Dick Cheney. Remember him?

He served as vice president under George W. Bush. Some mockingly say he called the shots then; George W., the president, cut the ribbons whenever a “Mission Accomplished” message needed to be given. Whatever one wants to believe about those two (it’s been reported that Bush doesn’t talk to his former VP any more), it no longer matters. Or so we think.

Cheney and his heart problems are still around. And the former Darth Vader of U.S. politics still feels he has the right to dictate orders to the president. Although this time he’s taking a back door in a dark alley called Marco Rubio. Cheney, you see, did not back Trump’s quest for the presidency, although he says he voted for him. That, he feels, gives him the right to involve himself in Trump’s pick for secretary of state.

ExxonMobil C.E.O. Rex Tillerson, Trump’s choice to lead State, is an “inspired choice”, said Cheney, who happens to have close ties to Tillerson — the same man who oversaw deals with Halliburton in Iraq when Cheney was in power.

“Follow the money” came to mind when I heard of this relationship. It was the catchphrase used in the movie “All The President’s Men” when Washington Post reporters Woodward and Bernstein helped bring down a crooked president.

Whatever the case may be, what we do know about Cheney is that he’s a liar and a cheat. And I write this not because I dislike the man (which I do, immensely); it is because recent history bears this out. Or who created the false ‘weapons of mass destruction’ campaign that helped drive us into Iraq? (Liar.) And whose former company (Halliburton, which he headed before taking on the role of VP over Bush) reaped (or should I write raped) the benefits of that ugly war that created the chaos we’re in right now? (Cheat.)

Allow me to cite Angelo Young, of the International Business Times, who wrote in 2013 that “private or publicly listed firms received at least $138 billion of U.S. taxpayer money for government contracts for services that included providing private security, building infrastructure and feeding the troops.”

And who was the number one benefactor in this bonanza of U.S. dollars?

“The No. 1 recipient?” asked Young in the IBT article. His answer follows:

“Houston-based energy-focused engineering and construction firm KBR, Inc. (NYSE:KBR), which was spun off from its parent, oilfield services provider Halliburton Co. (NYSE:HAL), in 2007.

“The company was given $39.5 billion in Iraq-related contracts over the past decade, with many of the deals given without any bidding from competing firms, such as a $568-million contract renewal in 2010 to provide housing, meals, water and bathroom services to soldiers, a deal that led to a Justice Department lawsuit over alleged kickbacks, as reported by Bloomberg.”

Under normal circumstances Tillerson would have a slim (if any at all) chance of being approved by the U.S. Senate to carry out the role of secretary of state. His business dealings with Russia and his close ties to Vladimir Putin would have kept him out of the nominating process to begin with. But under a President Trump the rules seem to be changing. And the man who promised to “drain the swamp” he once called Washington, D.C., seems to be building a pool full of characters scarier than the swamp’s alligators and snakes.

But what does Rubio have to do with any of this?

A Vanity Fair article states that “Rubio joined the ranks of senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham by indicating that he might break with the G.O.P. over Tillerson’s controversial ties to the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin.”

Writer Abigail Tracy then adds that “Cheney’s machinations, unsurprisingly, have turned to Marco Rubio.” She stresses that “Rubio’s vote could prove decisive. With an edge of 52 to 48 seats in the Senate, McCain, Graham and Rubio would be enough to block Tillerson, assuming Democrats also formed a unified front in opposition of the oil executive. But of the trio, Rubio is in a uniquely powerful position. Tillerson’s confirmation will begin in the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, where Republicans control just 10 seats to Democrats’ nine, meaning that Rubio has the power to kill the nomination before it even reaches the Senate floor.”

Cheney and Rubio. Oh boy, what a duo. I say follow Rubio as the Senate vetting process begins. Cause if there’s one thing we know, FOR SURE, Mr. Rubio has no problem changing his mind.

And if Mr. Cheney promises him a pot of gold… Marco Rubio may soon take the lead in the Senate to assure Mr. Tillerson’s confirmation as U.S. secretary of state.

So I suggest we keep an eye on Marco.

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One Response to Follow the money… and Marco Rubio

  1. Do we know what the impact of a Secretary of State Tillerson would be on US-Cuba relations? He, like Donald Trump, appears to dislike unilateral economic sanctions from the perspective of disadvantaged US companies.

    Did he or Exxon Mobile show any interest in the potential of oil in Cuban territorial waters that would become accessible to US companies only after the embargo is lifted?

    If Trump and Tillerson want to end the embargo, they have a far better chance to create the necessary Congressional coalition than did Hillary Clinton. Perhaps that is why Rubio was so quick to condemn Tillerson.

    The question remains, consistent with its own interests and sovereignty, can Cuba invent a “better deal” for Trump?

    John McAuliff
    Fund for Reconciliation and Development

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