Where's Dick Cheney on the BP Oil Gusher?

So where's Dick Cheney? Writing for Newsweek, Ravi
Somaiya observes that in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon
disaster, the former vice president has remained "notably silent."

What's notable, Somaiya points out, is that, "When the Obama
administration, or the media, or just about anybody contradicts Dick
Cheney's views on national security, he is far from shy about
responding." So as a hawk for big oil, one might expect Cheney to defend
his pro-petro views in the face of withering
(and near-universal) opprobrium
from both public and president.

For eight years, of course, Cheney played dual roles as vice
president of the United States and as unofficial at-large congressman
for the petroleum industry. The former vice president's murky
ties to Halliburton
, the Houston oil services company he once ran,
are well
, and he continues to face ridicule for having
allowed executives from oil companies to dictate American energy policy

during the George W. Bush presidency.

At Mother Jones, Kate
Sheppard looks extensively into the potential cause-and-effect
relationship between Cheney's infamous 2001 energy task force and the
gulf catastrophe
. "The task force's final report," Sheppard writes,
"...presented a rosy picture of the offshore drilling industry. Newer oil
and gas drilling methods, it said, 'practically eliminate spills from
offshore platforms' and 'enhance worker safety, lower risk of blowouts,
and provide better protection of groundwater resources.'"

Symbolic of Cheney's connection -- past,
present, and future -- to Big Oil is BP's
hiring of Anne Womack-Kolton
as its chief of U.S. media relations.
Womack-Kolton served as Cheney's press secretary during the 2004
campaign and later worked for President Bush's Department of Energy.
While this small bit of employment news is far too circumstantial to gin
up serious outrage, it nonetheless puts a nice bow around the
questionable coziness between government and industry that Bush and
Cheney encouraged during their time in the White House.

Perhaps the blatancy of this connection is contributing to the veep's
reticence. Whatever the reason, Cheney seems content to let his
daughter, Liz Cheney, defend Big Oil and the family legacy, as she did
-- ineffectively -- on ABC's "This Week" earlier this month. If you have
a better defense to offer, Mr. Cheney, now might be the time.

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