I read this entire book and I read it thoughtfully, slowly and with great concentration.
For I've lived through all the events/incidents/occasions that Cheney mentioned in the book and I wanted to savor and learn how it all came down from the INSIDE.
First, some overall impressions of the book, some generalizations.
Note that the book is co-authored by Cheney's daughter, Elizabeth. I suspect that Liz was correcting her father's harsher words, softening his assessments, re-writing his edgy narratives of events.
If not than Dick Cheney is a bigger wuss that I would have ever suspected.
Perhaps I've been reading too much Ann Coulter. Perhaps I've been hanging around too many tea party types. Perhaps my tongue is too sharp and my keyboard even sharper.
For Dick Cheney is entirely too kind in recounting his stories of the many assholes who've crossed his path through the years.
During the lead-up to the Iraq war, for example, a supreme asshole, Brent Scowcroft:
"On invading Iraq, former National Security Advisor, Brent Scowcroft, argued it was unlikely that Saddam would provide WMD to terrorists, overlooking the fact that Iraq had already provided safe haven, training, and material support to terrorists. Brent went on to argue that we could rely on the UNSecurity Council and international inspections to contain the threat posed by SaddamCome on. First, did Scowcroft really believe that claptrap above? The UN Security Council would contain the threat posed by Saddam? The same security council which had issued 15+ votes to do something about Saddam but never did? A point Cheney does not hesitate to point out but he does it entirely too kindly. It was an astonishingly dumb thing to say in front of the world yet Cheney goes into some sob story about respecting the guy, how he was stuck in a pre-9-11 mindset.
Bullshit. Brent Scowcroft was an asshole, full of himself and I suspect he was pocketing some foreign funds.
Dick Cheney walks entirely too softly around the jerks in his surround.
Consider this summary of the worst president ever before Barack Obama:
"My biggest frustration with President Carter arose while I was serving as secretary of defense. President George H.W. Bush and Secretary of State James Baker were working to get U.N. Security Council approval of a resolution authorizing the use of force to eject the Iraqis from Kuwait in 1990-1991, We found out that former President Carter was actively lobbying against the U.S. position. He had contacted heads of government with seats on the Security Council and urged them to oppose our resolution. His intervention was ineffective-and also totally inappropriate for a former president."Frustration? Cheney only felt "frustration" as a former president goes behind his back, stabbing not only the sitting and elected president (bearing in mind that Carter was summarily UNELECTED like no president before) in the back, but betraying the United States of America?
I should think Cheney would have been red, hot, livid, throwing things angry.
It's like throughout the book and let me now say that I understand that people like Dick Cheney have to be nice, have to effect a sort of parlor politeness in order to be part of the political society in which he consorts. Cheney's daughter, Liz, has a bright future in front of her and, of course, it wouldn't do for Dick Cheney to go damning unkindly those with whom she might have to work.
I really do understand this.
But I was frustrated by how Cheney kept providing kind excuses for all the screw-ups around him.
On his famous energy study:
It's that old Republican lack of gonads again. Cheney cites numerous instances of this peculiar place of nothingness between many Republican male legs and I recall the story of Cheney's energy meetings he references above.
"all we were doing was creating a real political headache for ourselves by refusing to give them up. But I believed something larger was at stake: the power of the presidency and the ability of the president and vice president to carry out their constitutional duties.."
I recall it was the foaming Democrats who carried on about the VP interviewing various players in the energy market and how those silly left wing dolts tried to make it sound like something dirty and nefarious was afoot when Cheney was trying to formulate an energy policy and was, duh, talking to all involved in the production of energy. Yet many of the "staff" (this has Karl Rove, a fellow filled with air between the legs, written all over it) wanted Cheney to release the names of who he was talking to.
There are many instances of this malady that seems to affect so many Republicans up there in D.C. The longer they've been in D.C., the greater the viewing range between their emasculated legs. Cheney told his stories, he didn't avoid any subject, but he was nice and provided "nice" reasons for truly absurd and cowardly behavior. Let me assure that many of those anecdotes Cheney recites involved President George W. Bush.
He treats President Bush very kindly but if one could truly read between his polite lines, it does appear that very often, particularly toward the end of the Bush/Cheney term, Bush and Cheney were seldom on the same page. In fact, one thing Cheney does NOT discuss in his book is the Valerie Plame joke. His Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby was found guilty of some lame crime and I'm quite sure this angered Cheney to no end. Cheney did mention Scooter quite a bit in the book; it was obvious he liked and was fond of his colleague. I think Cheney's not mentioning this incident speaks volumes. I'd even go out on a limb and daresay I bet it cause George W. and Cheney to be very cold to each other post-administration. I know I'd be furious at what happened to Scooter Libby and the cowardice of George W. for allowing such an injustice to happen. My suspicion is that Dick Cheney too is a principled man and he would never have allowed such a thing to happen to, say, a Karl Rove.
But I speculate.
Cheney deals with his personal issues handily, not dwelling on them but putting it out there. On the lesbianism of his daughter he tells the story of them two sitting alone when she tells her father about her homosexuality. Cheney says he told his daughter he just wanted her to be happy and I'm reading and thinking….seriously, that's all there was to it?
Yes it speaks well for Dick Cheney that he wants his lesbian daughter to be happy. Of course he would want that. But it was mentioned in a sentence then it was over?
Same thing with his famous shooting incident and his military service, or lack of. Cheney spends no more than a paragraph on any of these incidents.
Not that he lies, I hasten to insert. Not that the verbiage seems to try to avoid it. It's just kind of sudden, swift and short. If someone were to say to me "what more do you want, Pat", I'd have to say nothing, Cheney covered it well.
I sometimes forget that I'm out here in la-la land where every MSNBC hate-monger spends many hours hating and despising Dick Cheney, where CNN pundits rant on about this crazy VP who shoots people and holds secret meetings, where the Mainstream media launches into screeds on the evil that is Bush and Cheney and the man gently sums it up in a paragraph and damn, it almost seems like an anti-climax.
There was one big surprise to me in this book, one person that Dick Cheney seems to so dislike, even in this very nice and kindly memoir of his time in the public eye.
By Dick Cheney she was a real dim bulb.
Color me shocked.
To all the world Condi seemed to be so bright, so intelligent, why I recall a time of serious talk of her being a Republican presidential nominee.
Dick Cheney doesn't seem to think highly of her. You'll have to read the book to find out why but Cheney makes a good case.
I consider "In My Time" to be about as fair and honest a political memoir as any ever written. Don't go expecting diatribes and rants about the really awful people, even the Democrats. Cheney doesn't even write bad about Al Gore and what a zero-burger that guy is.
I did so enjoy this read as it all happened "in my time" which means I am almost as old as Dick Cheney.