Obama Could Learn a Lot From Cheney

VP wasn't afraid to sacrifice popularity to keep country safe
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2009 9:17 AM CST
This Jan. 5, 2005 file photo shows Vice President Dick Cheney, right, administering the Senate oath to Barack Obama during a mock swearing-in on Capitol Hill.    (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, File)
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(Newser) – Dick Cheney's sub-Darth Vader approval levels make him an unlikely role model for Barack Obama but the president-elect could learn a lot from what made Cheney so unpopular in the first place, writes William McGurn in the Wall Street Journal. Cheney is disliked because he made some tough calls to prevent terror attacks, McGurn argues, choices Obama will soon have to make.

Obama recently criticized Cheney for defending harsh interrogation measures, the former Bush speechwriter notes, but the president-elect needs to be careful that rhetoric now isn't sabotaging his future ability to tackle terrorist threats. Obama would be wise to heed Cheney's advice to know what's been done and what it's prevented before he starts deciding to scrap certain approaches or accept limits on his authority, McGurn concludes.