Dick Cheney Can't Help Himself

Former Vice President Dick Cheney went after both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on CNN Monday and is expected to hammer the Obama administration on Iraq in an upcoming speech titled “9/11 and the Future of American Foreign Policy.” Olivia Harris/Reuters

Give Dick Cheney credit. He says what he thinks. Most former presidents and vice presidents have bitten their tongues when it comes to their successors, especially if they have ended their political careers. Just compare George W. Bush to Cheney. The former president has been so restrained in his criticism of Barack Obama that his mere statement that he was voting for Mitt Romney, made while he was getting on an elevator, is about as rough as he's gotten. Meanwhile, Cheney has been a nonstop critic of Obama since 2009.

But even by Cheney standards, he's taking it up a notch. He has a forthcoming speech on the Iran nuclear deal—you can guess where he stands—and a book out, co-authored with his daughter Liz, who made an aborted run for the Senate from Wyoming in 2014.

On Monday morning, Cheney lit into Obama and Hillary. Speaking to CNN's Jamie Gangel, an accomplished interviewer who has a knack for getting Republican big shots to talk, Cheney went all out.

When it comes to those Hillary Clinton emails, Cheney denounced the former secretary of state and went so far as to say that the Chinese and Russians must have their hands on the emails she kept stored on a private server.

"You think the Russians and the Chinese have her emails?" Gangel asked

"They've gotten my personnel records," Cheney said referring to the recent breach of servers maintained by the federal government's Office of Personnel Management. "How can they not have her emails?"

"Do you think this undermines or disqualifies her candidacy?" Gangel asked.

Cheney's answer: "I think there's a very real possibility of that."

Cheney's speech, "9/11 and the Future of American Foreign Policy," will be delivered on September 8 at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank based in Washington. He's expected to hammer the administration on Iraq. In July he told Fox News:

What Obama has done has, in effect, sanctioned the acquisition by Iran of nuclear capability. And it can be a few years down the road. It doesn't make any difference. It's a matter of months until we're going to see a situation where other people feel they have to defend themselves by acquiring their own capability.

Tuesday will see the release of the Dick and Liz Cheney book, Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America. One riff from the book, quoted in Politico: "The damage that Barack Obama has done to our ability to defend ourselves is appalling. It is without historical precedent. He has set us on a path of decline so steep that reversing direction will not be easy."

Those who think of the Iraq War, not anticipating 9/11 and failing to capture Osama bin Laden as the legacy of Cheney's time in office will roll their eyes at this latest fusillade. But for anyone who stands with Cheney and blames Obama for the ISIS rampage across the Middle East, well, this could be the best post-summer reading ever.