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Via Think Progress,

QUESTION: How do you explain your low approval rating?

CHENEY: I don’t have any idea. I don’t follow the polls.

My experience has been over the years that if you govern based upon poll numbers, upon trying to improve your overall poll ratings, people I’ve encountered who do that are people who won’t make tough decisions.

This is actually pretty good spin as far as spin goes. Then there is the faint smell of martyr complex. Cheney and Bush, the poor beleaguered leaders of great vision – forget about lying hundreds of thousands of people to their deaths. Forget about Cheney doing business with Saddam and being caught lying about it. Forget all the propaganda and not so sly statements Cheney made about the non-existent WMD and non-existent links between Saddam and 9-11. There is some element of truth to Cheney’s thoughts in the sense that sometimes political leaders do have to make decisions that might be for the best, but are unpopular. Cheney, like Bush and some recent rescue the Bush legacy editorials chose to ignore recent history. After 9-11 Bush enjoyed some of the highest approval ratings in history. Obviously not because Cheney and Bush were caught flat footed as Richard Clarke pointed out, but because Americans rallied to show Al Qaida and their sympathizers a united front. Polls seemed to mean quite a bit to Cheney, Bush and Rove at the time. Then there are the interviews themselves in which Cheney says his popularity doesn’t matter, but keeps bringing up how history will judge him. Part of history is how people see a political figure and their actions – did he do what was best for the country. Just one more bit from the Casper-Star Trib interview,

“As vice president, I don’t run anything. I’m not in charge of the Park Service, but I can make suggestions, and my staff is actively involved in a lot of those issues on my behalf.”

If you’re not in charge of anything, you are not responsible for anything. If you’re not responsible you can’t take credit for those “tough” decisions. Mr. Forth Branch seems to want to have it both ways.

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