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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Vice President Cheney And Liz Cheney On Their New Book “Exceptional”

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The Audio:

08-31hhs-cheneys

The Transcript:

HH: So pleased to welcome to the program former Vice President Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney, former senior State Department official. Together, they are the authors of a brand new book, Exceptional: Why The World Needs A Powerful America. If you were up this morning, I was holding the book up on Morning Joe saying I think this might change the arc of the campaign. Welcome to both Cheneys. Mr. Vice President, if I can start with you, was it your intention to impact the 2016 campaign on both the Republican side and in the general election?

DC: Well, at the time that we got involved with this project, we thought about it, oh, over a year ago. We actually signed a contract last October. We didn’t know what all was going to be involved in a 17 person field and so forth. What we did want to do was make sure this issue, the national security issues facing the United States, the rising threats and our capacity to deal with them, was front and center in this year’s campaign, that it got addressed. We always kind of felt looking at the last election that national security hadn’t played the role it should. And given our level of concern, we thought the contribution we could make is to do this book, to make certain that the nation and obviously the voters were aware of these issues before they vote.

HH: Now Liz Cheney, I picked it up on Friday and began reading compulsively on a trip back and forth into the Rockies over the weekend, and was surprised that you two began with FDR and George Marshall arguing about the need to rearm in 1939. That was kind of a curveball. When did you settle on the first part of the book would be the context into which the second part of the book would settle?

LC: Well, first of all, thank you, Hugh, for all your kind words, and everything that you do for these causes. But we really felt that it was important for two reasons to have historical context for people. The first is just simply, as you well know, you know, too many people, particularly in the younger generation today, don’t learn the truth about America. And you know, Ronald Reagan said if we forget what we did, we won’t know who we are. And we felt it was very important to remind people that for the better part of 75 years, you know, it is the United States of America that has defended freedom for more inhabitants of the globe than any nation before, to remind people why we are exceptional, that this is very much at odds with President Obama’s view of the world. But we wanted to lay out the facts of the exceptional nature of this nation, and the truth about what we had done, that we’re not a maligned presence, we’re not, you know at fault or to blame, but that our record is one, frankly, that is unparalleled in the annuls of world history. And we also wanted to demonstrate the extent to which President Obama is not just wrong on foreign policy, his policies have been a damaging and drastic departure from this 75 year, what has been for the most part a bipartisan tradition of presidents going back to, you know, Franklin Roosevelt understanding, and both parties, understanding that America had to be freedom’s defender, that America’s military had to be second to none, that America had to lead, and that it is American leadership and Democratic and Republican presidents who’ve recognized the importance of our role in defending freedom around the globe, and that this president’s policies can best be understood as a really drastic departure from that 75 year tradition.

HH: No, and it’s expertly done. I call it a kind of an apologetics for American exceptionalism, because it explains the where, the how and the why, and especially from the historical perspective. Let me go to the president. I’ll be jumping back and forth. Mr. Vice President, I have to ask you this, because I brought it up on Morning Joe this morning. What do you make of the entrance of Donald Trump into this race, and his impact on this issue set?

DC: Well, Hugh, we’ve religiously avoided endorsing or criticizing anybody at this point. We may get involved down the road, but what we wanted to do was keep the focus on this issue. So we wanted to stay out of making decisions or recommendations or criticizing any one particular candidate. Obviously, from my standpoint as I look at this, one of the things I’m going to be looking at very carefully when I make my decision about who I want to support down the road will be based upon how they deal with this set of issues.

HH: Well, I saw that Governor Walker and Senator Rubio both spent a large part of Friday speaking about this set of issues, both of them in Charleston. And of course, Mr. Trump and Dr. Carson, to a lesser extent, but very much Mr. Trump, is not really coming out of this part of the Republican Party tradition. Would you at least recommend that he spend more time on these issues than he has been?

DC: Well, again, Hugh, you’ve got to ask, but I want to very cautious and not getting into this business at this point of praising or criticizing or the advice I would give if I were asked by any particular candidate about this set of issues. The advice is embodied in this book.

HH: Liz, you’ve been on a couple of presidential campaigns thus far, and they begin early. This has become the earliest of any of them, and it’s begun in the middle of a debate over an Iranian deal, which is a disaster for the United States. Were you surprised that the first debate spent no time at all, or very little, on the Iranian deal?

LC: I was, Hugh. I mean, I do think that that was a good debate. I liked watching it. I felt when I got done that I was proud of all the candidates, that we have such a good variety of people to choose from on our side. But I do think that the Iranian deal is vitally, vitally important. And I think that the President has, nearly everything he has told us about the deal has turned out to be false, 180 degrees false. And he’s now out there saying that those who oppose the deal are in favor of war when in fact a vote for the deal means war is more likely, not less likely. And it is hard to think of a worse agreement entered into by a president of the United States, certainly in recent history. And the idea that we’re now, you know, in the midst of this debate and the Democrats in the Senate are talking about potentially filibustering, not even allowing a debate about a deal that will likely result in handing the Iranians not just hundreds of billions of dollars, not just lifting the ban on conventional weapons, not just lifting the ban on ballistic missiles, but also giving them the pathway to a nuclear arsenal. It’s a very dangerous deal, and it ought to be fully debated, and it ought to be rejected.

HH: Mr. Vice President, in Exceptional, you and Liz talk a great deal about the specifics of the rollout of the Iranian deal, and how three lies were told in the President’s first speech about the Iranian deal. And it’s only gotten worse since then. When you left the vice presidency in January of 2009, did you ever imagine we would even remotely approach this sort of collapse in front of the mullahs?

DC: I never did, Hugh. I must, I had the experience on Inauguration Day in January of ’09. I was struck by the tremendous crowd that was there that day. I felt a certain amount of pride in my country, although I obviously hadn’t voted for Barack Obama, that we were in fact overcoming another barrier to equality and so forth, electing an African-American president of the United States. That lasted about 48 hours, and then he started talking about prosecuting the career professionals who had carried out our counterterrorism policy on enhanced interrogation. And it was pretty clear that he was headed in the direction that was fundamentally different from anything that I had anticipated. I did not realize he wasn’t just somebody who was a Democrat running. He was somebody with a worldview that doesn’t reflect reality.

HH: Is his worldview different than Jimmy Carter’s, do you think?

DC: I think it is. Now I was never a big fan of Jimmy Carter, as back after the ’76 election, you may remember, President Ford had lost his voice during the course of the campaign. And the morning after the election, I had to call President Carter, then-Governor Carter. President Ford was on the phone, but I had to read the concession statement to Governor Carter. I never actually got over that. That was a tough day for me in my political career. But I think Carter, but this is a man who had served in the Navy, had been in the nuclear Navy at the end of World War II, graduate of Annapolis. I often didn’t agree with his policies. I thought he made some mistakes along the way. But I didn’t see in Jimmy Carter somebody who fundamentally disagreed with the views that had been carried out by earlier Democratic presidents.

HH: And with this president, you do?

DC: With this president, I do. I just, I look at what he’s done with respect to policy, and take Defense, for example. We’ve had a situation now where virtually every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in essence said in testimony before the Congress that given the current budget situation, they would not be able to execute the national security strategy of the United States. You’ve got Ray Odierno, our outgoing Army Chief of Staff, saying that the Army’s readiness level is lower than it’s ever been in the 200 and some year history of the Army. The Air Force chief saying that the Air Force today is smaller and older in terms of number of aircraft than any time since it was created back right after World War I. And the same for the Navy. He has decimated our military capabilities in the face of rising threats. I can’t think of a time in history, in our history, when we’ve seen rising threats, ISIS in the Middle East, creation of a caliphate, China on the march in the South China Sea, Putin in Europe, we see threats rise, when the President is consciously and obviously doing whatever he can to reduce our military capabilities.

HH: I’ll be right back with Vice President Cheney and Liz Cheney. Their new book, Exceptional, linked over at Hughhewitt.com.

— – – – –

HH: Those, of course, the immortal words of President Ronald Reagan on the 40th anniversary of D-Day as he stood at Pointe du Hoc and spoke to the American Rangers who still lived. On the phone with me, Vice President Dick Cheney, Liz Cheney, longtime senior official in the State Department. Liz, let me direct this question to you. When I read that on Page 31, I got the chill again, because I was around then, and in law school, and he spoke to every American in the world about that. And what did you, when you set out to write the book with your dad, did you have in mind that you were going to retrace the greatest hits of American exceptionalism and that had to be in there?

LC: You know, absolutely, in terms of what the Americans did on D-Day. There’s no question. You know, the world had never seen anything like that, and what we did with our allies. And I think that you know, what, there was just such a disparity between how truly moving the history of this nation is, and the history of this nation and our involvement in the world, and how proud we should be of it, and how proud our children should be of it, and what they actually learn in school about the history. You know, they learn, for the most part, sadly, a very distorted view of things. And so you know, I, we ended up, my dad has long been a student of World War II, and I came to really sort of understand and share his passion for studying that era, you know, in large part, working on this book, and working in particular on that first chapter, and thinking back about the magnitude of what those men, you know, what Dwight Eisenhower and George D. Marshall and FDR, and what they accomplished, and you know, what they did for freedom. And the things, you know, learning, for example, that Dwight Eisenhower in the months after the landings at D-Day was very clear in saying to the American people to get peace, we’ve got to fight like hell. And there was no question but that we had to defeat the enemy if we were going to preserve freedom, if we were going to preserve peace, and they did it. And we should be proud of it, and we ought to learn from that example. And I think that, you know, the lesson of sort of FDR and his arsenal of democracy, Fireside chat, is a critically important lesson, you know, where he mobilized the nation to do what was needed, and the lesson for our next president, who will be faced with a situation where they’ve got to make some very tough decisions and do it very quickly, and a press corps that’s certainly going to be saying that we’re war weary. And you know, the president is going to have to mobilize people not necessarily, you know, to deploy troops, although that certainly may be the case, but they’ll have to have the courage of their convictions in order to do the right thing and learn lessons of these past presidents in terms of how leadership ought to work.

HH: Vice President Cheney, there are two mistakes in American foreign policy that drew your particular attention, yours and Liz’ attention. When President Kennedy failed at the Bay of Pigs, you wrote, and Liz wrote, that Khrushchev noticed, and what followed was Vienna and of course, the Cuban Missile Crisis. You also wrote on Page 165 that when President Obama drew a red line and did not follow through, “President Obama had blinked. The consequences were devastating.” That’s a message to the next president, isn’t it?

DC: Yes, it is, and I think there was an immediate impact, I believe, in what he did with respect to Syria. You know, one of the things that happened at a moment in these negotiations was there was always this talk about all options are on the table, and obviously meaning we’ll use military force if we have to. And I think when the Iranians saw what he did with respect to Syria, where he drew a red line and then he didn’t enforce it, I think they immediately said ah, this guy isn’t serious about military options, that’s not a credible threat, and therefore his diplomacy was less credible. I think he then found himself in a position where he thought the only way he could get the Iranians to sign on board were to make these outrageous concessions on lifting the embargo on ballistic missiles, lifting the embargo on conventional armaments, etc. So it’s very important to keep that military option on the table, and Obama gave it away. Think for a minute, Hugh, about history in the Middle East, and nuclear proliferation. This isn’t the first time we’ve faced it. You can go back to 1981 when the Israelis took out the reactor that Saddam Hussein was building at Osirak, or ’91 in Desert Storm when we took out the nuclear program that he’d started up again then. When we took down Saddam Hussein in ’03, one of the things that happened was Muammar Qaddafi in Libya got religion and decided that he was next, so he surrendered all of his nuclear materials to us – centrifuges, feed stock, his weapons designs. When we got into the fact that the North Koreans had built a reactor for Syria in the Eastern Syrian desert in ’07, the Israelis took it out militarily. So military force is often times been the successful way to limit proliferation. But when Obama, I think, blinked, for example, on the Syrian deal, the message he conveyed to the Iranians was military force wasn’t on the table, and never was going to be on the table under this president. And I think as a result, we got a much worse deal.

HH: Now I want to ask this to both of you about Mrs. Clinton and her server, because you both are, I don’t know if you recall, Mr. Vice President, in an earlier interview with you when you were vice president, you told me you never touched the electronics. You did not send or receive Blackberries or there weren’t iPhones at the time, but the internet. You just did not use it. Liz Cheney, you were a senior official at the State Department. Do either of you have any doubt that her server was compromised as a result of the activities of foreign intelligence agencies hostile to the United States, Mr. Vice President?

DC: Well, obviously we can’t know. I do remember very well, though, the day that I walked into my office, new office as vice president in the West Wing, there was a computer on my desk, and I told them to get it out of there. I always believed that anything that was capable of receiving electronically was capable of transmitting electronically. And before we walked into the Situation Room for NSC meetings, we had to strip, anybody who was going in, had to strip all of their electronics – pagers, phones and so forth, and put it in a basket outside so that there was no possibility of transmitting, if you will, what was going on in classified meetings. When I look at what has happened here now, my guess is that given everything else they’ve been able to do, that it would be hard to believe that they did not somehow intercept some of those communications. I mean, the whole, we’ve had, well, my, I don’t mean this in a personal sense, but those of us who’d been employed by the government recently, especially in some of the positions our personnel records have been hacked by somebody, presumably.

HH: Yours and mine and Liz’ all. I’ll be right back with the Cheneys.

— – – —

HH: Liz, when we went to break, I had asked your father about this. Mike Morell, former deputy director of the CIA, and acting director, said on this show yes, the former Secretary of State’s server, given that it was not encrypted and was not protected by the NSA, had been compromised by intelligence agencies hostile to the United States. Would you be at all doubting of his conclusion?

LC: No, I think it’s highly likely that it was. I think, you know, there’s a reason why the federal government has special systems, special email systems on which you’re supposed to be conducting yourself if you’re talking about any classified information at all that are encrypted systems. It is baffling to me that you know, she would have decided on her own or gotten advice from somebody that as Secretary of State she could conduct all of her business on her own server. Also, one of the things that we don’t hear enough about is the extent to which the server was wiped clean while it was under subpoena. And I think that clearly, she’s got a very serious problem. She’s either in a situation where she’s going to have to at some point say look, I was unaware that there was classified material being discussed, I was unaware this would be a problem, which raises real questions about her fitness to be commander-in-chief, or the other alternative is what she’s said so far, which is that it was just more convenient for her to operate this way. And that, again, leads you to believe this is somebody who really thinks she’s above the law, and raises, you know, additional questions about her fitness to serve. So we certainly haven’t seen the last of this, and these investigations, I think, you know, may well prove difficult for her to overcome.

HH: Mr. Vice President, in this book, you obviously take aim at President Obama’s foreign policy and the conduct of it, but the former Secretary of State is not spared, either. On Page 200-201, you talk about her just unusual views on nuclear weaponry described at a U.S. Institute of Peace in October of 2009. Then on Page 163, you remind the country that on March 27th, 2011, far later in this administration than people recall, she went on Face The Nation and praised Syrian President Assad as a reformer. Is the argument, one of the arguments of this book that the Obama foreign policy is the Clinton foreign policy, and they are not divisible?

DC: Well, I think she bears significant responsibility for it. We had the Russian reset. Remember that one? That really worked out well. She was the Secretary of State during that first term. She was part and parcel of the team that was designing and executing our foreign policy during that period of time, and it seems to me as somebody who wants to be commander-in-chief and president of the United States that she has a lot to answer for.

HH: Does she have to defend in whole also the Iranian deal which has been struck, because I believe this will be a flashpoint, I hope it is, of the election both in the primary and in the general election.

DC: Well, I believe she’s endorsed it.

LC: She has, no, that’s okay, but she also in her own memoirs, from her second volume that she wrote after she was Secretary of State, takes great pride in revealing that it was her initiative with the Sultan of Oman. She’s the one who sent her staff to begin the secret talks. And these talks were underway much longer than we knew previously. She goes into some detail in her own book about that. And we now know that it was in those very early secret talks when the Americans gave up on this notion of preventing the Iranians from enriching uranium, when the Americans agreed, for example, that we would pay the Iranians, that we would give them, I think it became about $12 billion dollars to keep them at the table. So very significant and serious and misguided concessions were made on her watch, by her staff, in the secret discussions and negotiations that she arranged. So she not only has endorsed the deal now, but she was there from the very beginning, and certainly will have to explain why she was willing to unravel decades of international non-proliferation agreements and arrangements by conceding the Iranians’ right to enrich before the negotiations even began.

HH: You know, Liz Cheney, it occurs to me I have a very smart daughter as well, that if I were to write a book with her, I, too, would invoke seniority and assign her the duty of reading Hard Choices. And did you do that, Mr. Vice President? Did you make Liz read Hard Choices?

LC: Now you know one of my secrets, Hugh.

HH: Because that’s really an unreadable book. It’s a horrible book. Liz, do you agree with me? It’s just incoherent.

LC: I do, 100%, and yes, the task fell to me, because my dad’s no dummy, Hugh.

HH: Yeah, did you even try, Mr. Vice President?

DC: You mean to write the book by myself?

HH: No, to read Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton.

DC: Oh, to read Hillary’s? I must admit I have not, and I figured if one of us did, there was no need for the other to.

HH: That’s the right of seniority.

—- – — —

HH: This book includes a full-throated defense of the invasion of Iraq, not just in 1991, but in 2003. It includes a defense of NSA monitoring. It includes a defense of enhanced interrogation techniques. It includes a defense of Gitmo and of the surge, a denunciation of President Obama’s casual slander on America by suggesting that Abu Ghraib was part of national policy. But more importantly than going back and mounting a defense, and even more importantly than mounting the thoroughgoing indictment of the Obama years, it lays out a platform which has got to be embraced immediately going forward. Mr. Vice President, I’ll turn to this. I’m so glad to see someone talking about our strategic arsenal. I’ve asked some of the candidates about the nuclear triad. I suppose I will at the Reagan Library debate, because I’m not even sure we can afford the triad anymore. Do you think we can?

DC: Well, it’s, I think it’s important that we do, that we resurrect our nuclear capability. It’s one of the areas that’s been badly handled by this administration. It’s been especially hard hit with respect to the budget, that we had a situation that we mention in the book, that when President Obama signed up for the revised arms limitation agreement with the Russians, that he also issued an edict sort of privately, internally, guidance to the military that they were not to spend any money modernizing or upgrading our nuclear capabilities. It’s a part of this mindset he had that if we just got rid of our nukes, everybody else would get rid of theirs. Or if we refused to modernize our forces, then the Iranians would quit looking for theirs. The fact of the matter is that both the Russians and the Chinese are modernizing and upgrading their forces. A lot of it, especially with respect to China, is classified and so forth. We don’t know all the stories about them, but we do know that their defense budget, for example, every single year except one since 1989, the Chinese budget has gone up by double digits. And that’s just the public part. We don’t know what they’ve been doing from the private standpoint. And a lot of that has been spent on strategic systems, on missiles, and we believe as well on warheads. So there’s a lot going on out there, and Obama has simultaneously not only cut the budget, but he’s also issued internal guidance to the military that they’re not to modernize our strategic forces.

HH: You’ve spent a lot of time, obviously, thinking about this, though. But between the submarines, the planes and the missile, the Ohio Class submarine ages out by the end of the next decade. I think it is the most urgent in need of funding, but maybe you have a different take on that.

DC: No, I think you’re right. I was secretary when we built the 17th Trident in Wyoming, that we built 18 of them altogether. Four of them have subsequently been converted from ballistic missiles to cruise missiles, conventional cruise missile capability. And it’s been a great platform. It continues to be a great platform, but we badly need to work and move on upgrading. And it’s the most secure part of our triad. It’s going to be very important going forward that we modernize our force. We’ve had problems, for example, with respect to morale. There have been stories of problems there with respect to some of our land-based missile forces, in terms of morale. I just think if you look at that whole capability, what the Chinese are doing, and this is a very important proposition, I would venture, is they’re closing the technology gap. If you look back at World War II, since World War II, we have been dominant in most of the major areas where technology was key – stealth, precision-guided munitions, etc. What’s happened now is we no longer enjoy the exclusivity we had in that area going forward. Look, for example, at the whole area of cyber warfare. It’s pretty clear that the Chinese, and to some extent, the Russians, are working rapidly to close whatever gap there was there. And in many cases, they’re directly building systems aimed at our capabilities. The Chinese have developed a ballistic missile that’s capable of taking on an aircraft carrier, directly aimed at our capabilities in the Western Pacific. So when you look at this whole set of propositions, the military has been very sadly neglected, and especially in the strategic systems. And Obama let his desire to have some kind of a legacy or his belief that we shouldn’t tell or restrict Iranian capabilities lead him to this terrible deal he’s negotiated with the Iranians at the same time that we’ve dramatically cut back our capacity to improve our strategic systems.

HH: And Liz, before we go to break, I want to especially read Page 241 where you two write, “We have to recognize that the Muslim Brotherhood shares the goals and objectives of militant Islamist groups. They provide the ideological foundation for these groups and are allied with them. The United States should not be providing support to the Muslim Brotherhood or any of its affiliated groups or individuals.” Surely, you must know that will raise eyebrows and garner criticism as being an unfair and broadly-painted brush stroke, but I’m so glad to see you write it. Have you already gotten blowback for that?

LC: Well, not yet, but I’m sure that it will come. The Muslim Brotherhood and their affiliated groups have been very effective at infiltrating organizations in the United States, for example, and we won’t be able, ultimately, to prevail over militant Islam if we don’t understand every element of it. And certainly, the philosophical underpinning, you know, Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood. They are the same thing. And the Brotherhood provides, as you just read there in our book, the philosophical and ideological underpinnings for all of those militant Islamic terrorist groups. And we’ve got to recognize them for what they are and not view them as some sort of moderate group that is an alternative we can somehow ally ourselves with. That would certainly be a mistake.

HH: As a specialist in U.S. Middle East policy, and you were the principle deputy assistant Secretary of State for near-Eastern affairs, are we doing enough? Is this administration doing enough to support President Sisi in Egypt?

LC: No, certainly not. I think that you know, when you’ve got President Sisi, for example, in Moscow, as he was just recently talking about what maybe they’re going to now start using the ruble for transactions in the tourism industry in Egypt, in part to help the Russians with sanctions in place, you’ve got a real problem. President Sisi is somebody who’s trying to fight terror. He’s trying to do the right thing in a very tough neighborhood. We certainly don’t agree with everything he does or with everything any of our allies do. But he’s somebody that we ought to be supporting. And just back on this issue of our strategic arsenal, one more point here that’s connected to the Middle East is we have in the past been able to tell our allies in that region that they can count on our nuclear umbrella for security, that they don’t need to develop their own systems, because they can count on us. The combination of us walking away from the region, signing an agreement that lets the Iranians get access to nukes, and then making significant cuts in our own nuclear arsenal all serve to tell those countries in the region you can’t count on us, and to make it much more likely they’re going to be developing their own nuclear programs.

HH: We’ll be back, one more segment with Vice President and Liz Cheney.

— – – —

HH: They’ll be on the Hannity program tonight, as I will be. They were on with Rush earlier today, and I held the book up sua sponte on Morning Joe this morning, because I think everyone’s got to read it. But I want to close with politics, Mr. Vice President. Will anyone read a message, you began the show with a non-endorsement of anyone in this race, just an endorsement that they adopt the policies put forward in Exceptional. But you served the first President Bush. You were the vice president to the second President Bush. Should anyone read anything into the fact you haven’t endorsed Jeb’s candidacy, yet?

DC: No, only that I have not endorsed anybody, yet. I like Jeb. I think he was a good governor in Florida. But I haven’t signed on with anybody’s campaign, and I think this is an extraordinarily important election. And so I’m, and have said in effect that I’m happy to meet with individual candidates. Some of them have. We do so on the basis that it’s a private conversation, and that they don’t admit that they’ve talked to me, and I don’t admit that I’ve talked to them. But no, I obviously was proud to serve in both Bush administrations. I’ve got great regard both for 41 and 43. They gave me great opportunities, and I was happy to be a part of that. The fact that I haven’t endorsed anybody at this stage is just that. I haven’t endorsed anybody, yet.

HH: And Liz, have you taken a role in any of the campaigns, yet?

LC: I am, I’m not playing a formal role in any of the campaigns. I have talked to some of the candidates, and again, you know, really, we wanted the focus to be on these issues, and on the national security issues, and not sort of be out here as surrogates for any one candidate or another, but really be out here talking about the substance and the importance of making sure that you know, our next president is dedicated to rebuilding America’s strength and power in the world.

HH: And the last question is for you, Mr. Vice President. I’ve asked you this a few times over the years when you’ve been in the studio or on the phone. Some people say President Obama is simply incompetent. Some people say this was his ideological intention to weaken the United States and push us into worldwide retreat. What is it, in your view – incompetence or ideology?

DC: I think it’s ideology. I have, you know, he’s an intelligence man, but it’s possible early on to go through and see some of these things perhaps as mistakes or misjudgments. But if you put the whole package together now over six years, there’s no way to view it as anything other than his ideology. It’s what he believes.

HH: Liz, do you agree with that?

LC: I do. I think that he certainly has this view that many progressive, many liberals share, which is that America has been a negative influence in the world. You know, he’s gone so far as to travel the world. We have a section in the book called the apology tour that details what he did in his first months in office, which I think was clearly unprecedented in terms of an American president apologizing for this nation at stop after stop after stop. So I think he came into office with the idea he had to withdraw America from the world. And frankly, he also needed resources for his domestic agenda, and a place to get those was from our military budget, which he proceeded to cut significantly.

HH: He did it both. Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney, terrific book, Exceptional, I’ll see you in Colorado in a month or so. In the meantime, good luck to you on the book tour. Exceptional: Why The World Needs A Powerful America is linked at Hughhewitt.com.

End of interview.

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