Beware the man with nothing to lose.

Don’t get Capitol Hill Republicans wrong; they love Dick Cheney.  More specifically, according to The Hill, they’d love to see him retire rather than take the lead in criticizing Barack Obama:

Congressional Republicans are telling Dick Cheney to go back to his undisclosed location and leave them alone to rebuild the Republican Party without his input.

Displeased with the former vice-president’s recent media appearances, Republican lawmakers say he’s hurting  GOP efforts to reinvent itself after back-to-back electoral drubbings. …

Rep. John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.) said, “He became so unpopular while he was in the White House that it would probably be better for us politically if he wouldn’t be so public…But he has the right to speak out since he’s a private citizen.”

Another House Republican lawmaker who requested anonymity said he wasn’t surprised that Cheney has strongly criticized Obama early in his term, but argued that it’s not helping the GOP cause.

It’s hard to blame either side.  Dick Cheney mostly kept his own counsel while serving as George Bush’s VP, but now he’s free to talk — and to make sure that history gets his role correct. Part of that will be pushing back against Obama and his assignment of blame onto the Bush administration for the various ills he faces now as an executive as a means to redirect criticism.

Republicans in office now probably don’t begrudge him the effort of setting history straight, but they’d like to move beyond the Bush era of party leadership, including Cheney.  They need to find new voices and fresher faces than Cheney, who fairly or unfairly gets little affection or sympathy from the American people at the moment.  The media would love to make Cheney the national face of the Republican Party, as it offers them an opportunity to keep blaming Bush rather than look at the effects of Deadbeatonomics, Obama’s “reset button” foreign policy, or his AG’s assertion that we will have to release Gitmo detainees in the US in order to convince Europe to take a few themselves as the cost of closing the detention center.

George Bush said that he owed Obama his “silence”, in the tradition of American presidents with their successors.  Perhaps he also shrewdly considered the benefits of silence to his own party as well.  However, if the GOP wants to take the lead on substantive criticisms of the Obama administration, then they’re going to have to do better than buying into Bonus Outrage and Obama’s budget-busting plans for federal expansion.  Until Republicans start speaking loudly and rationally, they’re leaving a vacuum for Cheney and others to fill – and that’s not Cheney’s fault, or the media.