To put it bluntly, Cheney has blown it. One would have expected a classic Washington establishment insider to know how to keep his reputation intact through innumerable controversies--calling the "right" people here, consulting the "wise" men and women of D.C. there, taking the puffed-up press poobahs of the Capital City to lunch at the White House here and there. Anybody recall how Henry Kissinger came out of the Nixon sleaze and the Vietnam disaster smelling like a bouquet of yellow roses--at least with the bunch that counts in D.C. and New York--despite the fact that he was in both situations up to his eyeballs?
Instead of being Kissinger, Cheney has been Nixon in the Bush term. He has hunkered down in the White House and "undisclosed locations." He's been uncommunicative with the broader public and unconcerned about his image until it's too late. He's often appeared to be the sinister puppeteer, pulling Bush's strings on critical matters like Iraq. He's more associated with the Halliburton scandal than anything else in the public mind. And most importantly from a political standpoint, Dick Cheney is now seen as a rigid ideologue, unconcerned about facts that do not fit into his preconceived notions of the world, too closely tied to the far right and too unacceptable to the voters as a whole to be what he once was: workable standby equipment, a potential president who could take office with popular support.
In short, Cheney has failed his president and become a significant liability.
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