Last night, President Obama continued in his ongoing effort to appear in front of as many cameras and microphones as possible by sitting down with Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes. It seems to us that though these efforts to sell his agenda are a bit transparent, they're worth the trouble because he's so good at explaining things, and renewing trust with his trademark frankness and charisma. Our favorite part of last night's appearance was when Obama addressed former Vice-President Dick Cheney's recent statement that the new president has "made some choices that in my mind raise the risk to the American people of another attack." Responds Obama:
"I fundamentally disagree with Dick Cheney — not surprisingly. I think that Vice-President Cheney has been at the head of a movement whose notion is somehow that we can't reconcile our core values, our Constitution, our belief that we don't torture, with our national security interests. I think he's drawing the wrong lesson from history."
This strikes us as something that Cheney never understood. He and President Bush always acted as though they were making the tough decisions when they blurred the line on torture and violated America's own legal and human rights values in order to fight terror. It is far more difficult — and brave — to say that we will live up to our own beliefs and not encourage our enemies with our own hypocrisy, even though that removes some of the simplest solutions from the table. Cheney always rejected compromise with our enemies — so why is he still, even after he is no longer in power, insisting that we compromise with ourselves?