Descripción de editorial
The riveting, disturbing exposé of the vice president who co-opted executive control over the U.S. government and became the “shadow president” of the George W. Bush administration.
Dick Cheney was the most powerful yet most unpopular vice president in U.S. history. He thrived alongside a president who had little interest in policy and limited experience in the ways of Washington. Yet Cheney’s quiet, steady rise to prominence over a span of three decades occurred largely behind the scenes. He survived the collapse of the Nixon presidency, finding a position in the administration of Gerald Ford. He was then elected to the House of Representatives, and later he earned a spot in the cabinet of the first Bush presidency.
But when he became George W. Bush’s running mate, Cheney reached a new level of influence. From engineering his own selection as vice president to his support of policies allowing torture as a permissible weapon in the “war on terror,” Cheney steered America consistently rightward. In Vice, veteran reporters Lou Dubose and Jake Bernstein uncover startling revelations, including
• the extraordinary intimidation of CIA officials by a vice president bent on obtaining intelligence to support a foregone conclusion: the invasion of Iraq
• details on Cheney’s secret energy task force, including his meeting with Enron chief Ken Lay months before Lay was indicted—and how Cheney went to court to erode the powers of Congress
• how Cheney helped to kill 2003 diplomatic overtures from Iran to discuss concessions on its nuclear program and policy toward Israel
• Cheney’s role in engineering multibillion-dollar military contracts in Iraq to benefit Halliburton, the company he once ran
In the words of one of Cheney’s colleagues from the House: “Dick keeps his own counsel. He’s completely in control. He’s completely sure of himself in everything he does. It’s what got him to where he is today: the most powerful vice president to ever hold office. It’s also what’s bringing about his downfall.”
Dubose and Bernstein show in this thorough, rollicking career biography that it's Cheney-not the more publicly criticized Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, Condoleeza Rice or President Bush-who is chiefly responsible for the most unpopular aspects of the Bush regime: an imperial executive office and foreign policy; abandonment of democratic ideals (respect for government checks and balances, the Geneva Convention, the Bill of Rights and the Freedom of Information Act); and questionable corporate-government colusion (the secret energy task force, Halliburton's government contracts in Iraq). Tracing Cheney through three White House adminsitrations, six terms in the House of Representatives, and a tour as Halliburton CEO, the portrait that emerges from these pages is both alarming and compelling; like a J.R. Ewing, Cheney proves to be the kind of fascinating figure you love to hate. As obstacles to Cheney's will-Congress, the Constitution, foreign countries, the press, or other politicians-are sidestepped, ignored, or trammeled, Cheney emerges as a classic Machiavellian; in Cheney's case, it appears that the end which justifies the means is power, pure and simple. Against Cheney, idealistic liberals who believe that an appeal to democratic ideals, the Constitution, or basic decency will work with this administration emerge here as painfully na ve; unfortunately, this realization has only settled in after the damage was already done. Dubose and Bernstein present a sobering and darkly flattering expose of the reclusive power behind the throne, and a grim vision of what his legacy may be.