Dick Cheney: Tea party ‘positive’ for GOP
By: Tal Kopan
October 21, 2013 07:43 AM EDT
Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday that the tea party is a positive influence on the Republican Party.
“I think they raised issues that an awful lot of Americans care about,” Cheney said on NBC’s “Today” show. “It’s an uprising, in part, and the good thing is it’s taken place within the Republican Party. I don’t see it as a negative. I think it’s much better to have that kind of turmoil and change in the Republican Party than it would be to have it outside.”
Cheney, who has a new book coming out about struggles with his heart health, said that while he doesn’t consider himself a member of the tea party, its frustration with Washington is “healthy.”
“I’m not a card-carrying member — I don’t think there is a card — but I have respect for what the people are doing,” Cheney said. “These are Americans. They’re loyal, they’re patriotic, they’re taxpayers and they’re fed up with what they see happening in Washington. I think it’s a normal healthy reaction, and the fact that the party is having to adjust to it is positive.”
Cheney also said it’s time for the party to make way for new leadership, including his daughter, when asked about Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
“He represents the thinking of an awful lot of people, obviously in Texas,” Cheney said. “But my own daughter is running for the U.S. Senate from Wyoming, partly motivated by the concern that Washington’s not working, that the system is breaking down and that it’s time for new leadership.”
His daughter, Liz Cheney, is challenging Republican incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi, a longtime friend of her father’s. The elder Cheney said he would do all he could to help his daughter in her race, but that the best thing might be to “stay out of the way.”
“My time’s up. I had a great time, but we really do need new talent,” Cheney said. “Here we’ve got a woman who has five children, has got the drive and the energy to represent that next generation, and we need to be passing on leadership in the party to that next generation. So I think it’s a very healthy development.”