Via ThinkProgress, I see that David Axelrod hit back today against Dick Cheney’s recent criticisms of Obama’s foreign policy. George Bush, by contrast, has said that Obama “deserves our silence,” which prompted this from Axelrod: “He’s behaved like a statesman. And as Ive said before, here and elsewhere, I just dont think the memo got passed down to the vice president.”
I’ve been mulling this ever since Cheney started spouting off a few weeks ago, and I still haven’t really made up my mind about it. Does an outgoing administration owe an incoming one silence? I don’t think that’s always been the case (historians please correct me here if I’m wrong), and I wonder if it really should be. Sure, it would be unseemly for ex-presidents and their staffs to engage in partisan feeding frenzies after they leave office, but is there really any reason why they should all take vows of silence? If Cheney thinks torture and warrantless wiretapping are vital to the nation’s security, then maybe he should go ahead and say so. Why not?
Obviously this isn’t the best time to bring this up, since after eight years of wrecking the country most of us really do think the Bushies ought to take a nice, long time out. But just in general, and assuming it’s done in moderation, I’m not sure I see the harm in former administration mucky mucks continuing to express their (sincerely held!) opinions. Let a thousand flowers bloom and all that.