We're All Cheneyites Now

Article excerpt

Byline: Zev Chafets

The dark lord of American politics has a new book out, fiercely defending his Legacy. Lay down your arms, dick. You won the fight.

On the Fourth of July, Dick Cheney surprised his friends and neighbors in Jackson, Wyo., by coming downtown for the parade, an annual procession featuring a rollerblading moose and a wagon of farmers tossing raw corn--the Wyoming equivalent of Mardi Gras beads--into the crowd. Cheney didn't stay long and he didn't say much. Mostly he chatted with folks about fishing (the water's too damn high this year) and posed for a few pictures. But it was enough to reassure people that the former vice president, who had been rarely spotted during a year that combined recuperation from radical heart surgery with the burden of producing a lengthy memoir, was still on the scene.

This week, his book, In My Time, is scheduled to arrive in bookstores. Simon & Schuster paid Cheney a multimillion-dollar advance, and recouping it means mounting the kind of intensive marketing effort that would tax the energy of a much younger, healthier author. But much more than money is involved. After 40 years in the contentious center ring of American politics, this is Cheney's last rodeo.

When he signed the deal in 2009, he was in bunker mentality--an embattled ideologue gearing up to defend a deeply unpopular terrorism policy under constant attack from the left. As his tome arrives in bookstores at summer's end, the battlefield has changed dramatically. His defense brief lands after the court of public opinion has ruled--in his favor. President Obama has largely adopted the Cheney playbook on combating terrorism, from keeping Gitmo open to trying suspected enemies of the state in military tribunals. Obama's drone war, which has quadrupled the number of attacks in the past two years, reflects Cheney's whatever-it-takes approach. The leftist wrath once trained on Bush's veep is aimed at the Democratic incumbent these days. …