The remarkable thing about the WaPo Angler series on Cheney is that it is designed to make everyone, Left, Right and Center, hate Cheney.
He is blamed for military commissions, warrantless wiretaps, violating the Geneva conventions, promoting torture and black sites. He’s blamed for killing fish, gutting the environment, snowmobiles in National Parks, Yucca Mountain and shafting the EPA for his energy producer friends.
Then, to make sure Republicans are on board, he is blamed for pushing the courts too hard (“turned tactical victory into strategic defeat”, “setting precedents that will bind Bush’s successors”), tricking the President on military tribunals, shafting Ashcroft and Powell, turning Gonzales and Meirs into pawns, deliberately chasing Jim Jeffords from the GOP (and thus losing the majority), backstabbing Greenspan, O’Neill and Evans (to get his captial gains tax relief, thus creating the budget deficits). And he protected William Jefferson (the Dem caught with $90K in his freezer) from the wheels of justice, for unknown reasons.
Continued after the jump.
In case you’re still not on board, he is secretive, manipulative, a bully, a backstabber and uses techniques Stalin would have been proud of (stacking the cabinet, putting plants in the OMB, intercepting WH communications, inviting himself to meetings, filtering everything the President hears). Oh yeah, and being so cold and unemotional that he had no reaction to the 2nd plane hitting the World Trade Center, and was unconcerned at the loss of life in the Columbia shuttle incident. His tentacles stretch so far, he can get the National Academy of Science to cook their studies. Plus he has no problem reaching far into someone else’s turf and badgering their underlings to do his bidding in secret.
Add to that the truly remarkable list of people who are quoted on the record (Mary Matalin, Josh Bolten, John Yoo, James Baker, John Ashcroft, Karl Rove among the more recognizable names) from a White House that specializes in secrecy and off the record discussions, and you have to ask “Who is behind this?” I mean Woodward had to kiss WH ass for 2 books before he got enough access to either dish the dirt or come to his senses (I vote for the latter).
Bush is whitewashed. Instead of being portrayed as an idiot who doesn’t know when he’s being played, we get this quote: “…the president thinks that the Reagan style of leadership is best — guiding the ship of state from high up on the mast.” We learn of Bush’s “‘compassionate conservative’ resistance to multiple breaks for the wealthy”; that Cheney’s insistence (and trickery in getting) capital gains tax relief instead of the dividend tax relief that Bush wanted has been a major contributer to the current deficits.
Interestingly, both Gonzales and Meirs are pretty much tossed under the bus with Cheney – both are shown tricking Bush into signing things that Cheney wanted but Bush was worried about.
John Yoo is partially exonerated (it was really Addington and Flanigan who came up with that torture stuff, Yoo just gave them theoretical advice), but I’d guess that was the price of gettin him on record.
Theodore B. Olson comes out like a saint, which could mean that this is an intervention by Daddy and his grown up friends. But you wouldn’t have Matalin, Bolten and Rove on record without George W’s permission.
An interesting puzzle. And with subpoenas flying and phantom branches of government appearing and disappearing, I think it’s a story with some important ramifications.