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Cheney Unbound

It's not all that surprising that Dick Cheney has bitter feelings about George W. Bush, but the WaPo's Barton Gellman has an article today that fleshes those feelings out a bit:

Cheney's disappointment with the former president surfaced recently in one of the informal conversations he is holding to discuss the book with authors, diplomats, policy experts and past colleagues. By habit, he listens more than he talks, but Cheney broke form when asked about his regrets.

"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."

Of course, Cheney's right that Bush moved away from him in the second term. What I find remarkable about Cheney--and Bolton and Rumsfeld and others who complain that Bush somehow betrayed them--is their apparent inability to comprehend that the reason Bush moved away from them is because they had made such a hash of things during his first term. 

--Jason Zengerle