Former Vice President Richard Cheney is working on his memoirs and assuring its success with a good deal of news making prior to its publication. Thursday's Washington Post article by Barton Gellman adds to the breathless anticipation of Cheney's potential reading public by promising revelations of previously unreported opinions and events. Here's a Hit Tip to journalist Mark Knoller, who posted several insightful tweets about the article, along with a generous suggestion to "buy the paper" to read the story.
The Cheney piece heads the current list of "most viewed political articles" on the WaPo website. And I read it immediately, too. Headlined, "Cheney uncloaks his frustration with Bush," it reveals more little juicy tidbits guaranteed to keep us all panting to read the published tome from cover to cover. One of the most interesting to me was this aspect of Cheney's frustration with Bush, whom he evidently thinks "went soft." To quote:
Cheney's disappointment with the former president surfaced recently in one of the informal conversations he is holding to discuss the book with authors, diplomats, policy experts and past colleagues. By habit, he listens more than he talks, but Cheney broke form when asked about his regrets.
"In the second term, he felt Bush was moving away from him," said a participant in the recent gathering, describing Cheney's reply. "He said Bush was shackled by the public reaction and the criticism he took. Bush was more malleable to that. The implication was that Bush had gone soft on him, or rather Bush had hardened against Cheney's advice. He'd showed an independence that Cheney didn't see coming. It was clear that Cheney's doctrine was cast-iron strength at all times -- never apologize, never explain -- and Bush moved toward the conciliatory."
. . . The former vice president remains convinced of mortal dangers that few other leaders, in his view, face squarely. That fixed belief does much to explain the conduct that so many critics find baffling. He gives no weight, close associates said, to his low approval ratings, to the tradition of statesmanlike White House exits or to the grumbling of Republicans about his effect on the party brand.
Cheney's intrigue -- What is it that keeps us all fascinated with this man, who guarded his privacy so jealously until now? As a retired psychotherapist, I am interested in his psychological make-up, particularly his apparently persistent paranoia. Others have their own reasons. But there is no doubt that his book will jump to the top of the charts when it comes out, which will please his daughter Liz, at whose suggestion Cheney is writing the book, despite past disdain for officials who wrote "tell all" books upon leaving office. It appears that he is not "frozen in place" on this issue.
Richard Cheney appears to have acquired fixed beliefs that are frozen in place, however. The first is in the concept of the "unitary" presidency, born after Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace. And the second is in a very dark world with enemies waiting to pounce and destroy him and the nation. With a model like that, is it any wonder that there is such fear mongering and craziness associated with Republican opposition to everything Obama.
[Post date - August 13, 2009]
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