Only Dick Cheney could make Spiro Agnew look better.
Never have fewer letters signified the arrogance of power and disconnection from reality more vividly than this reply from U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. He was responding last week to the statement from ABC News’s Martha Raddatz that two-thirds of Americans believe the war in Iraq is not worth it, according to recent polls.
It is a war that has cost hundreds of billions of dollars, destroyed the lives of countless Iraqis, inflamed an already unstable region, sent America’s reputation to a new low around the world, and, most importantly, cost the lives of 4,000 American heroes and left tens of thousands badly injured. Mr. Cheney’s role as an architect of the war is well established. What he has managed to conceal to date is his utter disdain for the American people. This was exposed fully last week in that single-syllable response to a legitimate public concern. This one word from his own lips sums up the man better than entire books will do in the future.
There have been storied figures in American history who have occupied the office of vice president, beginning with John Adams. One can also remember characters from another unpopular war involving a different administration. But not even Richard Nixon’s corrupt vice president, Spiro T. Agnew, displayed such contempt for public opinion as his present day successor.
It takes quite a talent to make Spiro Agnew look better. He may be one of 46 vice presidents to have held the office, but as to the discredit and destruction he has wrought, Richard B. Cheney is in a class by himself.