In today's Washington Post installment of Jo Becker and Barton Gellman's report on Cheney's power, A Strong Push From Backstage they discuss Cheney's hands are in everything, not just foreign affairs.
Scores of interviews with advisers to the president and vice president, as well as with other senior officials throughout the government, offer a backstage view of how the Bush White House operates. The president is "the decider," as Bush puts it, but the vice president often serves up his menu of choices.
Cheney led a group that winnowed the president's list of potential Supreme Court nominees. Cheney resolved a crisis in the space program after the Columbia shuttle disaster. Cheney fashioned a controversial truce between the legislative and executive branches -- and averted resignations at the top of the Justice Department and the FBI -- over the right of law enforcement authorities to investigate political corruption in Congress.
And it was Cheney who served as the guardian of conservative orthodoxy on budget and tax matters. He shaped and pushed through Bush's tax cuts, blunting the influence of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, a longtime friend, and of Cabinet rivals he had played a principal role in selecting. He managed to overcome the president's "compassionate conservative" resistance to multiple breaks for the wealthy. He even orchestrated a decision to let a GOP senator switch parties -- giving control of the chamber to Democrats -- rather than meet the senator's demand for billions of dollars in new spending.
The article continues to explain all of the back door kitchen cabinet maneuvering that Cheney is really good at accomplishing.
One of the most telling lines in the article is that The president is "the decider," as Bush puts it, but the vice president often serves up his menu of choices. He manipulates just about everything that goes on in the White House and what gets to the president. And at all times, Cheney is the last person that talks to the president before any announcement of major policy is made, even minor policy.
This is frightening for a big reason. If Mr. Cheney is the one controlling everything, does that mean that Bush is really a dolt? Unaware? Oblivious? Nescient?
AND if this is true, then is Coulter's statement about Bush's domestic policies being a disaster cause for greater concern? Certainly, her belief that the tactics of the War on terror are delusional. Using delusional is being kind.
This may be one of the times when it is okay to say, f***...