Cheney Rerouted the In- and Out-Boxes of White House Power

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cheney wave twn.jpg
There is one book that explains the Bush presidency just about better than any other I have read — and it hardly deals with Bush. It focuses on Vice President Cheney’s all-but-in-name presidency.
Barton Gellman’s Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency deserves another Pulitzer on top of the one that Gellman and co-author Jo Becker already won in 2008 for their riveting four part series on Cheney, his team, and their surprisingly large impact on the nation’s economic and national security positions.
I reviewed the book for this month’s American Conservative magazine. The entire essay is linked here but here is an excerpt for others:

The curious way in which Cheney maneuvered himself onto Bush’s ticket is one of many disturbing stories in this new and brilliantly researched account of Cheney’s adventures as Bush’s “No. 2.” Barton Gellman, Pulitzer-winning Washington Post journalist, examines the nuts and bolts of Cheney’s power apparatus. He shows how a mere vice president engineered a massive expansion of presidential power, knocked back the constitutional authority of Congress and the judiciary, helped launch an illegitimate war, developed a system for spying on America’s citizens, oversaw White House-sanctioned torture, and pushed official secrecy to unprecedented levels. We see how Cheney punctured America’s mystique as a benign and respected nation–how he shattered the moral, economic, and military pillars of American power.
Gellman had access to a surprising number of Cheney’s close aides and others in the Bush White House. He records previously unknown anecdotes about the inner workings of the administration and Cheney’s take-no-prisoners approach to winning policy battles. While Bush and members of his inner circle like Karl Rove seemed to be obsessed with the political machinations of their work, Cheney had a deeper purpose behind his crusades. For him politics and political gamesmanship, seduction, and intimidation were all about changing the nation’s policy course–all about principle. Cheney wasn’t much interested in weather politics. When Bush ordered him to survey Hurricane Katrina’s damage, he reluctantly complied. But his heart and soul were invested in the most important and controversial aspects of the Bush presidency, the policy areas he cared about most–terrorism, intelligence, national security, energy, environmental policy, tax and budget issues.
Gellman makes the fascinating and convincing claim that Cheney’s notorious secret meetings with energy lobbyists, which prompted legal complaints from various NGO’s, Congress, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office, were never about anything important. Cheney and his abrasive lawyer David Addington wanted to bring on governmental crises and tensions with Congress in order to demonstrate the dominance and infallibility of presidential power, which they defined as the “unitary executive.” In Gellman’s framing, Cheney saw 9/11, discussions with energy lobbyists, and even torture policy as mere vehicles for asserting his vision of a near monarchial presidency.
Angler leads its readers to think that, even without 9/11, Cheney would have found triggers to justify his imperial expansion of presidential powers and official secrecy, his pugnacious disregard for international law, the huge defense spending increases, the war against Iraq–or whatever nation would show that America was an irresistible force–and the massive tax cuts. Gellman argues that Cheney was never an apostle of neoconservatism. He didn’t have a burning desire to establish democracy in Iraq. For Cheney, John Bolton, Addington, and others, Iraq was but a means to an end–a tool to expand presidential prerogatives. The same does not necessarily apply to Scooter Libby, a leading neoconservative thinker who strongly favored the invasion for ideological reasons.
This book is simply one of the scariest stories ever written about contemporary America. Cheney and Addington essentially hijacked the bureaucracy of national security and put themselves in the cockpit of government. In chapter after chapter, we read how Cheney set about constructing a secretive system of government and policymaking in which he was accountable to almost no one. We see, for instance, how Cheney pushed through the second round of tax cuts–a move that made even Bush uncomfortable–and how he undermined Christine Todd Whitman, then administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, over laws regarding air quality.
In contrast to the protagonist and his agents, there are heroes. John Bellinger, a senior lawyer on the National Security Council and then at the State Department under Condoleezza Rice, fought for the interests of Congress and international law. For that, he was beleaguered by Addington and frozen out of the conspiracy to create the legal rationalization for the domestic electronic eavesdropping program. He has nonetheless stayed in the game for the last seven years, trying to bring about a return to Geneva-like standards and end the administration’s extralegal detainee policies.
[For more, read here.]

Bravo to Joe Biden who during his debate with Sarah Palin said how it was with Cheney. Biden called him “one of the most dangerous vice presidents in America’s history.”
Gellman’s book tells you why. It’s a must read.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

31 comments on “Cheney Rerouted the In- and Out-Boxes of White House Power

  1. Rick B says:

    Steve,
    Great review, and you have achieved the reason for publishing reviews. I have ordered the book.
    Obviously a good insight into Cheney’s operations should raise a large number of questions. Let me ask one question and add a comment.
    The question: A great many people have anticipated that Bush will create some form of “October Surprise” between now and the Presidential election in order to get McCain elected President. But if Cheney has been the primary motivator of so many of the White House activities, is Cheney either interested or in a position to cause some kind of international incident in the next two weeks? What is the relationship between McCain and Cheney?
    The comment: I am convinced that the Reagan Revolution and its underlying conservative ideology have led directly to the present credit crisis and Recession. Your review of Gellman’s book suggests that behind the scenes of – and perhaps frequently unrelated to – the free market small government deregulation philosophy that has given us the current economic crises there has been a very different mechanism for many of the disasters that have been created by the Bush administration.
    Whether that is true or not, I suspect that this book will be the basis for a lot of the defenses created by conservatives to avoid blame for the disastrous state that America has been brought down to. It won’t wash. Dick Cheney and his acolytes may not have been driven by the conservative philosophy so much as their own drive for the Unitary Executive, but they have been a key element of Republican dominance in American national politics for the last three decades and especially so since 2001. The Conservatives who will be wanting to distance themselves from him and claim that he is not a conservative (laughable) are the same ones who linked arms and supported his actions in lockstep, just as the social conservatives have. Conservatives are driven as much be social cronyism as they are by their myth of an ideology. They just don’t like to look at that aspect of being a conservative.

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  2. TonyForesta says:

    Agreed, – sadly – Don Bacon, but at hopefully we can return to the rule of law, and respect for and honoring of the Constitution.

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  3. Don Bacon says:

    TonyForesta,
    There is no way that America will be restored “to her former greatness”, thank God. If you’ve been keeping up with the news you know that the world has changed and there’s no going back. Thanks to the evil folks in Washington (Reagan was right) the days of US world hegemony are over. RIP.

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  4. TonyForesta says:

    Hardly a discussion Don Bacon. (Dem’s are “evil”, the facists in the bushgov and the gop are doing godz will. Amen)
    I take no comfort in the sad fact that dems have indeed been party to the bloody costly horrors, failures, deceptions, crisis, cataclysms, catastrophes, and wanton profiteering of the fascists in the bushgov and thier lockstep partisans in the gop.
    Now we all will hazard and endure the terrible price. The gop has absolutely nothing to stand on, other than hollow promises, partisan parables, myths and propaganda, and an abiding hatred for the other half of their fellow Americans. Come November, should Obama win, we will all witness if the fundamental changes many of us are hoping will restore America to her former greatness and Constitutional integrity come about. If McCain wins – we are toast!

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  5. Don Bacon says:

    TonyForesta,
    Regarding the Dems I’ve had this same discussion with Todd Gitlin, the quintessential Democrat. The choice boils down to deciding if the Dems were (A) weak or (B) evil. Todd goes with A; I go with B. The good/bad Dem/Repub divide holds no appeal for me. Tell me again the difference between Coke and Pepsi?
    Regarding Obama, I’ve not seen any disavowal of The Long War, and no explanation of why the US needs expanded ground forces. You avoided that one.
    With Afghanistan there is some sign of hope that the 100-day study that General Petraeus has initiated will result in some kind of political solution there, because despite your faith in ninjas there can be no military solution. The deep desire for profit from continued instability and war [click on my name to see where I stand on that], which you recognize correctly, will probably doom any settlement but one can hope.

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  6. TonyForesta says:

    I said Don Bacon, that “democrats are responsible for supporting the failed policies”. But let me jog your memory by stating the fact that the fascists in the bushgov and cheney particularly deceptively massmarketed “sexedup”, “dodgey”, single sourced, unvetted, hype, exaggerations, disinformation, and patent lies to falsley justify these fascist policies and terrorize the American people and congress into supporting them. Anyone who dare to challenge, question, dissent with, or oppose these pernicious policies and excuses for wanton profiteering was ruthlessly slimed as unpatriotic, anti-American, appeasers, and cowards, giving aid and comfort to the evildoers. Now democrats were week, and lacked the temerity to rigorously investigate these false justifications, and fascist policies and just say NO! Democrats are responsible and culpable for this terrible failure of leadership. But no sentient being can deny that it was the fascists in the bushgov conjured, massmarketed, sold, and stuffed these policies down all our throats.
    With regard to Afghanistan, Obama is talking about an “expanded” military presense in that conflict, which every military expert is warning is grossly underresouced. That said, I personally would challenge Obama as well if he were to promote any kind of massive Iraqlike invasion and occupation scenario in Afghanistan. We need more troops, yes, – but defeating the Taliban and jihadists will require police actions, covert and special operations, secret squirrels, ninja’s, assets that look, speak, and act like our enemies, hunt and discover their cells, and capture or preferrably kill them. Again the fascists do not want to defeat the jihadists. They want neverendingwar and huge WWIIlike military operations because they singularly and exclusively PROFIT from these kinds of oldworld enterprizes. Our enemies fight and asymetric ways, and we must apply 4th generation asymetric tactics and strategies to defeat them.

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  7. Don Bacon says:

    TonyForesta,
    Ah, yes, the helpless Dems were “DECEPTIVELY forced” to vote for the Patriot Act, FISA, the “neverendingwaronterror” and all those war spending bills and because the Dems were deceived Cheney alone “forced these odious policies down all our throats”. Reminds me of that line from West Side Story: We’re not depraved, we’re deprived. Or in this case, deceived.
    And as for “thousands of troops roaming hostile regions” nobody has asked Obama, given that he wants to pull 140,000 troops out of Iraq: In the light of continued US military failures, why do you want an expanded military ground force? Nobody has asked him that question. Odd, that.

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  8. TonyForesta says:

    Cutting points Don Bacon. The hope is the restoration rule of law and the Constitution. This will demand a swift reversal of the invasion and occupation scenarios and a concerted focus on police actions and operations. Covert, special op, secret squirrel, ninja activities that will infiltrate the jihadists cells, laze high value targets and eliminate them. The bush/cheney obsession with old world huge land forces and hundreds of thousands of troops roaming hostile regions like legionaires is stupid and suicidal, though lucrative for the wanton profiteers in the fascist bushgov. The fascist do not wish to win the neverendingwaronterror, but to prolong it, – because they profit from it.
    Slime the dems all you want. It is the fascists in the bushgov, and the gop that are culpable and responsible for the bloody, costly failures, deceptions, and abuses in Iraq and the socalled neverendingwaronterror. I’ll admit that dems are responsible for supporting these failed policies, but it was the fascist in the bushgov, and the gop that DECEPTIVELY forced these odious policies down all our throats, and it is the fascists in the bushgov and gop who own this FAILURE.

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  9. TonyForesta says:

    The ghosts you conjure kotzabasis originate in your own mind. Jihadist shaitans exits no doubt, but so do the people who funded and supported them. Evildoers may pose some existential threat to America in your mind, but from my perspective they are cavemen, no different than cheney: obdurate, fundamentalist, fascists, and willing to resort to the most heinous acts to achieve their evil designs. Bin laden proclaimed the desire to destroy America economically, which horrifyingly may be coming to fruition. Cheney and his ilk, focused on marauding Iraq’s oil and profiteering from a war that was neither necessary, just, nor legal and let bin ladin loose in the netherreaches of Wazirastan. The principle I stand by are the Constitution and the rule of law, which fiends and shaitans in Cheney’s brood shredded and raped. Either way the evildoers are still loose and Cheney remains untouchable, “Olympian”, and forever damned for perverting the core principles that formally defined America to thwart an enemy he and his ilk created, funded, armed, trained, and allowed to escape.

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  10. Don Bacon says:

    Kathleen, carol, jon, leo, dqueue, TonyForesta, dawn, chopper and joy all believe that Cheney is a despicable character with jon suggesting impeachment and leo a congressional investigation. But the fact is that the Dems endorsed the Patriot Act and all of the other criminal activities of the Bush administration, including war and torture, and none of the Dems, except Feingold, resisted it and he got NO support. Regarding impeachment, except for Kucinich, it was off the table. The Dems were AWOL on all the important issues, and voted for every war spending bill which has sunk this nation deep in debt.
    Zathras asks, correctly: “So under an Obama administration, what changes?” There has been no disavowal of executive privelege, no promises to respect the Constitution and Obama intends to expand the military and not only militarily reinforce the failure in Afghanistan, which even SecDef Gates has reservations about, but extend the war to Pakistan.
    So who will be the new scapegoat for Dem spinelessness after Cheney is gone?

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  11. kotzabasis says:

    Questions,
    Principles can only be upheld by the life-blood of the LIVING, and like everything in both the animate and inanimate nature principles too have their rank and the right of existence is the FIRST and irreversible principle.
    If you think the Islamist threat was, and is, an exaggeration, which was used by the Administration nefariously “to enlarge state power”,and it merely had a ‘ghostly’ existence, then all I can say to you is that you must be a denizen of the ghostly world that has no connection with reality.

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  12. Joy says:

    I am reading the book now. It is truly scary. One can only hope that this never happens again in America. If he wasn’t so evil, he would be pure genius.

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  13. chopper says:

    Sign of the horns:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corna
    Cheney has revealed himself!

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  14. chopper says:

    Love how ambiguous this picture is. Seeing his hand gesture from the rear, it looks like he could be flashing the devil sign (index and pinky extended, thumb across middle and ring fingers).
    You can’t tell for sure, because you can’t see his thumb. And that he’s flashing it through the rear windows of the VP limo, which are probably tinted. So those outside can’t actually see him. All of which of course lends it a delicious ambiguity.
    Cheney indeed may be the antichrist.

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  15. Dawn says:

    Thanks for you review – I have been waiting for a book that tells the story of that month in Crawford in 2000 when Cheney essentially picked himself as VP. It seems that this book tells that story with authoritative sources. I can only read one book about Cheney and keep my sanity, so this will be the one.

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  16. TonyForesta says:

    Your defense of Cheney, and his fascists minions kotzabasis, while poetic is flawed by your abiding attraction to the fiction of ” their political and strategic insight, strength of character, and their indefatigable efforts to shield the United States and the West from the fanatical irreconcilable enemies of Islam.” You are selling, defending, excusing, and shielding the underlying fictions and myths that fascists like Cheney and co. utilize to justify the rape dismemberment and dismantling of the Constitution, their “Olympian” obssessions with power and control, and their systemic lawlessness and wanton profiteering.
    Hold to your creepy vision of Cheney based on your false visions and fairytales of strength and insight, – but facts, reality, events in the field – not blind attraction, and the parroting of partisan parables and myths will rightfully define Cheney and his hobgoblins among the darkest, scariest, most nefarious, and tragically most powerfull government officials in the sordid history of America.
    Any cursory examination of the carnage wrought on America by the fascists and Cheney particularly will prove this point, if you bother to look passed the fascist hymnals.
    If the American people ever muster the courage to demand a real 9/11 investigation, – the invidious lie that Cheney and the fascists, “The Chosen Ones” were ever “protecting” America will be forever damned.
    Your circles may follow the perverted Machiavellian nonesense articulated in this eerily poingnant quote: “In order to achieve the most noble accomplishments, the leader may have to ‘enter into evil.’ This is the chilling insight that has made Machiavelli so feared, admired and challenging… we are rotten…. It’s true that we can achieve greatness if, and only if, we are properly led”, – but the rest of us do not.
    Cheney et al. operate on the darkside, in the caverns and shadows, and sustain thier lofty power and positions by cloaking thier actions in darkness and a complex web of lies and deceptions. The unknown unknown machinations and crimes remain unseen, only because the people, out of fear, or apathy simply choose not to peer into the darkness and shine light on the rot.
    Thanks Mr. Clemons for mentioning this work. It is a mustread.

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  17. Kathleen says:

    dqueue…COG Plans indeed… that was the issue at that midnight meeting in John Aschroft’s hospital room….it was so egregioius, in it’s data gathering, AG James Comey rushed to Ashcroft’s room when he learned that Alberto Gonzales and Andrew Card were headed there to get Ashcroft to sign on, over Comey’s;’ objection… they both refused , but the Dynamic Duo in the WH just went ahead anyway, without the DOJ’s approval. They monitor internet traffic, update it every 45 days…
    Meanwhile,the same day the Senate enacted the FISA law, the Senate Commerce Committe held hearings with Telecom Execs and heard that they regularly monitor customer’s internet traffic and supply it companies who telemarket…I’m sure they regulary supply it to the NSA as well…..
    COG having to do with National Emergencies and Martial Law…Naomi Wolf’s piece about Congressmen who did not support the bailout bill being threatened with Martial Law in their districts, piqued my interest…
    Isn’t it time we applied the One Percent Doctrine to Cheney?

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  18. Don Bacon says:

    Hillary Clinton thought that war with Iraq was a good idea because, among others, Hussein was a threat to the United States and, in her wisdom, she even said to George Bush “use these powers wisely”. Bush and wisely in the same sentence?? Oh, this is all because Dick Cheney had hoodwinked poor Hillary? How was Cheney able to con Clinton, Biden and Kerry and the other helplessly impressionable Dems when many of us knew this would be a bogus war?
    It wasn’t my fault, Cheney made me do it. How pathetic.
    Floor Speech of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
    on S.J. Res. 45, A Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq — Oct 10, 2002
    . . .So, Mr. President, the question is how do we do our best to both defuse the real threat that Saddam Hussein poses to his people, to the region, including Israel, to the United States, to the world, and at the same time, work to maximize our international support and strengthen the United Nations? . . .
    So it is with conviction that I support this resolution as being in the best interests of our nation. A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war; it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our President and we say to him – use these powers wisely and as a last resort.

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  19. questions says:

    Kotzabasis,
    Doesn’t your interpretation depend on a few assumptions that you need to back up with real arguments? First, is the threat from “the fanatical irreconcilable enemies of Islam” as threatening as you think? Was there exaggeration of the threat in order to enlarge state power– so that state power is the goal and protection is the excuse?
    Second, should we put life so far ahead of liberty that we are never willing to die/suffer for principle? What does that say about soldiers who give up their lives for principles?
    Third, if we give up all of this liberty on the hopes of being safe, what’s the guarantee of safety? Given that the feds are using wire tapping to listen to phone sex between soldiers and partners, I kind of think that we’re not really safe from our own government. And given the fact that people can be rounded up, declared enemy combatants, denied writs of habeas corpus, and thrown into prison, maybe you should think about that quis custodiet ipsos custodes phrase (if I have the Latin correct).
    In the end, you need to think through the purposes of having government. Is government there merely for protection of the quantity life at any cost to the quality? Is the government there to encourage growth and development of citizens? To help us with division of labor and cooperation issues? To protect us when we’re weak? Merely to defend us from outside enemies? To help us bury the dead? To encourage a culture’s being passed down? The list is along one. You’ve picked only one possible answer. Justify your response.

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  20. kotzabasis says:

    “Scariest stories ever written about contemporary America” is the story that makes some of the political toddlers above to run and cover themselves under their bed sheets. Sans political wisdom, sans political and historical insight, and hence, sans cognitive and intellectual legitimacy they attempt to analyse the world shaking event of 9/11 and the Administration’s protagonists response to the crescent shaped bolt that appeared over the blue sky of America with their childish fears. And for fear to be effective it must have its bogey apparitions. So we have Cheney, Addington, and Bolton wrapped up with white sheets in the middle of the night scaring the bejeesus out of the liberal intelligentsia with their nefarious schemes of “a massive expansion of presidential power” starting an “illegitimate war,” creating “a system for spying on American citizens…sanctioned torture”, and “pushed official secrecy to unprecedented levels.” The critics of Cheney, Addington, and Bolton never learning the abc and never reaching the omega of statecraft are shocked to see and it’s beyond their comprehension that in moments of national crises the expansion and concentration of presidential power is the sine qua non of strong political leadership and a necessary but temporary measure to protect a nation from malicious lethal enemies, both external and internal.
    All the above measures that Clemons highlights were instigated by the Vice President solely for the protection of America. It was an unenviable task and it could only be performed by the strong. One must not forget that in hard times only the hard men/women prevail. And Cheney, Addington, and Bolton will be panoramic figures in American history for their political and strategic insight, strength of character, and their indefatigable efforts to shield the United States and the West from the fanatical irreconcilable enemies of Islam.

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  21. Zathras says:

    So under an Obama administration, what changes?
    That’s not a rhetorical question. The role of the Vice President, transparency of government, responsiveness to Congressional oversight, access to the media, transition of the campaign organization directly to the White House — all of these areas saw very substantial changes from past practice during the Bush administration. Obama’s supporters, not entirely unlike Bush’s supporters eight years ago, appear to assume that once he gets in everything will be all right; he is the leader, they are the followers, they know his place and they know theirs. I hope to be forgiven for asking how, exactly, everything will be all right. How much of Bush’s legacy will be explicitly repudiated by an Obama administration, and what will replace it?

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  22. dqueue says:

    Scarier yet are the Continuity of Government plans, largely
    designed and deployed by Cheney and Rumsfeld decades ago.
    More terrifying still is the fact much of these Continuity of
    Government plans remain concealed from Congress, shroud in
    some miasma of official secrecy.
    Pure evil, personified.

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  23. Paul Norheim says:

    I couldn`t resist writing and posting a handful of comments
    and question marks regarding certain sentences and
    formulations of your excellent review, Steve. To make it easier
    to read, I`ve put our names before the quotes and comments.
    STEVE: “Life of Vice”
    PAUL: Great title!
    STEVE: “The contemporary version might say that “Bush reigned,
    Cheney ruled, and Congress, the nation, and the world
    complained.””
    PAUL: Clever formulation, but is it accurate? Perhaps “the world”
    somehow complained (Joshka Fisher, Mitterand and others
    certainly did. So did I (who usually sit in a peanut gallery located
    somewhere in Norway), among millions of European
    demonstrators before the Iraq war). But I would say that the
    Congress rather “complained” – and as many commentators
    here have noticed, there is a huge difference between
    complaining and “complaining”.
    STEVE: “Instead, he rerouted the in- and outboxes of power in
    the White House and turned himself into the nation’s most
    consequential political force. ”
    PAUL: This is a brilliant formulation, since the control of
    information (who, and when) was one of Cheney`s biggest
    skills, and describes his modus operandi.
    STEVE: “Now think about a Bush presidency with Oklahoma Gov.
    Frank Keating or Sens. Chuck Hagel, Lamar Alexander, or Bill
    Frist as vice president—all of whom were vetted by Cheney as
    he went through the shortlist of Bush’s possible running mates.
    What would the world look like had one of these men been
    chosen? My hunch is that America’s national security and
    economic portfolios would not be in the meltdown that they are
    in today.”
    PAUL: The “economic portfolios” as well? Ask Volker, or Soros. I
    guess they would disagree on that. Much of this can be traced
    to things happening long before Cheney/Bush. Would Hagel,
    Alexander, or Frist feel fiscally responsible in a different way
    than Cheney after the economic euphoria of the 90`s? Perhaps.
    But then again, would they have demanded the same VP powers
    as Cheney got, as well as the courage to say: “no”? Plenty of if`s
    and but`s here. However, a hunch is, uh… a hunch. And
    Cheney`s activities certainly contributed big time towards the
    current meltdown of both “portfolios” (you love that word, don`t
    you?).
    STEVE: “We see how Cheney punctured America’s mystique as a
    benign and respected nation —how he shattered the moral,
    economic, and military pillars of American power.”
    PAUL: This really makes me curious, Steve. I`ve commented
    before regarding similar formulations from you here (“the
    enigma/mystique of American power”, destroyed by the
    Iraq/Afghanistan occupations – didn`t you mention something
    in that vein somewhere, more than a year ago?). However, the
    big question is: to which degree has America acted as a benign
    and respected, and to which degree as a malevolent and feared
    force in the world post WWII? Did Cheney at least somehow do
    us a big service (both the Americans and the rest of the world
    citizens) by unveiling the malevolent and dangerous aspects of
    a superpower of this size?
    STEVE: “While Bush and members of his inner circle like Karl
    Rove seemed to be obsessed with the political machinations of
    their work, Cheney had a deeper purpose behind his crusades.
    For him politics and political gamesmanship, seduction, and
    intimidation were all about changing the nation’s policy course
    —all about principle. Cheney wasn’t much interested in weather
    politics. When Bush ordered him to survey Hurricane Katrina’s
    damage, he reluctantly complied.”
    PAUL: Very precise description! The opinions of most Americans
    seemed to disturb him the way insects are annoying on hot
    summer days.
    STEVE: “Gellman argues that Cheney was never an apostle of
    neoconservatism. He didn’t have a burning desire to establish
    democracy in Iraq. For Cheney, John Bolton, Addington, and
    others, Iraq was but a means to an end—a tool to expand
    presidential prerogatives. The same does not necessarily apply
    to Scooter Libby, a leading neoconservative thinker who strongly
    favored the invasion for ideological reasons.”
    PAUL: Food for thought…
    STEVE: “Some sources suggest that Cheney still wields great
    power and has of late been winning his battles again against
    Rice, Bellinger, Gates, and others.”
    PAUL: Will we read more about this crucial issue at TWN in the
    near future?

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  24. leo says:

    I was hoping the debates might give some insight into how the two candidates view Cheney’s power grab (unfortunately I think only the Palin/Biden debate briefly referred to Cheney).
    Is it even possible to legally reverse Cheney’s precedents now? Does anyone, besides Addington, really know everything that’s been done?
    I’d love a long Congressional investigation bringing light to all Cheney’s secrets after this election.

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  25. Don Bacon says:

    So this one man “knocked back the constitutional authority of Congress and the judiciary” and these powerful, effected people could do nothing about it? I don’t think so. The “rape” in this case was consensual.

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  26. jon says:

    It’s not too late to file impeachment papers. Or for a criminal
    complaint come February.

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  27. lurker says:

    Steve,
    Seriously, you should write more reviews. I just ordered the book based on your endorsement.
    But you add a lot to the story with your own knowledge and background. Cheney must really be frustrated with you, and I wonder what the neocons in DC think about how you’ve helped dismantle their world.
    Thanks, as always, for sharing your insights with us on the outside.

    Reply

  28. John says:

    I agree. I think the book is amazing but I think
    the author is a bit of a jerk. After Jo and him
    won the Pulitzer she asked him if he wanted to
    write a book together. Barton declined. Three
    months later – he told Jo that he had signed a
    book deal and was going to write Angler. She was
    devastated. And the rumor goes, that because most
    of the reporting was actually done by Jo and the
    WashPost owns that reporting, Barton had to re-
    report the entire story. So he would call sources
    and say “Hey, remember what you told Jo, can you
    tell me the same thing?” Let’s hope karma exists
    and Jo publishes a book soon that wins a Nobel or
    something.
    Oh and Steve()()()() great review.

    Reply

  29. carol says:

    Dick Cheney is the most despicable man….he is cunning, arrogant and nobody will miss seeing that hateful snear after Nov!!!
    It must be a Republican trait….Cheney snears….Bush can’t speak properly and now McCain
    keeps grinning and rolling his eyes….it must be a job requirement!!!!
    What a sorry bunch they all are and this country needs to send them all packing and soon….please get out there and vote early for Sen Obama.
    We have a chance to make history as well as get this country back on track and have good standing again on the world stage.
    OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    Reply

  30. Kathleen says:

    I just noticed Darth’s hand sign in his wave… does he think he’s the GodFather? It’s meant to fend off the evil eye, but in Darth’s case, I think he’s going to need to wear a lei made of garlic bulbs.

    Reply

  31. Kathleen says:

    Did I just hear that Darth had himself another little health event, yesterday?… a little arythmya in the Halliburton built pump? Maybe he’ll leave early and McPain can be veep and slide over as the incumbent???
    OOOh Bolton’s upset and angry… You made my day….maybe we can get him to be Rumplestiltskin this Halloween???

    Reply

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