Could I see a show of hands, please?
Who else out there feels Dick Cheney should just shut up?
I've grown tired of hearing the former vice president constantly criticizing the current administration. The curtain has fallen on his days in public office, and he should quietly take his exit — stage right, of course.
Oh, I know there are those who would like to draft him to run for the Republican nomination for president in 2012, but why should he do that? Hasn’t he already been president for two consecutive terms?
Still, he obviously likes the attention and has taken on the duty of being the opposition pit bull when it comes to attacking President Barack Obama, particularly on issues surrounding the fight against terrorists.
In October, as the president pondered a new strategy and troop levels for the war in Afghanistan, Cheney accused Obama of being "afraid to make a decision" and procrastinating to the point of failing our commanders in the war zone.
"It's time for President Obama to make good on his promise," Cheney said. "The White House must stop dithering while America's armed forces are in danger." One question: Who helped put American forces in danger to begin with?
This country could have used a little "dithering" before Cheney and Co. decided bull-headedly to go into Iraq while taking its eyes off the ball in Afghanistan.
Just before Obama announced the new strategy, his nemesis struck again, suggesting that the president was exhibiting weakness to our enemies.
"I begin to get nervous when I see the commander in chief making decisions apparently for what I would describe as small 'p' political reasons, where he's trying to balance off different competing groups in society," Cheney told Politico.com.
"Here's a guy without much experience, who campaigned against much of what we put in place . . . and who now travels around the world apologizing. I think our adversaries — especially when that's preceded by a deep bow . . . — see that as a weakness."
It's pretty obvious that the former vice president prefers the old gun-slinging, "Bring 'em on" cowboy approach in dealing with those who would do us harm, but he still doesn't understand that tough talk and bad, hasty decisions can do more harm than good.
Then comes the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a plane bound for Detroit, and Cheney again found fault with the president's measured response to that act of terrorism.
"As I've watched the events over the last few days, it is clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war," Cheney said. "He seems to think that if he has a low-key response to blow up an airliner and kill hundreds of people, we won't be at war. He seems to think if he gives terrorists the rights of Americans, lets them lawyer up and reads them their Miranda rights, we won't be at war. He seems to think if we bring the mastermind of Sept. 11 to New York, give him a lawyer and trial in civilian court, we won't be at war."
Cheney seems to think if he says it often enough, the world will come to believe that our current president is a weakling who cowers in the face of difficult decisions. In fact, Obama has shown he is capable of making tough decisions on the domestic and foreign fronts in spite of criticism from across the political spectrum.
What this president also has shown in the fight against terrorism is that he has been able to enlist the aid of other allies, including the government of Yemen, where the latest airliner plot was hatched. Even as Cheney was making some of his outrageous statements, this country was working with Yemen and other nations in fighting to thwart other attacks planned against westerners in the Yemeni capital.
Other people summed up well what I feel about Cheney's continuous blather.
Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, said on CNN on Sunday, "I hate to say this, but I think the former vice president lost all of his credibility, the way he's been conducting himself. I would expect a person who had the potential of leading this country to be a bit more responsible."
John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, was similarly to the point on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday.
"I'm very disappointed in the vice president's comments," he said. "Either the vice president is willfully mischaracterizing this president's position — both in terms of language he uses and the actions he's taken — or he's ignorant of the fact. In either case, it doesn't speak well of what the vice president is doing."
Cheney needs to go back to the ranch and quietly ride into the sunset.