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The Curse of Dick Cheney
September 6, 2004 11:12 AM   Subscribe

Cheney disclosed. Rolling Stone's profile of our ambitious vice-president and the team he assembled to keep himself in power: "'They were like cancer cells,' says retired Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, who worked on the Defense Department's Near East and South Asia desk during the buildup to the Iraq war. 'They didn't care about the truth. They had an agenda. I'd never seen anything like it. They deformed everything.'" [Did you know that "dancing revolution" blogeur John Barlow was a former Cheney campaign worker? I sure didn't.]
posted by digaman (21 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Those who have known him over the years remain astounded by what they describe as his almost autistic indifference to the thoughts and feelings of others. "He has the least interest in human beings of anyone I have ever met," says John Perry Barlow, his former supporter. Cheney's freshman-year roommate, Steve Billings, agrees: "If I could ask Dick one question, I'd ask him how he could be so unempathetic."

Those pesky freshman roommates...
posted by kozad at 11:20 AM on September 6, 2004


Great article, digaman. Thanks.
posted by homunculus at 11:47 AM on September 6, 2004


What is common in such interactions is that the fantasist inevitably treats other people merely as props — there is no interest in, or even awareness of, others as having wills or minds of their own. The man who bores us with stories designed to impress us with his importance, or his intellect, or his bank account, cares nothing for us as individuals — for he has already cast us in the role that he wishes us to play: We are there to be impressed by him. Indeed, it is an error even to suggest that he is trying to impress us, for this would assume that he is willing to learn enough about us to discover how best we might be impressed. But nothing of the kind occurs. And why should it? After all, the fantasist has already projected onto us the role that we are to play in his fantasy; no matter what we may be thinking of his recital, it never crosses his mind that we may be utterly failing to play the part expected of us — indeed, it is sometimes astonishing to see how much exertion is required of us in order to bring our profound lack of interest to the fantasist’s attention.

(This is from a Foreign Policy Review article a couple of years back which explains...no, not Dick Cheney, but "Al Qaida's Fantasy Ideology.")
posted by kozad at 11:54 AM on September 6, 2004


Amazing quote, kozad.
posted by digaman at 12:09 PM on September 6, 2004


Scathing account of Cheney's life. Never quite heard it put this way.. thanks digaman.
posted by cmicali at 12:12 PM on September 6, 2004


The Constitution forbids a state's electors from voting for candidates for president and vice president who are both "an inhabitant of the same state as themselves." Yet by voting for Bush and Cheney, electors in Texas did precisely that. Cheney lived in Texas, had a Texas driver's license and filed his federal income tax using a Texas address. He had also voted in Texas, not in Wyoming, a state where he had not lived full-time for decades.

It is a wonder the flag doesn't just burst into flames when ppl like this wrap themselves in it.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:28 PM on September 6, 2004


The Constitution forbids a state's electors from voting for candidates for president and vice president who are both "an inhabitant of the same state as themselves." Yet by voting for Bush and Cheney, electors in Texas did precisely that. Cheney lived in Texas, had a Texas driver's license and filed his federal income tax using a Texas address. He had also voted in Texas, not in Wyoming, a state where he had not lived full-time for decades.

If I'm not mistaken, there were complaints files during the 2000 election regarding exactly this. And the courts disregarded it was "not enough time to fix" and "well, it LOOKS like he is from Wyoming" and "Well, this doesn't involve Gore, so screw it."

Yep, that's those activist judges at work again.
posted by benjh at 1:08 PM on September 6, 2004


That pretty much confirms my impressions of Cheney. I remember thinking upon first seeing him that he looked and gave off the vibe like a WASPier Luca Brasi.
posted by jonmc at 1:11 PM on September 6, 2004


"Cheney's manner and authority of voice far outstrip his true abilities," says Chas Freeman, who served under Bush's father as ambassador to Saudi Arabia. "It was clear from the start that Bush required adult supervision -- but it turns out Cheney has even worse instincts. He does not understand that when you act recklessly, your mistakes will come back and bite you on the ass."

Bush/Cheney 04: A catastrophic failure and an autistic jinx.
posted by amberglow at 1:13 PM on September 6, 2004


Kozad's excellent quotation probably describes most individuals who rise to power, be it political or economical. Those who seek power are the ones least qualified to wield it.
posted by SPrintF at 1:25 PM on September 6, 2004


So where would Cheney fall on the psychopathy scale, then?

[S]ense of entitlement, unremorseful, apathetic to others, unconscionable, blameful of others, manipulative and conning, affectively cold, disparate understanding of behavior and socially acceptable behavior, disregardful of social obligations, nonconforming to social norms, irresponsible.

Hmmmmm.
posted by jokeefe at 1:32 PM on September 6, 2004


A better link for the Psychopathy Checklist.

Glibness/superficial charm (No data)
Grandiose sense of self-worth (Self-evident)
Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom (Ditto)
Pathological lying ("There are WMDs!")
Conning/manipulative (See above)
Lack of remorse or guilt (Self-evident; see Halliuburton)
Shallow affect (Hmmmm.... sounds about right)
Callous/lack of empathy (Anecedotal evidence abounds)
Parasitic lifestyle (Board of Directors of Evil, Inc., Rumsfeld's best friend, Halliburton, Vice President)
Poor behavioral control ("Go fuck yourself")
Promiscuous sexual behavior (Jury is still out on this one)
Early behavior problems (Lots more anecdotal evidence-- Yale, etc.)
Lack of realistic, long-term goals (Invade Iraq! It'll be a cake-walk!)
Impulsivity (See above)
Irresponsibility (Ditto)
Failure to accept responsibility for own actions (Yep, sounds about right)
posted by jokeefe at 1:56 PM on September 6, 2004



Bush/Cheney 04: A catastrophic failure and an autistic jinx.


where i come from, we don't confuse our autistics with common sociopaths.
posted by quonsar at 1:57 PM on September 6, 2004


ok then : >

Bush/Cheney 04: A catastrophic failure and a sociopathic evildoer
posted by amberglow at 2:03 PM on September 6, 2004


It's a good read digaman. Thanks for the link. But . . .

An article that starts by saying someone's career "has been marred by one disaster after another" kicks off like a cheap hatchet job. It reminded me of what they say about Abraham Lincoln.

For the other side, there's John Perry Barlow's piece on why Cheney's a statesman and not a shit, prompting excellent digest(s) by troutfishing and a slightly scary vision from kablam.

. . . On the other hand.
posted by iffley at 2:18 PM on September 6, 2004


I particularly liked:

on October 26th, 1965, the Selective Service announced that childless married men no longer would be exempted from having to fight for their country. Nine months and two days later, the first of Cheney's two daughters, Elizabeth, was born.
posted by iffley at 2:20 PM on September 6, 2004


iffley, if you look at the article, the phrase "The veep's career has been marred by one disaster after another" is clearly a subhed, not the lede. Subheds and all other forms of display type are only very, very rarely written by the author at big magazines like Rolling Stone. In my ten years of writing for Wired, only one of my suggested headlines was used, and I don't even bother composing subheds -- we have a guy whose job is composing compelling display type, more or less. In general, blaming the author for display type is like blaming the cook for a restaurant's decor.
posted by digaman at 2:41 PM on September 6, 2004




Damn. The Steve Brodner illustration that accompanies the article is pretty great, too.
posted by Peter H at 2:49 PM on September 6, 2004


Going offtopic for a moment, John Perry Barlow's blog is a gem. A bit like Mefi, except with worse spelling, lots of pottymouth, and John Perry gets to write all the FPPs. That man knows a lot about the price of drugs. And then there's his chosen form of protest at the RNC: Guerrilla Dancing.
posted by iffley at 4:32 PM on September 6, 2004


Cheney saw politics as a game where you never stop pushing.

That fits in pretty well with everything I've read about not just Cheney but the entire administration in terms of secrecy, increasing the powers of the executive branch, etc. (particularly what I've read in Worse than Watergate. I'm not sure if there's a symbiotic relationship between this analysis and the ones I've previously read though.

The illustration initially struck me as looking very much like some sort of diseased heart...
posted by clevershark at 4:39 PM on September 6, 2004


Skimming the Cheney article made me think that it's possible Dick and George are of a new breed of conservative where much of their agenda is determined by their wives.
posted by drezdn at 9:42 PM on September 6, 2004


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