As he bashes the Obama administration and insists that torture kept the country safe, Dick Cheney sounds less like a retired VP than a man campaigning for a third Bush term. For Ross Douthat, it's a pity he didn't run himself. In his first column for the New York Times, Douthat says that a Cheney-Obama race would have forced the right to acknowledge the failures of "a conservatism of supply-side economics and stress positions."
Cheney the candidate would have been the anti-McCain: disciplined, ruthless, and hard-right. And he would have gone "down to a landslide loss," forcing the conservative movement to reassess its attachment to "tax cuts at home and pre-emptive warfare overseas." Instead, Americans glossed over debates on war and torture in 2008—and in 2009, writes Douthat, "the argument isn’t going away."