Yesterday, Dick Cheney did something right. He kept his mouth shut about something he knows little or nothing about—the upcoming Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor. He also restated his support for gay marriage—a position that prompted one commentator to say that on that issue, he is “left of Obama.”
These most recent public statements by the once reclusive and silent former vice president help to clarify his apparent motives in his recent rash of public appearances. Evidently Cheney isn’t emerging as a dogmatic right-wing apologist for the General Opposition Party (GOP). He’s merely interested in protecting the interests of his own family.
Cheney has a daughter who is in a long-term partnership with another woman; hence, his empathy for gay couples. He has grandchildren; hence, his interest in justifying his actions during his time in office. (Who wouldn’t be daunted by the notion of great-grandchildren reading in school that their progenitor made history by sanctioning torture in America?)
One might wish that the Cheneys of this world could exercise enough imagination to empathize with those who are not close blood relations. (The only prominent member of the GOP who has personal, visceral, real-life experience with torture—John McCain—is against it.) However, a little empathy and respect for the rights of others is better than nothing.