Former Vice-President Dick Cheney gave the private keynote address over the weekend at billionaire and attempted kingmaker Sheldon Adelson’s Republican Jewish Coalition meeting, hitting all of the notes you’d expect and then some. In a recording obtained by Mother Jones, Cheney can be heard going especially hard on the room’s key issue — Israel — explaining, “The bottom line is, the United States’ position in [the Middle East] is worse than at any time in my lifetime.” A reference to bombing Iran’s nuclear program was met with hearty laughs and supportive applause.
The presidential promise to protect the country from “all enemies foreign and domestic,” Cheney said, “is not being pursued in any kind of coherent manner.”
On weak Republicans (cough, Rand Paul)
“One of the things that concerns me first about the campaign, that I’m worried about, is what I sense to be an increasing strain of isolationism, if I can put it in those terms, in our own Party. It’s not taking over, by any means, but there is without question a body of thought now that’s supported by many Republicans and some candidates that the United States can afford to turn its back on that part of the world.”
On the NSA (and Obama)
“[The idea] that we have created in the National Security Agency this monster bureaucracy that’s reading everybody’s mail, listening to everybody’s phone calls, infringing upon our civil liberties and civil rights. Hogwash,” he said. “We don’t have a president who can stand up and defend the program. Nobody believes him — for good reason. Look what he did with health care.”
Among GOP hawks, that’s like hitting for the cycle. The rest can be heard here: