Will Bob Schieffer play dumb with Dick Cheney this Sunday?

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

Cheney's appearing on CBS's Face the Nation, apparently as part of his on-going anti-Obama smear campaign. (What else do you call Cheney's claim that Obama has made America less safe since taking the oath of office?) The question is, will Schieffer in his comments and questions to Cheney make this point perfectly clear to viewers: that what Cheney is doing with his high-profile attacks on the new administration is unprecedented. Period.

We have simply never seen, in modern American politics, the losing VP belittle a new president, just weeks into his first term, the way Cheney now routinely does in the media. Why? Because those were the ground rules the press established: if you, or your side, lost the November election (and especially if your side lost in a rout), you went away for a long time and remained silent. (Think Michael Dukakis or Bob Dole.)

Just ask Al Gore. The press used to consider it beneath contempt for the losing side to take partisan swipes at the White House winner during the early days of his presidency.

That's how the game was played for decades. But Cheney mounts a sustained anti-Obama media campaign and the Beltway press doesn't flinch. The press corps acts like it's normal; like that's what all former VP's do right after they vacate the WH. It's not. It's unprecedented.

Will Schieffer at least make a passing reference to that, or will he play dumb?

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