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Friday, June 29, 2007

 
One More Thing, Dean

by digby

Atrios and Josh Marshall both have interesting comments today on the changing zeitgeist in DC regarding Dick Cheney. This column by David Broder, along with the earlier story by Sally Quinn reporting in from the wilds of the McClean Bar-B-Que circuit, does indicate that King Dick has suddenly gone out of fashion.

Broder wrote:

Cheney used his years of experience, as a former White House chief of staff, as the secretary of defense and as the House Republican whip -- and all the savvy that moved him into those positions -- to amass power and use it in the Bush administration. He was more than a match for the newcomers to the White House, and he outfoxed even the veterans of past administrations when it came to the bureaucratic wars.

He was not the ultimate decision-maker. Bush retained that authority, and he used it to decide on war in Iraq, the final numbers in the budget and who got to sit on the Supreme Court. But Cheney shaped all of those decisions with his recommendations to the president -- often in ways that were unknown to the other players and unseen by Congress and the public.

Secrecy was one of his tools and weapons, and his lawyers -- Scooter Libby first and now David Addington -- frustrated other policymakers by their willingness to shape or reshape the law to suit Cheney's arguments.

Broder seems to have at long last recognized that something is very rotten in Dick Cheney's office. Huzzah. But it is curious that he mentions Scooter Libby's name without addressing whether he still thinks it's such a great idea to shield one of these lying, power-mad zealots from the consequences of his actions. (Maybe Sally Quinn ought to crank up the phone tree and find out.)

With all the Claud Rainsing about Dick Cheney's power grab, you have to wonder when Broder will finally break to the surface of his beltway wet dream long enough to recognize that a federal prosecutor dealing with one of Dick Cheney's minions repeatedly lying to his face might have justifiably been suspicious that something more than "just politics" was going on. After all, he was seeing this operation close up, in all its glory, years ago. Cops and prosecutors tend to get curious about why people are lying and covering things up. It's just the way they think. And when people continue to do it, even when they are caught red handed and everyone knows it, prosecutors have no choice but to charge them. The stench coming from Cheney's office had to have been extremely pungent.

Broder admits that he was wrong to think that Cheney would be a good second in command and that's a big admission for him, I'm sure. But he also makes the flat claim that what Cheney has done was constitutional and legal. Again with the knee-jerk defense of the Bushies. Just because they say it doesn't make it true and there are so many secrets still unrevealed that it's impossible to properly assess that fact. It's long past time for these insiders to stop automatically giving the administration the benefit of the doubt.

And it is also long past time they offered an apology to Patrick Fitzgerald who was just doing his job, quietly and deliberately, while Cheney and Scooter's compatriots both in and out of the administration shrieked like wounded harpies at the prospect of any of the Vice President's good and honest men being held to account for anything. These courtiers were so caught up in defending one of their own that they didn't even realize that the bastard in all this was the guy who sent Scooter out to lie and cover up --- their great pal, Dick Cheney, the man who learned everything he ever needed to learn about politics by watching Dick Nixon and then doing it better. These people look more and more foolish every day.


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