Recently it came to light that Dick Cheney and George W. Bush aren't exactly chums. Now the full extent of the contempt Cheney developed for what he saw as Bush's lack of resolve is being exposed, and it's ugly.
The Washington Post's Barton Gellman reports today that in the course of writing his salacious tell-all memoir, which he's doing in longhand on yellow legal pads by the way, Cheney's been talking quite candidly to many scholars and diplomats and other assorted Washington big shots about his feelings toward Bush, and apparently he's hurt that he and the former president just didn't get each other during the waning days of the administration like they used to early on.
"In the second term, he felt Bush was moving away from him," said a participant in the recent gathering, describing Cheney's reply. "He said Bush was shackled by the public reaction and the criticism he took. Bush was more malleable to that. The implication was that Bush had gone soft on him, or rather Bush had hardened against Cheney's advice. He'd showed an independence that Cheney didn't see coming. It was clear that Cheney's doctrine was cast-iron strength at all times — never apologize, never explain — and Bush moved toward the conciliatory."
Gellman goes on to say that sources told him Cheney's been stung by Bush's "concessions to public sentiment," something the soulless old prick views as a "moral weakness," and that it's time for him to break his honor code of silence because "the statute of limitations has expired" on the things he's been keeping bottled up inside.
Now, only Dick Cheney could ever possibly reflect on the "stay the course" presidency of George W. Bush and somehow come to the mangled conclusion that it was conciliatory in just about anything that it did. If there's one thing that objective people can probably agree almost universally on when assessing Bush as a president, it's that he and his administration were hopelessly, tragically stubborn.
But perhaps even more impossible to fathom is that with each passing day Cheney makes Bush look more and more like a sympathetic character. If things keep going the way they're going now, it's entirely possible that history will come to judge Dick Cheney as the best and worst thing to ever happen to George W. Bush's legacy — worst because Bush's misplaced trust in him during his presidency more often than not led to unfortunate consequences, and best because Cheney's post-presidency attacks on him are enough to make even the most dedicated Bush-hater feel sorry for him, even if only just a bit.