Thursday, February 05, 2009


If you've followed Dick Cheney's Machiavellian machinations over the past eight years with any diligence, you'll likely know most of the key information in Barton Gellman's fine book. But Gellman scores some coups. My favorite is the battle of the Dicks. Dick Armey is one of the biggest dicks ever in Washington DC, but he was on the right side of history when he thought the Iraq war rationale was a bunch of bullshit, and had he not been boondoggled personally by an an even bigger dick--Cheney--Armey might have prevented the resultant catastrophe. Dick Cheney managed to pull the wool over skeptical Dick Armey's eyes in a personal visit, and Dick Armey is none too pleased about it. He says in Gellman's book that he suspected Cheney was bullshitting him, but if what Cheney was saying was true he had to vote for the war. Once Armey committed, a lot of waffling Republicans followed suit. Cheney is just the sort of dick unprincipled enough to lie to his friends, his country, and his president, and all the facts are here.

But Gellman is not overzealous in tearing Cheney down and he doesn't condemn Cheney--the coverage here is factual with limited intrusions of personal opinion. The reader is allowed to see Cheney fairly and to make his or her own judgments--mine remains the same: what a Dick!

Also great reading: Gellman's recreation of the Ashcroft hospital visit by Card and Gonzales, and the resulting Constitutional crisis which went unknown by the public or Congress until Jim Comey's testimony years later. Funny to think that a lunatic fringer like Ashcroft couldn't even stomach Cheney's un-Constitutional transgressions. The story is remarkable, and told well here.


Designerd said...

I think I just found the next book I am going to read... I can't wait

Casey said...

Such a great read. I love this kind of stuff in general, but often the writing is weak. Gellman's got a compelling way with words — he keeps the pace taut and never beats you over the head with his opinions.

My favorite scene is when Dan Quayle goes to visit the new Vice to give him a few pointers on what to expect from the job. Oopsie!