When Vice-President Dick Cheney finally left office in 2008, his approval rating was at an abysmal 13 percent, officially making him one of the most widely hated public officials in history. Now, seeing as how the average human memory apparently has a duration spanning the length of Superbowl intermissions, and especially with the added distraction of the man himself now making the rounds promoting his admission-of-guilt-slash-memoir, it might help us to be reminded just why the former adjunct leader of the United States stepped down with the public perception ranging somewhere between troll and Hitler.
As it so happens, The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf, one of the last remaining rational conservatives in prominence, is happy to oblige:
Dick Cheney was a self-aggrandizing criminal who used his knowledge as a Washington insider to subvert both informed public debate about matters of war and peace and to manipulate presidential decisionmaking, sometimes in ways that angered even George W. Bush.
After his early years of public service, he capitalized on connections he made while being paid by taxpayers to earn tens of millions of dollars presiding over Halliburton. While there, he did business with corrupt Arab autocrats, including some in countries that were enemies of the United States. Upon returning to government, he advanced a theory of the executive that is at odds with the intentions of the founders, successfully encouraged the federal government to illegally spy on innocent Americans, passed on to the public false information about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and became directly complicit in a regime of torture for which he should be in jail.
Thus his unpopularity circa 2008, when he left office.
The above is merely the conclusion to a long but deliciously detailed piece listing the reasons why Cheney was as terrible as he was, both as a politician and as a man in general. Of course, the only question left is how long before Americans are once again overwhelmed by fear and division into electing another tyrannic demagogue who somehow sinks even lower.
Now that’s nightmare fuel.