After weeks of hearing country club RINOs whining about the Tea Party and calling Tea Partiers anarchists, terrorists and assorted other names, it’s a surprise and a pleasure to discover at least one establishment Republican who gets it.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney, the baddest of the bad in liberals’ book of horrors, defended the Tea Party in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show, saying it was a “normal, healthy reaction” to President Obama, whom Cheney called “the most radical operator” in D.C.
He also defended Sen. Ted Cruz and other congressmen inspired by the Tea Party’s principles to stand up to the bullying tactics of the Democratic Party. Cheney seemed to take the wishy-washy GOP leadership to task for attacking the Tea Party movement.
“They raised issues Americans care about,” Cheney said. “We have terrible track records with respect to federal spending. Nobody seems to be able to solve the problem. It’s an uprising, in part, and it’s taken place within the Republican Party. I don’t see it as a negative. It’s better to have that turmoil and change in the Republican Party than it would be to have it outside.”
Cheney said he respects the Tea Party agenda, even though he is not a member himself.
“I’m not a card-carrying member,” he said. “I don’t think there is a card, but I have respect for what the people are doing. These are Americans. They’re loyal, they’re patriotic, and taxpayers and fed up with what is happening in Washington. It’s a normal, healthy reaction, and the fact that the party is having to adjust to it is positive.”
Cheney also promoted the candidacy of his daughter Liz, which was perhaps the real reason for the interview. He pointed out that she is running because she shares the Tea Party’s feeling that Washington is broken and in need of new blood.
“The best thing I can do is stay out of the way. I’m part of that generation. My time’s up,” said the 72-year-old Cheney. “We really do need new talent. Here we’ve got a woman who’s got five children, has got the drive and the energy to represent that next generation. We need to be passing on leadership in the party to that next generation.”
Liz Cheney is running against 69-year-old Republican Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming.