Truthdig tips its hat this week to Washington Post reporters Barton Gellman and Jo Becker, whose four-part exposé on Vice President Dick Cheney leaves little room for doubting his sinister influence on President Bush.
Cheney has mostly flown under the radar, using his experience from previous administrations to finesse his situation and going around established channels of command, according to Gellman and Becker. For someone who claims not to be accountable in key ways as part of the executive branch, he sure looks like he’s comfortable in that domain of American government (though the first report concedes that Cheney is not a “shadow president”). The authors say “Cheney has shaped his times as no vice president has before.”
In roles that have gone largely undetected, Cheney has served as gatekeeper for Supreme Court nominees, referee of Cabinet turf disputes, arbiter of budget appeals, editor of tax proposals and regulator in chief of water flows in his native West. On some subjects, officials said, he has displayed a strong pragmatic streak. On others he has served as enforcer of ideological principle, come what may.
Cheney is not, by nearly every inside account, the shadow president of popular lore. Bush has set his own course, not always in directions Cheney preferred. The president seized the helm when his No. 2 steered toward trouble, as Bush did, in time, on military commissions. Their one-on-one relationship is opaque, a vital unknown in assessing Cheney’s impact on events. The two men speak of it seldom, if ever, with others. But officials who see them together often, not all of them admirers of the vice president, detect a strong sense of mutual confidence that Cheney is serving Bush’s aims.
Read the entire four-part series on Cheney by Gellman and Becker here.
AP Photo/Louis Lanzano
A New York costumer models a Cheney ensemble at about the time the vice president shot a fellow hunter in the face. Because of his fondness for fishing and hunting, Cheney was given the Secret Service code name “Angler,” which is also the title of the Washington Post series.