The Limbaugh-Cheney two-step

Appearing with radio host Rush Limbaugh, the vice president dances around the question of Democrats' patriotism.

Published April 5, 2007 9:20PM (EDT)

Radio host Rush Limbaugh and Vice President Dick Cheney have a cozy relationship; their frequent, cordial visits once prompted the Hotline blog to write a post titled "What If Rush Limbaugh Interviewed VP Cheney and Tossed Not a Single Softball?"

Their latest visit was no less friendly, as Limbaugh took the opportunity to throw Cheney a few more fat ones, right over the plate. (Hey, we like a good softball/baseball metaphor as much as the next guy. And we'll beat it into the ground if we have to.) And, of course, Limbaugh let Cheney know that "you have a lot of supporters in this audience, obviously," and asked the vice president what Limbaugh's listeners could do to help the president win on the issue of the Iraq supplemental.

But Limbaugh did hand Cheney one tough question -- actually, what happened is that Limbaugh's question was so easy, and so leading, that Cheney had to actively try not to hit it out of the park. (Like we said.)

According to an official transcript released by the White House, Limbaugh asked, "You and the President both have decried the theatrics of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and a number of the Democrats, and ... I, frankly, need to ask you if you really think it's theatrics, or is this who they really are? Is this what they really intend, to lose this war, to make sure we come home defeated?"

But not even Cheney could really give the answer Limbaugh was looking for. So, like MC Rove, Cheney danced:

"Well, I think that the policies that they are recommending would, in fact, produce that result. I think they're -- I've got some friends on the other side of the aisle, and I don't want to question everybody's motives -- I do believe that a significant portion of the Democrats, including, I think, Nancy Pelosi, are adamantly opposed to the war and prepared to pack it in and come home in defeat, rather than put in place or support a policy that will lead to victory."

But Limbaugh wouldn't take "not really" for an answer.

"Can you share with us whether or not you understand their devotion," he pressed Cheney, "their seeming allegiance to the concept of U.S. defeat?"

"I can't," Cheney replied. "It seems to me so abundantly clear, Rush, that we really need to prevail in this conflict, that there's an awful lot riding on it. ... So it's absolutely essential we do it. I don't know why, what the motive is. They seem to think that we can withdraw from Iraq and walk away from it. They ignore the lessons of the past."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Dick Cheney Harry Reid Nancy Pelosi D-calif. Rush Limbaugh