The First Draft: Will Cheney spill the beans about Bush?
How would you spend the dog days of summer, if you were a former vice president? If you were Dick Cheney, you would be ensconced in your new office above the garage in McLean, Virginia (just down the road from the CIA!), writing your memoir of the administration of George W. Bush. But would you tell all?
The Washington Post indicates Cheney might. In a front-page story that was one of the paper’s most-viewed online, unnamed sources say the former veep was frustrated with Bush, especially in the second term.
When Cheney was asked at an informal meeting to discuss his memoirs if he had any regrets, one meeting participant told the Post: “(Cheney) said Bush was shackled by the public reaction and the criticism he took … 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 at all times — never apologize, never explain — and Bush moved toward the conciliatory.”
If Cheney does open up about his problems with Bush and others in that administration, that would be unusual. Cheney himself has shown public disapproval of those who leave office and then write about what went on behind the scenes. As former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told the Post, “If he goes out and writes a memoir that spills beans about what took place behind closed doors, that would be out of character.”
Since he left office, Cheney has been one of Obama’s most vocal critics, taking aim especially at the current president’s opposition to harsh interrogation techniques at Guantanamo. He is also at the heart of a planned House of Representatives investigation into the concealment of a secret CIA program from Congress. One senator said the program was hidden on orders from Cheney; Republicans see a partisan attack.
Throughout his career, Cheney has remained largely silent on the inner workings of government and policy, but that could be at an end when his memoir comes out. According to the Post, Cheney has said “the statute of limitations has expired” on many of his secrets.
What do you think: should Cheney tell all, and let the chips fall where they may? Or would that be unseemly, impolitic and dangerous?
Photo credit: REUTERS/Larry Downing (Washington, November 6, 2008)