Today I had the pleasure of a small-group lunch with the Vice President. Here is my report. Read it not only for the usual, firm defense of enhanced interrogation and the like but also for a great story about Gerald Ford’s decisionmaking regarding a running mate.
Now, for Spectator readers especially, some of what didn’t make the report above.
Most interesting, I think, was the methodical and dispassionate way Cheney laid out his explanation for how he has gone from being a very popular figure who was widely respected for reasonableness and sober judgment to the unpopular Darth Vader of today. “There is no question it [his reputation] has been diminished in the last eight years,” he said, without sounding terribly concerned about it.
The four reasons he listed: 1) The “residue” of people being “angry” about the outcome of the close Florida recount in the 2000 race. 2) “The nature of the job.” His job is “strictly advisory,” and he would lose his effectiveness and trustworthiness as an advisor to Bush if he goes out and talks about his advice. “To be effective, I had to be out of the limelight, not explaining myself,” he said. 3) “The basic challenges of 9/11.” He said he and Bush were determined that “there wasn’t going to be another 9/11 on our watch.” That led to programs like the intelligence surveillance efforts and the enhanced interrogation techniques, where “secrecy was a very important part of a successful policy” about things that by nature had to be “highly classified.” All of which “played into the image that ‘Cheney is secretive,” which then led to fears about what he was being secretive about. 4) “Torture. That word gets thrown around with great abandon. And it makes it hard to portray oneself as warm and fuzzy.” (For the record, he flatly said: “We don’t torture.”)
More later, if I find any more good nuggets when reviewing my notes……
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?