Former Vice-President Dick Cheney told a North Dakota radio audience this week that in his opinion it would be a mistake for the struggling Republican Party to change in any fundamental way, according to a report in Politico.
“I think it would be a mistake for us to moderate,” Cheney said. “This is about fundamental beliefs and values and ideas … what the role of government should be in our society, and our commitment to the Constitution and constitutional principles.
“You know, when you add all those things up, the idea that we ought to moderate basically means we ought to fundamentally change our philosophy. I for one am not prepared to do that, and I think most of us aren’t,” he added.
“Most Republicans have a pretty good idea of values, and aren’t eager to have someone come along and say, ‘Well, the only way you can win is if you start to act more like a Democrat,’” Cheney concluded.
Cheney covered a host of other subjects during the interview by host Scott Hennen, where he was for the most part defensive of the Bush administration and skeptical of some of the emerging policies of the administration of President Barack Obama.
On Prosecuting Lawyers for Terror Advice
“[T]alk about putting a wet blanket on anybody in government’s willingness to be bold in their recommendations, and so forth. Just forget that. Anybody who sees that kind of thing happen is going to pull their head in and they’ll be reluctant to take responsibility for anything. They’ll be reluctant to recommend the kind of actions that were necessary to defend the country over the last eight years.”
On Closing Guantanamo
“We were not a perfect administration – none ever is – but I think what we did in the counter-terrorist area was extremely effective. I think Obama needs to be careful because he appears to want to cancel out some of those most important policies. Then you get into this whole thing of closing Guantanamo and of course the bottom line there is ‘What are you going to do with all these terrorists that are in Guantanamo?’”
On the GOP Disposing of Dead Wood
“I think periodically we have to go through one these sessions. It helps clear away some of the underbrush ... some of the older folks who’ve been around a long time – like yours truly – need to move on and make room for that young talent that’s coming along.”
On Waterboarding as a ‘Last Resort’
“That assumes that we didn’t try other ways, and in fact we did. We resorted, for example, to waterboarding, which is the source of much of the controversy ... with only three individuals. In those cases, it was only after we’d gone through all the other steps of the process. The way the whole program was set up was very careful to use other methods and only to resort to the enhanced techniques in those special circumstances.”
On Air Force One Buzzing NYC
“I would assume that some senior staffer signed off on that. Especially a mission with, with in effect what is the backup for Air Force One; there are two of those planes, big 747’s. Either one can function as Air Force One anytime the President is on it. I used them a couple of times during our administration for special trips. You know, they don’t turn a wheel without a lot of people knowing about it and signing off and approving it. A pilot can’t just go out there and get on board and take it for a spin.”
On Big Brother Government
“If the financial system is broken, the government’s got to fix it. There isn’t anybody else that can do that. So that’s why I think a lot of us with a more conservative bent were willing to support or go along with the proposition that set up the programs that were used during the last few months we were in office – in effect to try and shore up the financial system – to get the credit markets working again and so forth. The thing I worry about is when that rationale is used in other parts of the economy that aren’t central to the functioning of our economy.”
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