MSNBC Guest: Cheney May Have ‘Physiological’ or ‘Biological’ Problem, Compares Him to McCarthy

While appearing on the Tuesday installment of MSNBC’s All In, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell and retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson compared former Vice President Dick Cheney to Joseph McCarthy and suggested that he “cannot recognize reality” due to him either being “shocked” on 9/11 or suffering from a “physiological” or “biological” problem.

Host Chris Hayes brought Wilkerson on to respond to Cheney’s recent comments opposing the Iran deal and Wilkerson began by confessing that he’s “been searching for a single word that would describe Dick Cheney and I'm afraid the only one I can think of is insanity.”

Further describing Cheney’s behavior as “deliberate,” “methodical,” and “lucid insanity,” Wilkerson lamented that the former Vice President “simply cannot recognize reality” to due the following series of suggestions that included a possible hint that Cheney might be suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to the September 11, 2001 attacks:

Maybe it's physiological, maybe it's biological. Maybe 9/11 did something to him. After all, he was in charge when 9/11 happened. The greatest attack on the American territory since Pearl Harbor. That might have shocked him somewhat. I can't explain it, Chris, he is simply devoid of reason, and the doesn't recognize reality anymore. 

Of course, Hayes chose not to refute or push back on Wilkerson’s insinuations and instead tried to lead him to attack Senate Republicans for floating the idea that a vote on the Iran deal may occur on September 11 (aka Friday). 

While Wilkerson didn’t exactly take Hayes’ bait, he did continue his blasting of Cheney by invoking former Bush campaign and administration adviser Karl Rove: “Cheney and Rove master, the mastered the process of associating things that really get a number of the America people, if not a small majority, excited and fearful.” 

As often is the case, McCarthyism and the former Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy made another appearance on MSNBC as an on-air personality used it to bash Republicans:

I couldn't help but think there's a portion of Dick Cheney today that reminds me of Joseph McCarthy. The kind of baiting, the kind of fearful rhetoric and so forth. This is the sort of thing that paranoids do and I think McCarthy was a paranoid. I think Cheney may have gotten to that point too. There are people you can excite with this kind of logic. All you have to do is associate the fearful object with something else. It's totally illogical, but it works. 

After whining about Cheney having become a multi-millionaire and served prior to becoming Vice President as the CEO of Halliburton, Wilkerson capped off his castigating of Cheney with the declaration the he become “a man who lost his mind in some respects, in my view.”

The relevant portions of the transcript from MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes on September 8 can be found below.

MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes
September 8, 2015
8:23 p.m. Eastern

LAWRENCE WILKERSON: I've been searching for a single word that would describe Dick Cheney and I'm afraid the only one I can think of is insanity. It's a deliberate. It's a methodical, it's a lucid – often lucid insanity, but it's insanity nonetheless. He can't recognize reality, he can’t recognize the truth. The good thing, Chris, for this country is that independents, Republicans and Democrats wish he would just go away now. He has almost no influence. You saw the influence he has virtually by numbers. Those at the AEI today listening to his speech. That's about it. 

(....)

WILKERSON: At least 30 years of his career, and I saw him as secretary of defense a rather brilliant strategist, brilliant man. All of a sudden, he's turned into this person who simply cannot recognize reality. I can't explain it. Maybe it's physiological, maybe it's biological. Maybe 9/11 did something to him. After all, he was in charge when 9/11 happened. The greatest attack on the American territory since Pearl Harbor. That might have shocked him somewhat. I can't explain it, Chris, he is simply devoid of reason, and the doesn't recognize reality anymore. 

CHRIS HAYES: You know, you mentioned 9/11 and I was so struck today reading that account today that the Republicans made to put maximal political pressure on Democrats, take this vote on 9/11 and Corker talked about the irony. Quite clearly, bin laden hated the Iranian regime. The Iranian regime hated him back, hated the Taliban. They have nothing to do with each other except, I guess, you know, their faith, the part of the world. What do you make of this idea that on 9/11 vote somehow will put political pressure on Democrats

WILKERSON: Cheney and Rove master, the mastered the process of associating things that really get a number of the America people, if not a small majority, excited and fearful. Yesterday, Chris, my seminar explored Harry Truman in the Korean War and Senator McCarthy came up from Wisconsin – the anti-Communist scare and so forth and I couldn't help but think there's a portion of Dick Cheney today that reminds me of Joseph McCarthy. The kind of baiting, the kind of fearful rhetoric and so forth. This is the sort of thing that paranoids do and I think McCarthy was a paranoid. I think Cheney may have gotten to that point too. There are people you can excite with this kind of logic. All you have to do is associate the fearful object with something else. It's totally illogical, but it works. 

HAYES: You know, that’s a great point about the Cold War because in many respects, one of the great strategic blunders the U.S. continually made during the Cold War was projecting on to communism this monolithic nature. They're all communists, working for each other, the Chinese, Vietnamese, Russians, in Moscow and that proved not to be the case in any way and it strikes me to have the Iran vote on 9/11, shows some sort of similar thinking about the, quote, “threat.” 

WILKERSON: I think so. I think that's the way you get some of the American people exercised about a threat that's really different from the way you're describing it, or in some cases is not even existent and then you get a lot of money allocated to the military industrial complex and all this rest of the thing. I mean, Cheney's a millionaire now, so maybe I'm assuming his insanity, and maybe I'm wrong. Maybe he sees this as a way, a route to success, and it turned out to be profitable. His personal finances now are quite well established. He's a multi-millionaire. This is a man who in 1998, Chris, said most forcefully as CEO of Halliburton, that sanctions were not working...That they weren't working unless they were comprehensive or international and he wanted to do deals with Iran and so, he was bashing sanctions up one wall and down the other. This is a man who lost his mind in some respects in my view. 

NB Daily Foreign Policy Iran Iraq Middle East Media Bias Debate Labeling Conservatives & Republicans MSNBC All In Video Government & Press Joe McCarthy McCarthyism Dick Cheney Chris Hayes Lawrence Wilkerson
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