Sunday, February 08, 2004

At Least He's Honest

In recent months Vice President Dick Cheney has revealed his weakness for truth-telling in a couple of instances.

"Am I the evil genius in the corner that nobody ever sees come out of his hole? It's a nice way to operate, actually."
So said Cheney in an interview with USA TODAY and the Los Angeles Times.

Perhaps he's only joking, but Cheney's Christmas card also included this sly reference in the form of a Ben Franklin quotation:
"And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?"
Nice that he can be so jokey about presuming God's blessing on the administration's questionable policy of exporting democracy. As Nicholas Kristof points out, Cheney took the quotation out of context, though:
Mr. Cheney's card wrenches Ben Franklin's quotation from its context and upends the humility that Franklin stood for. If you read the full speeches Franklin gave to the Constitutional Convention, including the one with the sparrow line, you see that Franklin is not bragging that God is behind him but rather the opposite — warning that the framers face so many difficulties they need all the help they can get, including prayer. (Via Marvin Ammori)
As Tim Noah points out in Slate, this quotation is also favored by those "who believe that the separation of church and state has become overly fastidious."

Cheney later claimed his wife selected the quote. Sure, and he didn't know about it? He added that if the U.S. were an empire, "We would certainly preside over a much greater piece of the earth's surface than we currently do."

Right, Mr. Cheney, but at least you know the good Lord's there to help you make it happen.

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