Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Everyone is talking about the Washington Post's series on Vice President Cheney, but Marty Lederman at Balkanization does the best job I've seen of painting the big picture:
[A]s Gellman and Becker relate, the Vice President consistently prevails in the internal debates. He wins virtually every battle -- or at least bollixes things up sufficiently to prevent others from prevailing. (A good example was last week's short-lived story, when certain high-level officials leaked word of a meeting the next day at which the fate of Guantanamo was to be decided, and a consensus to close it had all but been reached -- a leak obviously designed to make the closure virtually inevitable. By that very evening, Cheney had successfully caused the meeting to be cancelled, and had stopped the "Close GTMO" forces in their tracks -- forces that included high-level players such as the Secretaries of State and Defense.)Read the whole thing, as they say.
This is the great mystery of the Bush Administration, and the question that no one, including Gellman and Becker, has answered: It's not very newsworthy that the Vice President has strongly held views, and that he fights hard for them. (So did Vice President Gore.) Nor is it even terribly notable that he is constantly opposed by others in the Administration. What is remarkable is that time and again, Cheney wins. And in so doing, he makes mincemeat of Powell, Ashcroft, Gates, Rice, etc. They are constantly beaten back -- indeed, in many cases, they're not even briefed into the process or the substance of the decision making.
Why do strong figures such as Rice, Gates, et al., continue to allow the Vice President to run roughshod over them and make them look like fools?
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