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Cheney on the attack

August 13, 2009 - Steve Murch
The Washington Post has a story today (link at the right) about how former Vice President Dick Cheney is now expressing his dissatisfaction with former President George Bush. The story comes from people associated with Cheney as he writes his memoirs.

The Post writes: "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 story states that there is now a “sting in Cheney's critique.” The former VP always had a reputation as being strong-willed and unbending in his beliefs. There were many reporters and analysts who, during the Bush Administration, said Cheney was the driving force behind the White House and he, in fact, was the decision maker. If you will recall, those same claims lessened during Bush's second term in office. It's that term, the Post story says, is the one that Cheney seems to have the most animosity about.

Dissatisfied or not, Cheney still served the president. Ultimately, since Bush was the president, he was the one who stood out front and had to bear the brunt of criticism. The vice president isn't the person who the American public relates to, and if the president isn't viewed well by his own people, then perhaps softening a message or changing policy isn't all bad. It's the president's call, not the vice president's – a fact that seems to have been lost by Dick Cheney. Perhaps Cheney doesn't believe there would have been as much dissatisfaction if Bush had done what Cheney had wanted.

The VP never came across as someone who was approachable, almost like a grizzly bear. Since he's been out of office he's seemed like he's been on the attack against everything – left or right. It also comes across as someone who is trying to stay more relevant than he was when he had some relevance.


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