I don’t know how else to interpret his obviously self-destructive grandstanding this weekend. But think of the long view for a moment. Here is a former vice-president, who enjoyed unprecedented power for eight long, long years. No veep ever wielded power like he did in the long history of American government. In the months after 9/11, he swept all Congressional resistance away, exerted total executive power, wielded a military and paramilitary apparatus far mightier than all its rivals combined and mightier than any power in history, tapped any phone he wanted, claimed the right to torture any suspect he wanted (and followed through with thousands, from Bagram to Abu Ghraib) and was able to print and borrow money with impunity to finance all of it without a worry in the world. But even after all that, he cannot tolerate a few months of someone else, duly elected, having a chance to govern the country with a decent interval of grace.
What character does this reveal? The same character that sees torture – torture – as a “no-brainer”. The same man who believes that freezing naked prisoners to hypothermia or strapping them to a board for a 175th near-drowning or stringing them up in stress positions so long the shackles rust up is in line with America’s constitutional history and custom. The same tyrannical temperament that cannot abide another reality existing which isn’t hammered or tortured into the shape he wants and demands.Worse: he launches verbal assault after assault on the men and women who succeeded him. He accuses them of risking the lives of Americans, of making America less safe, and openly brags that his violation of the Geneva Conventions worked. Not content with writing his memoirs and letting history judge, he flails around like some prize fish, flapping on the deck of the boat, opening and shutting his mouth as his career expires.