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Howard Gardner
Scholar

Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner is the Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero.

Hardly Helpful

I find it hard to believe that any knowledgeable person, of any political persuasion, would approve of the way that former Vice President Cheney has conducted himself in recent months. It's as if he had appointed himself as the official commentator on everything that has happened since he and President Bush have left office. The question to ask is: Under what circumstances should a former incumbent of high office comment critically on the actions of his or her successor?

In my view, this should happen only under extreme circumstances, and the comments should be as objective and non-inflammatory as possible. I can't conceive that Cheney posed the question to himself in that way. But then it is not surprising that Cheney is behaving in the way that does, because he always thought that the usual rules did not apply to him -- which is why we now have to deal with his lies about weapons of mass destruction,torture, spying on citizens etc.

In our 24-hour-a-day news cycle, it is difficult to know whether, and if yes, then how, to respond to Cheney. The last thing I'd like would be a point-by-point refutation of each of his comments. Yet it is not possible simply to ignore him. Hence, occasional responses, sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, may be the best way to marginalize him. If the offender were other than the former vice president of the United States, I would simply ignore what he said, or have a very low rank spokesperson respond in a brief, pointed way.

By Howard Gardner

 |  May 11, 2009; 4:01 PM ET
Category:  Followership Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I agree wholeheartedly! Well said, and well spoken.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | May 13, 2009 12:07 AM
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