Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Bush tells Cheney, 'I'm going to need you at my side at all times, consigliere.

Middle America: "It wasn't supposed to be this way. When Bush first chose him, he was considered a reassuring Number Two. 'His unique talent,' writes James Mann in Rise of the Vulcans, 'was to convey a sense of soothing solemnity; Cheney could make whatever he said so obvious, reasonable and self-evident that listeners often didn't stop to question it.' Moderate in manner if not in essence�his House voting record was to the right of Newt Gingrich's�he developed a mystique as the acme of hard-nosed competence, who could transform an underperforming bureaucracy the way 007 could convert a killer lesbian. Even better, he was reckoned a level-headed adviser, schooled in the catechism of omert�. Think Tom Hagen. (In Showtime's preposterous docudrama D.C. 9/11: Time of Crisis, Bush tells Cheney, 'I'm going to need you at my side at all times, consigliere.' The veep beams.)

Poppy was delighted when Dubya chose Cheney as a running mate. This loyal family retainer would help keep his hotheaded son out of trouble as neatly as Cheney had kept himself out of Vietnam (he's the peregrine falcon of chicken hawks). But having lived a charmed life, the elder Bush didn't know the riptides of thwarted ambition that tear at any politician who devotes years to deference. Cheney himself had once dreamed of running for the White House. Something deep in him rebelled at playing second fiddle to a dabbler like George W. Far from serving as a dutiful �minence grise, he became an intimidating veep who surrounded the president with a praetorian guard that kept out dissenting opinions. 'That's the way Dick likes it,' observed former secretary of the treasury Paul O'Neill. "


Post a Comment

<< Home