The Agony of Dick

Everybody is talking about Dick the Dick’s exploding head book. I take it it’s mostly a work of fiction, since Dick’s recollection of events doesn’t seem to match anyone else’s. All kinds of people with firsthand knowledge of events are coming forward to say Dick is just making stuff up.

But IMO the single most interesting semi-revelation from the book is the degree to which Dick was the acting head of the Bush Administration during Bush’s first term — which we knew — but not the second term.

Jefferson Morley, analyzing Cheney’s self-aggrandizing account, says Cheney portrays himself making foreign policy and cabinet decisions without even consulting the President. He seems to have assumed Bush would approve of his decisions without having to ask.

But the reign of Cheney ended in 2006. Morley writes,

In November 2006, Bush fired Rumsfeld without asking for the vice president’s opinion. For the first time in five years, Bush started making key decisions on his own.

Cheney’s account turns petulant at this point. After 2006, no one in the Bush administration (besides Cheney) can do much good. The new Secretary of Defense Robert Gates mistreated two top generals. Secretary of State Condi Rice was so eager to reach an agreement with North Korea she issued a public statement that was “utterly misleading.” And President Bush had failed by acting on her recommendations, not his.

Get this —

“The process and the decision that followed seemed so out of keeping with the clearheaded ways I had seen him make decisions in the past,” he writes with surprise.

What had changed was that Cheney no longer dominated the process of presidential decision-making on foreign policy. He was merely the vice president.

Very sick.

This is from ABC News

He reserves much of his ire for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and now Powell and his longtime aide and chief of staff, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, are attempting to set the record straight. In no uncertain terms. Cheney, Wilkerson told ABC News, “was president for all practical purposes for the first term of the Bush administration” and “fears being tried as a war criminal.”

Again, Dick was president during the first term, but not the second one. In foreign policy, Condi took his place. Not that she was much of an improvement.

BTW, you might remember that Bush asked for Rummy’s resignation not because of some failure in Iraq, but because Republicans had just been slaughtered in the 2006 midterms. Karl Rove would resign the following August. The Bush White House was in some kind of meltdown by then, it seems, and Bush appears to have changed his mind about who to trust. It’s water under the bridge now, but someday the real history of the Bush Administration will be written, and I suspect the last three years were especially surreal.

See also “Remembering Why Americans Loathe Dick Cheney.”

18 thoughts on “The Agony of Dick

  1. What’s amazing about megalomaniacs like Dick is that he blames Bush for deficient judgment, instead of understanding each man’s proper role in the administration. It’s as though his book provides the world with all the evidence of his particular megalomania and he yet cannot see it staring at him in the face.

    I saw a recent photo of him; it looks like he’s lost weight – his face looks much thinner. Probably at the request of his doctors.

  2. I’ve been praying that Cheney just drops dead…But God hasn’t seen fit to answer my prayers.

    If the above staement seems a little too harsh..just give place in your mind to the hundreds of thousands of innocent people who were killed as a direct result of Cheney’s lies and ambitions. Maybe the numbers of his victims isn’t as high as some of the most vile historical figures..but his indifference to humanity is as great as any of history’s monsters.

    • I’ve been praying that Cheney just drops dead…But God hasn’t seen fit to answer my prayers.

      Ah, why let him off the hook so easily? I hope both he and W live for many more years, watching their reputations and places in history sink lower and lower.

  3. Cheney was acting President until the mid-terms, so that means he was in charge through Bush’s first term and half of his second term. Next question: who was in charge for the remaining two years? I find it hard to believe that the man who had to have Cheney holding his hand when being interviewed by the 9/11 Commission made many decisions on his own.

    • Cheney was acting President until the mid-terms, so that means he was in charge through Bush’s first term and half of his second term.

      The Dickster was still running foreign policy, but W had struck out on his own in other ways before then. For example, W nominated Harriet Miers to the SCOTUS in 2005, and my impression is that nomination was entirely W’s idea. Those last few months of W’s first term were largely taken up by trying to repair W’s public image after Katrina (as opposed to actually doing anything for New Orleans). I don’t remember that Dick played much of a role in that.

      I find it hard to believe that the man who had to have Cheney holding his hand when being interviewed by the 9/11 Commission made many decisions on his own.

      Considering that the White House doesn’t appear to have been doing much those last couple of years, it’s possible no one was making any substantive decisions. I suspect they were all lurching along on autopilot by that point.

  4. “I’ve been praying that Cheney just drops dead…But God hasn’t seen fit to answer my prayers.”

    I wouldn’t be too hard on him Swami, he’s been busy with hurricanes, earthquakes and the Bachmann campaign. You know what it must be like up there…

  5. Cheney is a War Criminal, and should be tried at the Hague, along with W – holding his (nominal) bosses hand, if needed.
    He is without a doubt one of the most malevolent and malignant charaters to ever perform on our national political stage. He makes Iago look like Tinkerbell.

    And I’m waiting for his evil spawn Liz to decide to follow in Daddy’s footsteps, and get into national politics. We’ll need to watch her carefully:
    The stool doesn’t fall far from the asshole.

  6. This is all even more appalling in so many ways than I originally thought. What can we do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?

  7. And wait til Moammar hears what the Dick says about his ladylove, Condi! Somebody’s going to come out of hiding to demand satisfaction, just you wait. Now there’s a duel I’d pay to watch.

  8. maha,
    I hate to tell you, but you’ve got the timeline wrong – Katrina happened a little over 7 months after W was sworn in for his 2nd term in office.

    As to what why Cheney’s influence started to wane after 2005-6, I think maybe Poppy Bush started to get some more say with his idiot son via Condi and Gates there.

    • You’re right about Katrina. I keep wanting it to have happened in 2005, for some reason.

      Anyway, my suspicion is that maybe Katrina helped persuade W that he ought to be paying more attention to his job. Not that he knew how to do his job, but perhaps about that time it dawned on him that just doing what Dick and Karl told him to do was not necessarily working out well. If you go back and look at what was happening in Iraq in 2006, you see escalating violence in Baghdad. So Dick’s handling of the war was not working. And Karl steered W wrong on both Katrina and the mid-terms.

  9. It’s hard not to conclude that Cheney remains one of the most evil, venal and opportunistic men to ever hold high office in this country. It would be a great thing if he and Bush could be tried in the Hague for their lies in beginning a war we seem to be unable to end, and one in which people far better than themselves died. The sad part is that we no longer have a political system capable of holding political malefactors responsible. Watergate was the only time we seriously tried to do it, and the GOP turned the impeachment process into a sideshow when they impeached Clinton.

  10. For what it’s worth, and that may not be much but it is interesting, there is a theory that men who willfully avoid going to war (Nam in Cheney’s case) harbor tremendous guilt – coward, chicken-shit, draft-dodger, weak, sissy…. In order to assuage the guilt, they spend a life-time advocating war, hawks of the first order. They cringe at the thought that anyone might think them soft, cowardly, weak.

    I can easily fit Cheney into that slot – even his need to torture others fits the mold. Any psychologists on this site add anything? or refute the theory, as the case may be?

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