In a wide-ranging piece in today’s paper, Gellman nails several key points about Cheney’s fascinating and still-evolving relationship with George W. Bush. A sampling:
*Cheney’s upcoming memoir will take the gloves off on Bush, to whom he has traditionally shown great deference. In Gellman’s words: “Cheney’s disappointment with the former president surfaced recently in one of the informal conversations he is holding to discuss the book with authors, diplomats, policy experts and past colleagues. By habit, he listens more than he talks, but Cheney broke form when asked about his regrets.
‘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.'”
*Cheney feels that the “statute of limitations” has run out on his good-soldierly reticence regarding what happened over his disastrous eight years in office. Again, from Gellman: “‘When the president made decisions that I didn’t agree with, I still supported him and didn’t go out and undercut him,’ Cheney said, according to Stephen Hayes, his authorized biographer. ‘Now we’re talking about after we’ve left office. I have strong feelings about what happened. . . . And I don’t have any reason not to forthrightly express those views.'”
*And this: Cheney drives a black SUV.
*Cheney’s former administration colleagues don’t all feel the same way: Former press secretary Ari Fleischer: “‘If he goes out and writes a memoir that spills beans about what took place behind closed doors, that would be out of character,’ said Ari Fleischer, who served as White House spokesman during Bush’s first term.”