Dick Cheney is writing his memoirs, and <A HREF=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/12/AR2009081203306.html?hpid%3Dtopnews&sub=AR>informants say</A> that he is deeply, deeply disappointed with You-Know-Who:
“In the second term, he felt Bush was moving away from him,” said a participant… “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 two men maintain respectful ties, speaking on the telephone now and then, though aides to both said they were never quite friends. But there is a sting in Cheney’s critique, because he views concessions to public sentiment as moral weakness. After years of praising Bush as a man of resolve, Cheney now intimates that the former president turned out to be more like an ordinary politician in the end.
Apparently omerta has its limits. I know a lot of us DFHs feared that the horrors of the Cheney Regency would never receive a public airing, if only for fear of the War Crimes Tribunal, but perhaps vanity will achieve what mere human decency and the rule of law never could.
Some old associates see Cheney’s newfound openness as a breach of principle. For decades, he expressed contempt for departing officials who wrote insider accounts, arguing that candid internal debate was impossible if the president and his advisers could not count on secrecy…
“If he goes out and writes a memoir that spills beans about what took place behind closed doors, that would be out of character,” said Ari Fleischer, who served as White House spokesman during Bush’s first term.
Yet that appears to be precisely Cheney’s intent. Robert Barnett, who negotiated Cheney’s book contract, passed word to potential publishers that the memoir would be packed with news, and Cheney himself has said, without explanation, that “the statute of limitations has expired” on many of his secrets. “When the president made decisions that I didn’t agree with, I still supported him and didn’t go out and undercut him,” Cheney said, according to Stephen Hayes, his authorized biographer. “Now we’re talking about after we’ve left office. I have strong feelings about what happened. . . . And I don’t have any reason not to forthrightly express those views.”
Of course allowance must be made for an agent tasked to sell a hard-Right neoconservative apologia in a down market, and Cheney has no reputation for honesty. But the urge to settle scores burns in many a heart pacemaker long after all other human emotions have expired, and much of the worst we know about Cheney’s first and foremost mentor was inadvertently revealed over Nixon’s twenty-year crusade to rehabilitate his own reputation as a statesman and great leader. I look forward to further revelations with interest, and popcorn.