So while some Hill Republicans were fretting about getting a positive message
out and others were launching substance-free listening tours, while GOP operatives were wringing their hands about whether Republicans could recover from the Bush years, and while most senior Bush alumni were in hiding, Dick Cheney–Darth Vader himself, Mr. Unpopularity, the last guy you’d supposedly want out there making the case–stepped onto the field. He’s made himself the Most Valuable Republican of the first four months of the Obama administration (ably assisted by a few bold denizens of the Hill like the ranking Republican on the House intelligence committee, Pete Hoekstra).
Of course, this has resulted in some Republican political operatives’ doing what they do best: complaining, on background, to the media. “As Cheney Seizes Spotlight, Many Republicans Wince,” was the front-page headline in Thursday’s Washington Post. Two Republican “strategists” spoke “on the condition of anonymity in order to be candid.” Profiles in courage! One of them opined that Cheney is “entirely unhelpful.” The other elaborated, “Even if he’s right, he’s absolutely the wrong messenger. . . . We want Bush to be a distant memory in the next election.”
To have such a juvenile understanding of political dynamics, you’d have to be a prominent “Republican strategist.”