It should surprise no one that Dick Cheney isn’t a fan of the current administration. Seemingly every other day, Cheney makes a headline somewhere for reminding us how “less safe” the country is, but it’s a waste of ink. The only thing that ever changes is the dateline, but beyond that: same message, different location.

As a host sidenote, I find it remarkable that one of the least credible men in the last decade is able to ‘Chicken Little’ his way into headlines. What, with “being greeted as liberators” (how’d that work out?), “the insurgency being in it’s last throes” (prior to an massive increase in violence and insurgent activity), Iraq’s “connection” to 911 (pls see: no connection), Saddam’s “connection” to Al Qaeda (A Sunni dictator allowing another Sunni influence in his country? Negative.), outing a CIA operative after her husband (Joe Wilson) disputed claims of Al Qaeda seeking ‘yellow cake’ from Niger (Wilson was sent at the behest of Cheney, he just didn’t come back with the answer Dick wanted) and that Waterboarding is simply a ‘poor man’s water park ride’ (although we prosecuted / executed the Japanese for war crimes in WWII for waterboarding American P.O.W’s). Dick Cheney has as much credibility as my saying that Sarah Palin is qualified to endorse the effectiveness of abstinence education at home (pls see: Bristol Palin : pregnant : irony). But I digress.

But lately, Cheney’s “2009 Doom Tour” is getting more press than usual after CIA Director Leon Panetta commented on what he thinks is latent sadism hiding underneath Cheney’s soap box.

According to Panetta, Cheney is pushing his safety issue so hard that, “it’s almost as if he’s wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point.”

Awkward, no?

Of course, more than a few people have a problem with this regardless of party affiliations. If you agree with Panetta, then you’re in line with believing that the former vice president is arguing a point that can only be proven through the loss of American lives – and that he hopes for it – to vindicate himself and to exploit the political benefits for his party.

If you agree with Cheney, then you believe the director of the CIA just called the former vice president a terrorist.

Oh, I know Panetta didn’t actually call Cheney a terrorist, but saying Cheney is “wishing this country would be attacked,” is close enough . . . or at least it would have been good enough to land anyone else a suite in Gitmo (“Book now! Closing soon! Cheap rates!”) for saying it. I’m willing to bet Cheney knows that.

And even though I’ve never been a fan of Cheney (and that is putting it lightly), I have to say that when it comes to dissention and scare tactics, Panetta would be better off by using a play from Cheney’s book and avoiding that sort of tone until after he’s out of a job.

Look, what Cheney is doing is pointless. He isn’t discussing, he’s accusing. If you pass a guy who’s screaming “We’re all gonna die! We’re doomed!” on a street corner in NYC, you ignore him; but put that same guy in a suit and a position of power and suddenly you’ve got a headline.

The same holds true for Panetta. His position is why his statements are getting smeared all over the Internet–as if he were the first person to say it.

He wasn’t.

In an Op-Ed column for the New York Times dated May 30, Frank Rich wrote that the G.O.P “is almost rooting for a terrorist attack on Obama’s watch,” and that “when the next attack comes, it will be all Obama’s fault. A new ad shouting ‘We told you so!’ awaits only the updated video footage.”

But nobody really picked up on that one, at least not nationally. There was no retort from the shadows of Cheney’s lair or any press releases from any of his “people” (assuming they’re actually people and not Sleestacks).

And that’s because those comments (accusations?) were safe ones for Rich to make in the confines of a publication like the New York Times.

I had made mention of the same thing on my show roughly a month ago when Cheney discovered his ‘new found love’ of the media spotlight. Twisted? Yes. But politics is (unfortunately) twisted.

It was part of a greater argument that I had been making on the program for years relating to the false claim that we had not been attacked (save for that one really big one in September while they were on the job) as direct result of Bush / Cheney policies. The first attack on the WTC was in 1993…with 8 years before the next in 2001. After 2001, we were paying attention, however to say that any President can enact policies that will keep us 100% safe is misleading and irresponsible. Just because no speeding tickets were issued on Main street today, does not mean no one was speeding on Main street today – one statement does not make the other true – it is a false conflation. If an average Mexican Dad can get into this country illegally on a daily basis to work, do you really think that someone far better funded with more malicious intent could not? What Ninja skills of infiltration does Jose have that Abdul does not?

To me, the greater challenge is reducing the amount of those willing to commit such an act and the perception of the U.S. by those susceptible to recruitment. Abu Gharib was not a step in the right direction to meet this end. But back to my point, as I am just an average dude with too many opinions and a microphone…

Panetta is the director of the CIA, and when the director of the CIA has enough reason to believe–or go on record saying–that he thinks Dick Cheney wants Americans to die so he can prove a point, we officially have a mess.

This is more than bad press, people. This is bad AND unnecessary. So here’s hoping that Panetta learns to button it and (vainly) hoping for Cheney to stop beating that dead horse–a dead horse that wouldn’t have died in the first place had this country not been “less safe.” Yeah, I get it.

If it’s a choice between watching an emerging feud between the CIA and Dick Cheney and watching Sarah Palin go to war with Letterman, I’ll take Late Night.

It makes me feel safe. But no less irritated.

Dana