Posts Tagged ‘Dick Cheney’
December 27th, 2013 at 5:37 pm
Holiday Reading Recommendation: “Days of Fire”
Posted by Print

If you were fortunate enough to receive a gift card for a book-seller this Christmas (economists would remind us, after all, that gift cards are one of the few economically efficient Christmas gifts), allow me to make a recommendation: Peter Baker’s recent book, Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House.

If you’re like me, you may have an appetite for behind-the-scenes D.C. storytelling, but always wind up reading such volumes with skepticism; who knows, after all, who’s interpretation of events to give credence to, or what personal or professional agendas drive the final text (Bob Woodward, for instance, is famous for tilting his narratives in favor of the people who proved to be his best sources)?

As our regular readers may know, I served in the Bush Administration, working as one of the president’s speechwriters in the second term. Given the knowledge that experience imparted, I can tell you that Days of Fire is far and away the most judicious and even-handed account of the Bush Administration I’m aware of (my friend, Matthew Hennessey at City Journal, gives a good summation of why here).

Days of Fire never succumbs to either of the twin pathologies of presidential chronicles: hagiography or axe-grinding. Instead, it gives you just the facts, albeit in an addictive, page-turning fashion (there are lots of little anecdotes that only enhance the readability). You get a good sense of the various ideological positions of the key players in the Bush Administration, as well as the personality traits that shaped them and the Administration.

Baker does an exquisite job of presenting the material and allowing you to make your own judgments. While I wasn’t around for many of the events in the book, the ones I was present for are represented with dispassionate accuracy. All those that preceded my time are also described in the same terms on which I was made to understand them during my White House tenure.

This is a necessary reading whether you’re a Bush fan or a Bush critic (ditto Cheney). This is one of the few books that portrays either man in three dimensions and it will give you a great sense of how truly complicated, taxing, inspiring, and frustrating a presidency can be. Highly recommended.

September 6th, 2011 at 10:06 am
Some Insights on Cheney

At the American Spectator, I provide a small, informed-third-party view of Dick Cheney’s persona, while clearly taking his side vs. Colin Powell. What I didn’t write there, because I handed it in before last night, was that all of the remembrances of 9/11 are bringing into stark relief just how fortunate we were to have Cheney around on that day. I watched a Smithsonian TV special on 9/11 last night, featuring extensive interviews with Cheney (among dozens of others, of course), and it was striking just how essential it was to have Cheney’s good judgment and steady hand in the White House while President Bush was airborne for so many hours. A good man and a true statesman, Dick Cheney served his country well. I’m glad his book is receiving so much attention.

October 8th, 2010 at 4:23 pm
Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson’s Days Numbered?

Along with Reps. John Dingell (D-MI) and Barney Frank (D-MA), another incumbent Democrat congressman is looking at the very real possibility of losing his seat on November 2nd.  And because of his stunts, it couldn’t happen to a better poster child for partisan politics than Florida’s Alan Grayson.  Byron York provides a nice summary of Grayson’s offenses:

Grayson has been involved in so many dust-ups, scrapes and other indignities that it’s surprising to realize he has only been in office 20 months. From describing the Republican health plan as hoping the sick will “die quickly” to calling a top official at the Federal Reserve a “K Street whore” to saying of former Vice President Dick Cheney that “blood … drips from his teeth while he’s talking” to “Taliban Dan” — well, a lot of people in Florida and Washington won’t be sad to see him go.

A poll taken by Sunshine State News at the time of the ad controversy showed Webster with a 7-point lead, 43 percent to 36 percent. Barring any unforeseen events, that’s likely to hold. The 8th District was Republican for almost 30 years, until the Obama-Grayson victories of 2008. Now it appears to be moving back to the GOP.

February 13th, 2010 at 10:31 pm
Biden Rebutting Cheney Almost as Humorous as Cheney v. Edwards

According to Politico, the White House thinks dispatching Vice President Joe Biden to rebut Dick Cheney on tomorrow’s Sunday talk shows will make the Obama Administration look good.  Joe’s funny, but he’s no Dick Cheney.  Too bad the former VP won’t have the opportunity to debate Biden head-on, like he did in 2004 with John Edwards.  If you’d like a reminder, here’s the link.

October 24th, 2009 at 2:15 pm
Is Dick Cheney Wearing a Joe Biden Mask?

In the growing rift between the Obama Administration and its military advisors, reports are surfacing that Vice President Joe Biden is upset with General Stanley McChrystal for making a closed door presentation to NATO defense ministers. In the briefing McChrystal explained his rationale for increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan. Apparently, the defense ministers liked what they heard.

Here was Biden’s reaction:

Diplomatic sources say NATO endorsement of General McChrystal has led to anger in the Biden camp. They had criticized the commander for promoting his strategy, including a visit to London, while President Barack Obama is still weighing up the options.”

In short, Biden thinks the best way to win in Afghanistan is to reduce the number of troops there while implementing a counter-terrorism plan that expands the war into neighboring Pakistan, since that is where some members of al-Qaeda are based. McChrystal, on the other hand, wants to introduce 20,000 to 40,000 new troops and pursue a counter-insurgency strategy that would focus on eliminating the security threat inside Afghanistan. And yet, Biden is seen as the White House official most in favor of de-escalating America’s military involvement in the region.

If Joe Biden was Dick Cheney, would the Vice President’s aggressive push to expand the theater of war while reducing the number of ground troops be reported on as a moderate approach?  Well, at least the White House can’t be faulted for ignoring the advice of their military experts and applying its own ideological notions of sound war planning…