Today’s installment of the Becker and Gellman Dick Cheney Controls George Bush series is a doozy. Helpless Dancer hit the nail on the head in the comments on this:
The thing that strikes me about the WashPost series is that Cheney was constructing Bush’s bubble from the very get go. He has managed to prevent anybody from one on one access to Bush without his approval. Nobody talked to Bush without his approval or his presence. His heavy handed presence managed to kill every effort to inject reality into the decision making process through intimidation. Just think about him staring at Bush from behind the bushes at that presser.
From Becker and Gellman today:
In Bush, Cheney found the perfect partner. The president’s willingness to delegate left plenty of room for his more detail-oriented vice president.”My impression is that the president thinks that the Reagan style of leadership is best — guiding the ship of state from high up on the mast,” said former White House lawyer Bradford A. Berenson. “It seems to me that the vice president is more willing to get down in the wheelhouse below the decks.”…
It is well known that Cheney is usually the last to speak to the president before Bush makes a decision. Less so is his role, to a degree unmatched by his predecessors, in steering debate by weighing in at the lower-level meetings where proposals are born and die.
Cheney, Bolten said, is a vocal participant at a weekly luncheon meeting of Bush’s economic team, which gathers without the president. As the most senior official in the room, Cheney receives great deference from Bush’s advisers.
Wise officials vet their proposals in advance. White House budget director Rob Portman, for instance, sought Cheney’s counsel as he was putting together the budget for the upcoming year, using him as a “sounding board” on issues as varied as defense spending and tax reform.
“He never, ever has said to me, ‘Do this.’ Never. Which is interesting, because that might be the perception of how he operates,” Portman said. “But it is ‘What do you think of this?’ Well, he’s the vice president of the United States — and obviously I’m interested in his point of view.”
Perhaps more important than Cheney’s influence in pushing policies is his power to stop them before they reach the Oval Office.
Dick Cheney, the keeper of the Bush bubble. This is what they call Republican strategery and leadership-ness-osity. Excellent.
Makes that whole faux balance malarky wedged in here and there stick out all the more, doesn’t it? Anonymous Liberal has a great catch from Part I on how the Veep procures legislation through deceit. And Emptywheel makes a great catch on how Cheney’s “one and only” claims ought to be used against the rest of the “not inside our super secret cone of silence bubble” on executive privilege. That Dana Milbank is openly laughing at the Veep’s claims of Fourth Branch of Government security from oversight is telling of how low the cheese has fallen among the pundit classes these days.
But how is he faring with his one and only consumer of information — keeping Bush inside that bubble must be hard work these days. Or maybe not, given the lackadaisical attitude and periodic daily bike ride and naptime schedules and such (via Digby — do click this one).
(Gorgeous bubble shot via Cayusa.)
Please keep those calls going on habeas. Thanks for all the calls thus far, gang! Let’s keep that capitol switchboard humming today.
1 (800) 828 – 0498
1 (800) 459 – 1887
1 (800) 614 – 2803
1 (866) 340 – 9281
1 (866) 338 – 1015
1 (877) 851 – 6437
UPDATE: Jeralyn has three fantastic posts up on the habeas issue that I thought everyone would enjoy. Here and here on habeas basics and Guantanimo, and this one is a great lead-up to the House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on habeas set for 2:00 pm ET this afternoon.