Dick Cheney’s Legacy.

The picture of Dick Cheney in a wheelchair during the inauguration ceremony will prompt rousing cheers from the partisan left. They will cherish the symbolism of the administration’s chief policy maker and foe appearing crippled on the much-maligned administration’s final day in office. Apparently he pulled a muscle in his back.

Dick Cheney wheelchair

Cheney in Wheelchair at Inauguration Ceremony

But Dick Cheney’s legacy is far different which is why he is hated by the Obama crowd. Historians measure politicians in terms of power and influence, and there is no doubt that Vice President Cheney was the most power and influential VP in history. He will go down in history as a “great” vice president in the way historians measure greatness.

Dick Cheney more than anyone was responsible for steering a tight course against Islamic fundamentalism. He fiercely advocated offense rather than defense as the country went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. The wisdom of those decisions will be known later, in the context of history, but nobody was more successful at advocating a muscular US role in the world post-911.

In Congress he was known as a skillful and fierce negotiator who usually got what the administration wanted. He managed all of the Bush administration’s legislative agenda in Congress, which was wildly successful during the first term in office. He steered the Bush tax cut past unenthusiastic legislators, as well as the ill-advised prescription drug benefit, and he secured an overwhelming green light from Congress on the Iraq War with barely a peep from the Democrat opposition.

That was then and this is now. The Bush administration was largely unsuccessful in the past 4 years, except in two very important areas. They stayed the course in Iraq to surprising success. Where a weaker VP and president would have given in to fickle demands from the left, they did the right thing. That is the lesson learned from Vietnam and applied to Iraq: do not give up on a winnable war because liberals don’t like it. And their second success was the recent decisive action during a failed economy. Barack Obama inherits the second half of the banking stimulus package and owes a debt of gratitude to the effectiveness of an unpopular, outgoing administration.

So we see Dick Cheney in a wheelchair at the inauguration and remember his legacy as the most powerful vice president in U.S. history. He pulled a muscle in his back and will remain in the wheelchair for 2-3 more days. With the excessive parties finally over, one can hope that Barack Obama will get out of his figurative wheelchair in less time.