol deserves it.)