Cheney perfectly epitomizes the tip of the spear and I always enjoyed his focused energy, knowledge of the subject, his ability to sense the political waters and was a solid NUMBER TWO guy. He did not aspire to be President and sought ever day to be the best he could be FOR HIS COUNTRY. His memoir is about to be published and it will unleash much ink in the blogosphere and media but here are some points as to why I chose to use this as my blog for today, ready?
I think there is simply not enough confrontation and the Congressional lame turkey debacle on the debt ceiling showed the world that clearly. I have yet to see the President clear him out a spot and explode. I believe leaders that care have to show they care both in the positive and the negative based on the situation. Cheney was "W"'s bad cop and he was a master at that. So for my new students and all my former, assessing the situation, determining the competency and motivation level of the subordinates that determines the correct leadership style is an ABSOLUTE for leaders.
I want people around me that are strong and passionate about their beliefs and drives. I hate political motivations and detest neutral. The Bible speaks about spitting out lukewarm water as I would also. Leadership is a kinetic energy force where there are winners and losers. BE A WINNER and it is a choice. I think Mr. Cheney is a world class Bad Cop that was good at what he did.
In parting, every day. MAKE A DIFFERENCE in your world ... E V E R Y D A Y!
'I Didn't Change. The World Changed'
In an interview, Dick Cheney says 'It's important to have people at the helm who are prepared to be unpopular.'
"Looking for a way to explain this situation, Rice said, 'Mr. President, this is just the way diplomacy works sometimes. You don't always get a written agreement.' The statement was utterly misleading, totally divorced from what the secretary was doing, which was urging the president, in the absence of an agreement, to pretend to have one. . . . "
***When the Bush presidency ended, Dick Cheney thought he was done with public life. In May 2009 he was back, delivering a speech at the American Enterprise Institute and defending the Bush anti-terror policies. Worth noting was that the White House, as counterweight, scheduled a speech by President Obama on the subject the same day.
It was a familiar place for the former vice president—in the eye of a public controversy's raging storm. Seated peacefully now in a soft, tan leather chair in his home on the outskirts of his former congressional district in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and with his memoir about to be published, Mr. Cheney reflects on the dueling speeches between a sitting president and "the old has-been vice president."
"When I left the government in January of '09," he says, "I did not anticipate that I was going to be some kind of a public spokesman on behalf of those policies. I thought I had 40 good years in the business. But I found there wasn't anybody else out there, and when they started talking about shutting down these programs, prosecuting the people who carried out these policies, frankly I got angry. That's why I made the speech."
Friend and foe would agree—vintage Cheney. He won't back down. He's lost plenty, as the book makes clear, but not for lack of effort or argument.
The prologue of "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir" (co-written with his daughter, Liz) describes Mr. Cheney experiencing the attacks on September 11, a day whose events would consume the next seven and a half years of his life. One of the vice president's famously terse summaries of this period was his response to Brent Scowcroft's remark that Mr. Cheney's personality had somehow changed. "I didn't change," he replied. "The world changed."
The first thing I asked Mr. Cheney was how he and President Bush became targets for such intense, visceral animosity after the national unity of 9/11 dissolved, lasting the length of two presidential terms.
"I want to be careful how I say this," he replies. "I didn't write about this in the book." The answer that emerges adds no insight into the opposition's mind—"I don't want to say there was a political motive involved." Instead Mr. Cheney's instinct is to compare his understanding of the facts with the positions taken by an opposition operating with the same facts. He replies that if one looks at what prominent Democrats were saying about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction in the years before 9/11, "you can't tell those statements apart from our statements." What their critics mainly were looking for, he thinks, was a way to "put distance" between themselves and the administration.
No doubt squads of opposition researchers will comb the pages of the Cheney memoir for proof that "Bush lied." But the more compelling and relevant stories found inside Mr. Cheney's book involve opposition and dissent inside the administration. These were the events that ultimately affected the direction of the war on terror and in Iraq.
Foremost were the "wiretapping" controversies over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which the administration expanded to monitor phone calls from foreign terrorists into the U.S. After its approval, the program required presidential reauthorization every 30 to 45 days. Mr. Cheney described for me the briefings on the program by CIA Director Michael Hayden to the congressional leadership. "The Big Nine, we called them," Mr. Cheney says. They included Nancy Pelosi, then a member of the House intelligence committee. No one, he says, objected to the program.
The FISA program worked until 2004. Then the administration's internal unity fell apart. White House aides who had gone to have the authorization renewal signed by Attorney General John Ashcroft, who was in George Washington hospital, found the recently appointed deputy attorney general, James Comey, was already there.
Before the aides had left the White House, Mr. Cheney told me, "it's my understanding that Ashcroft said fine, send them over and he'd sign. Between the time of the phone call and the time when they got there, he'd done a 180 and Comey was in the room." Mr. Ashcroft refused to sign. Mr. Cheney relates in his book that Mr. Comey also convinced FBI Director Robert Mueller to withdraw support.
"There clearly was a development inside the Justice Department that led Comey and Mueller to express their disapproval (of the surveillance authority) after it had been approved 20 times," Mr. Cheney said. With resignations threatened, President Bush altered the program, despite assurances of its constitutionality.
Against this backdrop, I ask what advice Mr. Cheney would give the new CIA director, David Petraeus: "If I were Gen. Petraeus at this point, taking over, I'd want to come to an understanding with the president in person as to what methods are going to be tolerated to collect the intelligence you need to succeed and what policy guidance has been given to the Justice Department. Some of the intelligence that was collected was done by means that Obama found objectionable, and I hope Petraeus has an understanding with President Obama that he needs to maintain the level of intelligence required to defeat the enemy."
Equally big was the crack-up in the relationship between the White House and Colin Powell's State Department. Mr. Cheney calls it a "watershed moment." And it came early.
In April 2002, Secretary of State Powell suggested an international conference on Israel and Palestine, a departure from administration policy. Mr. Cheney writes that he called National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to suggest she tell Mr. Powell "he was once more out of line with the president's policy." She did so and Mr. Powell apologized.
Looking back, Mr. Cheney writes, Mr. Powell and his deputy, Richard Armitage, seemed to take this walk-back as "a personal affront to the secretary." Mr. Cheney then picked up through the grapevine that both men "were not only failing to support the president's policies, but were openly disdainful of them." He writes: "Now it was as if a tie had been cut." Secretary Powell continued to serve until January 2005.
I asked Mr. Cheney why there isn't a stronger tradition of firings or resignations in American government. He chuckled, noting that one of the chapters left out of the book was "People I have fired."
"It's an important issue in terms of trying to manage an administration," he says. "My experience generally has been that it doesn't happen often enough. That's sort of a general statement of why government doesn't work."
One of the administration's greatest internal disruptions occurred after President Bush decided to support Gen. Petraeus's surge strategy for Iraq in 2006. When the opposition to the surge intensified in early 2007, press stories based on leaks from inside the administration suggested that some officials wanted a policy change because of doubts about whether the surge would work.
A deeply annoyed Cheney tells Mr. Bush that these leaks are a disservice to the president's policies and to his troops in the field. When the meeting ended, the national security adviser, Steve Hadley, took Mr. Cheney into his office and closed the door. Mr. Hadley told the vice president that he was the source of the leak and had done it "at the instruction of the president." In the event, the surge succeeded, and Mr. Bush's commitment to it—described by Mr. Cheney as "truly courageous"—was validated.
The biggest internal breakdown, however, is described in arguably the book's most compelling chapter, about the negotiations over North Korea's nuclear program. This, Mr. Cheney told me, was "our biggest problem."
In 2006, Secretary of State Rice and her assistant secretary, Christopher Hill, decided to engage North Korea bilaterally, stepping away from the six-party regional talks that had been President Bush's policy until then. "Hill and Rice," Mr. Cheney writes, "made concession after concession to the North Koreans and turned a blind eye to their misdeeds." Mr. Cheney's characterization of Secretary Rice's description of the proposed agreement as "utterly misleading" may be the memoir's strongest single statement.
Subsequently, on Oct. 10, 2008, Mr. Bush agreed as part of this process to let Ms. Rice remove North Korea from the State Department's list of terror-sponsoring states. Mr. Cheney writes: "It was a sad moment, because it seemed to be a repudiation of the Bush Doctrine and a reversal of so much of what we had accomplished in the area of non-proliferation in the first term."
Sitting with Mr. Cheney amid the summer splendor of the Grand Teton mountains, I ask the obvious question: What happened with this odd and ultimately futile decision by President Bush?
Mr. Cheney ponders his answer: "Ultimately the president made the decision and it was his to make. I didn't agree with it, but that's not the first time I ever disagreed with the president I worked for. Condi was pushing very, very hard to get something accomplished here, and I think she was badly served by Chris Hill. Ultimately the president makes the decision."
***Politics most of the time seems to be about organized factions fighting over competing policy ideas, and Dick Cheney is a policy guy to his marrow. Ironically, what comes through in his memoir is how often the turns in history, for good or ill, are made by little more than what is inside this or that public official's head at a given moment in time. Dick Cheney spent 40 years in "the business" fighting mindsets he thought were pitching U.S. policy in a wrong or dangerous direction.
After two event-filled terms as George W. Bush's No. 2, I asked Mr. Cheney to sum it up. Characteristically, the answer had nothing to do with anyone's approval rating:
"I think we did a pretty good job after 9/11 for those seven and a half years. I think the record reflects that. I think the president gets a lot of credit for that. Partly it's a question of political leadership. It's important to have people at the helm who are prepared to be unpopular, to take the criticism and the hits that go with implementing policies."
As we finish up, Mr. Cheney diverts into a consideration of the sorts of responses governments may have to make when confronted by things in the news now, such as "flash mobs" using social media to organize riots through London. "It's going to present us with some pretty significant challenges that we've only begun to address."
"Tough problem," the public-policy lifer says, before finally stepping back from a challenge: "My generation is not going to have to deal with it. But yours is."
Mr. Henninger is the deputy editorial page editor of the Journal.