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Dick Cheney

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Fuck off, Senator!
God, guns, and freedom
U.S. Politics
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Starting arguments over Thanksgiving dinner
Persons of interest
Oh, c'mon, you knew this was coming.[1]
Dick Cheney; some say the most powerful President — I mean Vice President — in US history. A guy so charismatic he could shoot a man in the face with a shotgun — and have that guy apologize to him.
—Will Ferrell, You're Welcome America[2]

Richard "Dead Eye" "Darth" "Iron Ass" "Satan"[3] Cheney is an American war criminal, mortician former CEO, Congressman, SecDef, and VP (2001 - 2009) who labors under the idea that the U.S. is an oil company with an army. He is otherwise known for his heart problems associated with a lack of one. Fun fact: his heartbeat was maintained by an external heart pump for almost 2 years, meaning medically, he had no pulse.

It is generally acknowledged that while Bush was in the press more often, Cheney was more influential, to the point where you could honestly peg everything the administration did on Dick, Don and Wolfie.[4] There's a pretty good book about him titled Angler.


A relic of the Nixon years,[5] he laid a shaky foundation for the U.S. as reflected in his mantra "deficits don't matter."[6]

Later, he gave experience to the 2000 Republican Ticket ticket, since Dubya was seen as kind of a joke. It's because Cheney had a lot more foreign-policy experience; additionally, he was director of the Council on Foreign Relations and sat on two other foreign-policy think tanks, including the American Enterprise Institute. His presence on the ticket was probably meant to complement W's lack thereof: Bush had no foreign-policy experience prior to being elected, and by his own admission thought he would be a domestic president. Cheney didn't seem to care too much about what was going on domestically so, without 9/11, Cheney would not have been as impactful.


One heartbeat away from the presidency and not a single vote cast in my name. Democracy is so overrated.
Dick Cheney Frank Underwood

He hails from Casper, Wyoming, though he switched to Texas residency while running Halliburton. An obscure rule prevents any elector from voting for both a president and a vice president from his own state, thus necessitating the "move" back to Wyoming. He lives in Virginia and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for the most part.[7]

Back when Bush was running his 2000 campaign, he put Cheney in charge of vetting his potential VP picks. Cheney raked them all over the coals, found all the skeletons in their closets...and then announced that none of these guys were a good fit, and that Bush should pick him instead.[8]

Any power a VP has is entirely at the suffrage of the President, be it by design or ignorance. In Cheney's case, he sought to be the sole advisor to W. by having all others transmit their info through him. Interestingly, he cared less about the top spots of various agencies; instead he sought to fill the deputy and undersecretary positions with his people. These lesser positions often wield more influence on policy and the day-to-day running of government than the figureheads do. Cheney was tasked with staffing the administration in 2000, while everyone else was busying themselves with hanging, chads etc. Because it took so long to resolve the election, he had plenty of time to shape it to his liking.[9] The White House held dozens of secret meetings with oil executives by 2001.[10]

Then there was the Office of Special PlansWikipedia. This was the special not-so-secret office that Cheney set up inside the Pentagon. Turns out they were doing a bunch of Iraq War planning. Then he set up his secret Energy Task ForceWikipedia. Again, the VP of the USA starts having secret meetings with energy industry people, behind closed doors. Well, it was pretty obvious what was going on at the time, but now we have some materials from those meetings and — wouldn't you know it — they included Iraq oil field maps.

Cheney thought the Vice President was part of some Fourth Branch.[11] He claimed he was not part of the Executive Branch, contradicting the US Constitution. Article I of the Constitution says the VP is President of the Senate and casts a vote when there is a tie. His argument was that because he has legislative functions, he can't simply be classified as "executive." Then he claimed executive privilege to avoid accountability.[12]

Vice, in his case, means "second in rank and acting as deputy for". That means the vice-president is subordinate to the president. The president is part of the executive branch. Other meanings for "vice" that might apply:

☑ immoral activity (e.g. prostitution)
☑ wicked or evil conduct or habits; corruption
☑ a jester or buffoon
☑ a particular form of depravity

Inside Man[edit]

Cheney didn't serve in Vietnam for "other priorities".[13] What "other priorities" were there, Dick?
If I would have to do it all over again, I would... the results speak for themselves.
—Dick just begging the US to throw him on a jet to The Hague[14]

Cheney's relationship with Halliburton began when he was still SecDef under Bush the First. He paid them $9 mil to perform "studies" on which parts of the Pentagon could be outsourced.[15] After leaving the Defense Department, he went to work as Halliburton's CEO during the Clinton years. Then he came back as VP under Bush the Second. Once in office, he ordered the EPA to remove whole sections on climate change from their 2002 and 2003 reports.[16] Christine Todd Whitman (R-NJ), then-EPA administrator, described the process as “brutal.”[17]

Coincidentally, Halliburton was offered all kinds of no-bid contracts in Iraq, often just taking money (upwards of $138 billion) for doing absolutely nothing.[18] Their shoddy construction and electricians killed troops, including an incident with an electrified shower.[19][20] Nobody saw jail, because in their contract there was a clause that gave them full immunity, regardless of whether it was unaccidental.[21] All told, Halliburton made somewhere between $35-$40 billion on the war,[22][23] which was fought on the cheap. Dick Cheney does not live in the same moral universe at the rest of us.

Rome also had people running around with their own private armies.[24][25] Ahh, America...just a river away...

In 1994, Cheney was interviewed and explained quite sensibly why invading Iraq and overthrowing the Hussein regime would have been a terrible idea.[26] Since all the arguments he made then still seemed just as valid in 2003, wonder what changed his mind.

Sith Lord recalled to duty[edit]

Even Cheney, who personally signed off on instances of water boarding,[27] couldn't stomach Donald Trump's campaign rhetoric. When Trump called for immigrants to be banned from the USA on the basis of religion alone, Cheney condemned it.[28] It is black and latex, but his heart beats nonetheless. (Liz Cheney's heart just kind of whirs.)[29]

Cheney and Condi Rice (both oil executives) worked behind the scenes to confirm Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State.[30] Back when we were gearing up for Gulf War II, Republicans said with a straight face and with utter conviction that the no-bids with Halliburton weren't suspicious in the slightest, because Cheney was no longer on the board of directors.[31] Democrats were eager to see if the same retorts would come up again re: Tillerson and Exxon.[32]

The imperial presidency… but only as it suits him[edit]

In 1987, when Cheney was a Congressional representative, he was the ranking minority member of the Select Committee to investigate the Iran-Contra Affair. The minority's report quote mined Thomas Jefferson to make him look like a monarchist, even though Jefferson was one of the most anti-monarchist members of the Founding Fathers. The report argued:[33]:465

One of the remarkable aspects of Jefferson's assertion is the stark way in which it poses a fundamental constitutional issue. Chief Executives are given the responsibility for acting to respond to crises or emergencies. To the extent that the Constitution and laws are read narrowly, as Jefferson wished, the Chief Executive will on occasion feel duty bound to assert monarchical notions of prerogative that will permit him to exceed the law.

Cheney later stood by his claim that presidents can freely break the law after he became Vice President,[34] thus ushering in the assumption of presidential impunity under Trump.

During Cheney tenure as Vice President, a Congressional committee inserted unusual text into the 2004 edition of the Plum Book that is used to announce positions for appointment:[35]:226

The Vice Presidency is a unique office that is neither a part of the executive branch nor a part of the legislative branch, but is attached by the Constitution to the latter. The Vice Presidency performs functions in both the legislative branch (see article I, section 3 of the Constitution) and in the executive branch (see article II, and amendments XII and XXV, of the Constitution, and section 106 of title 3 of the United States Code).

Cheney later elaborated on that text, claiming that the Vice President's office was part of the legislative branch rather than the executive branch, and therefore not subject to Congressional oversight.[36][37] Cheney's spokesperson even left open the possibility that the Vice President's office might belong to a fourth branch of government,[38] one not actually specified in the Constitution.

Perhaps realizing that an imperial presidency is wrong (or just because he wasn't a part of the action this time), in 2022, Cheney supported his daughter, Congresswoman Liz Cheney, in her primary election and for her work on the Congressional January 6 Committee, while opposing Trump's anti-Constitutionalism.[39]

Keep It Gay[edit]

Cheney's daughter Mary is a lesbian who has been "out of the closet" for years; due to her previous job as "gay and lesbian corporate relations manager" for the Coors Brewing Company, she has been unironically described as a "professional lesbian."[40]

Mary's mother Lynne wrote a book, Sisters: The Novel of a Strong and Beautiful Woman Who Broke All the Rules of the American Frontier,Wikipedia that is absolutely not about lesbians.

In 2004, when Cheney was running for re-election on an opposition to same-sex marriage and Mary was part of his campaign staff, his daughter's sexuality was brought up during both the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates. In response, John Kerry was accused by many wingnuts of "outing" her,[41] and his VP pick John Edwards was criticized for even mentioning her. Cheney himself described himself as "a pretty angry father" in response.

Cheney was a critic of the military's DADT policy during his tenure as Secretary of Defense, calling the policy a "bit of an old chestnut."[42] Nonetheless, when Republicans tried to shoehorn a ban on gay marriage into the Constitution, Cheney said that he personally opposed the policy but would still support it both as a Republican and as Vice President.

After the end of his second term as Vice President, he actually came out explicitly in favor of same-sex marriage,[43] and lobbied Maryland lawmakers to support their Governor's attempt to legalize it.[44] Things got spicy again when Liz Cheney, running for office in Wyoming, essentially ran to the right of the Bush administration−along with her proposal to stop gay marriages from being federally recognized[45] (we're surprised that she didn't invade the Castro District before the smoking gun came in the form of a mushroom cloud over an American city).


The man who manipulated intel on Iraq, approved torture, and built secret prisons thinks Obama is determined to bring America down a notch.
—Joshua Foust[46]

It has been reported that even Dick Cheney's friends refer to him as "Vader," although Cheney is less ethical. He also, notably, shot one of them in the face with a shotgun during a 2006 hunting trip in south Texas (and somehow that's the least grotesque thing he did).[47] But who among us hasn't mistaken a grown man for a quail, and then shot him, at some time in their life, eh? After all, accidents do happen. And "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." The truly hilarious part is that the friend later apologized for "all that Vice President Cheney and his family have had to go through"[48] because he got in the way of Cheney's shotgun.

One person who probably doesn't count Dick as a friend is Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who, rather than a face-full of birdshot, received a "go fuck yourself" from Dick on the Senate floor.[49]

As George H.W. Bush's Defense Secretary, Cheney commissioned a study on how many tactical nuclear weapons he'd need to take out a division of Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard. Additionally, journalist Seymour Hersh reported that Cheney also considered using nuclear bunker-busters against Iran’s underground uranium enrichment facilities.[50]

For some reason, Cheney kept several man-sized safes in his office.[51]

The moral of this article?[edit]

Don't be a dick.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  2. That's some real Clint Eastwood shit right there!
  3. Jeb Bush's Dick Cheney problem by Chris Cillizza (November 5 at 3:17 PM) Washington Post.
  4. Even the New York Times couldn't see the difference.
  5. "We will watch your career with great interest."
  6. Leung, Rebecca, "Bush Sought 'Way' To Invade Iraq?" CBS News 1.9.04.
  7. Lagorio, Christine, "Halliburton's Dubai Move Sparks Outcry", CBS (12 March 2007, 11:45 AM).
  8. Tapper, Jake, "I Pick Me!", Salon (26 July 2000, 7:37 AM PST).
  9. Hylton, Wil S., "The People v. Richard Cheney", GQ 13 February 2007.
  10. Michael Abramowitz and Steven Mufson, "Papers Detail Industry's Role in Cheney's Energy Report", WaPo 18 July 2007.
  11. Kutler, Stanley, I., "Civics for Cheney", The Nation 9.10.07.
  12. Meyer, Josh, "Cheney's executive decision", LA Times 7.20.07.
  13. Seele, Katherine Q., "HE 2004 CAMPAIGN: MILITARY SERVICE; Cheney's Five Draft Deferments During the Vietnam Era Emerge as a Campaign Issue", NYT 1 May 2004.
  14. Back to the Torture, TPM
  15. Meyer, Jane, "Contract Sport", New Yorker 2.16.14.
  16. Jo Becker and Barton Gillman, "Leaving No Tracks", WaPo 7.27.07 Page A01.
  17. "Transcript: Clearing the Air", NOW with Bill Moyers 9.19.03.
  18. Fifield, Anna, "Contractors reap $138bn from Iraq war", FT 3.18.13.
  19. Donofrio, Julianne, "Did Halliburton Sell Dirty Water?", ABC 1.23.06.
  20. Risen, James, "Despite Alert, Flawed Wiring Still Kills G.I.’s", NYT 5.4.08.
  21. Witte, Griff, "Ex-Workers Testify About Halliburton", WaPo 9.19.06.
  24. Witte, Griff, "Army to End Expansive, Exclusive Halliburton Deal", WaPo 7.12.06; A01.
  25. "Congresswoman Confirms Erik Prince Tied to Intelligence Operation Run Out of Dick Cheney’s Office", Democracy Now! 14 March 2018.
  26. Dick Cheney on invading Baghdad
  28. And his heart grew three sizes that day.
  29. Kane, Paul, "Liz Cheney launches a new brand in Wyoming", WaPo 8.16.16.
  30. Johnson, Eliana, "Cheney emerges as surprise Trump surrogate", Politico (12/16/16 at 01:44 PM EST).
  31. Rosenbaum, David E., "A Closer Look at Cheney and Halliburton", NYT 9.28.04.
  32. Troy, Phaeda Friend, "ExxonMobil awards Halliburton West Qurna refurbishment work in Iraq", PennEnergy 10.14.10.
  33. Minority Report of Representative Dick Cheney et al. Document Cloud.
  34. 15 Executive Actions by Michael Waldman & Inimai M. Chettiar (April 15, 2014) Brennan Center for Justice.
  35. 2004 Plumbook - Policy and Supporting Positions Committee on Government Reform U.S. House of Representatives.
  36. Cheney asserts he's part of the legislative branch: Will not follow executive order by Julia Malone (June 22, 2007) The Boston Globe.
  37. Vice President Exempts His Office from the Requirements for Protecting Classified Information (June 21, 2007) Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (archived from July 3, 2007).
  38. More on Our New Fourth Branch of Government by Dave Gilson (June 22, 2007) Mother Jones.
  39. Dick Cheney does ad for his daughter's congressional campaign in Wyoming (Aug 5, 2022) CNBC via YouTube.
  40. Using Mary Cheney.
  41. Despite conservative accusations, Kerry didn't "out" Mary Cheney
  42. Possible Defense Secretary Seen As Opponent Of Gay Rights
  43. Video of the Day: Dick Cheney Endorsing Gay Marriage in 2009, The Atlantic
  44. Dick Cheney Part Of Marriage Equality Lobbying Effort In Maryland: Report, HuffPo
  45. Caldwell, Patrick, "Liz Cheney Heartlessly Disowns Her Sister on National TV", Mother Jones (11/18/13 8:41 AM EST).
  46. It gets even funnier.
  47. Cheney accidentally shoots fellow hunter, CNN
  48. Man shot by Cheney: 'Accidents do and will happen', CNN
  49. Leahy Knocks Cheney: "I Don't Need Any Lectures From Him", HuffPo
  51. The Daily Show: You Don't Know Dick
  52. Adwar, Corey, "Here's The Most Surprising Revelation From An Eye-Opening Documentary On NSA Spying", Business Insider (15 May 2014, 9:50 AM).