Dick Cheney admits he has no professional regrets in a new documentary debuting at 9:00 p.m. on Showtime. Directed by R.J. Cutler and Greg Finton, The World According to Dick Cheney details the rocky youth and political controversies of one of Washington’s most polarizing figures. From Wyoming to Washington, the film reveals both the human side of Cheney who likes to fly fish, and the warhorse willing to do anything to capture a terrorist, even if it means using “enhanced interrogation tactics.”
Cutler and Finton interviewed Cheney for twenty hours on his life and political career. In the film, Cheney is portrayed as a hard-nosed and cunning neoconservative that has little time to ponder past mistakes. Known by his critics as the man behind the curtain pulling the strings and orchestrating White House policy for eight years, the film is more of a biography as opposed to a confession of wrong doings.
So if detractors were expecting long overdue answers to questions regarding his involvement with Halliburton, back room deals with oil companies or the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, don’t expect any. Instead, Cheney exhibits arrogance and a complete lack of humility for neglecting to acknowledge past mistakes. In the film, Cheney states, “I did what I did, it’s all on the public record, and, um, I feel very good about it. If I had to do it over again, I’d do it in a minute.”
Even Cheney's boss, George W. Bush, has admitted mistakes and regrets from his time in the White House. With a political career spanning nearly four decades, certainly there is a time when Cheney has made a mistake. Still, if he honestly believes that his tenure as Vice President was perfect, make something up to demonstrate some level of humility.
Confidence is always a positive sign of a good leader, but being confident without the ability to say, “I was wrong” is arrogance. One can hope that Cheney is simply too embarrassed to admit past mistakes, but wise men learn from their wrong doings; and in order to learn from mistakes, Cheney would actually have to admit his. According to a CNN article, true leaders have confidence, but realize the point at which it becomes hubris. By refusing to admit wrong doings, Cheney demonstrates excessive pride in his leadership skills and an exaggerated sense of self-importance. Cutler put it best when asked about Cheney’s admission stating, "I believe strongly that the engine of democracy requires men and women of conviction. But there are also limits. It can lead to other things — demagoguery and zealotry. It raises questions of what we look for in our leaders."
Cheney is not without mistakes, however. In the film he does repent for the misadventures of his teen years and early 20s, as he did some jail time during those periods. Cheney admits he regrets leaving Yale to get his act together. With most people regretting many life and professional choices, it is nice to know Cheney isn't perfect after all.