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Joan Didion on Richard Cheney
September 20, 2006 9:24 AM   Subscribe

Vice President Richard Cheney, a mystery and an enigma: Joan Didion pulls together what is publicly known about Richard Cheney--his career history, his ideas, the way he works. "He runs an office so disinclined to communicate that it routinely refuses to disclose who works there, even for updates to the Federal Directory, which lists names and contact addresses for government officials. 'We just don't give out that kind of information,' an aide told one reporter. 'It's just not something we talk about.'" Previously.
posted by russilwvong (23 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Paper trails are a liability. Criminals like their business kept off the books (example).
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:28 AM on September 20, 2006


Let's keep all internet transactions in and out of his office on file for at least 2 years.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:41 AM on September 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


Very interesting, and great to see Didion writing again. Her relentlessly honest book about the sudden death of her husband while their daughter was in a coma, The Year of Magical Thinking, has been a comfort to my own grieving mother following the equally sudden death of my dad three years ago. Didion is a major voice in modern journalism, and we need more light shone in the darkest corners of this terrifying administration.
posted by digaman at 9:50 AM on September 20, 2006


"I didn't like the East?" Jesus fucking wept!
posted by DenOfSizer at 9:53 AM on September 20, 2006


If you've ever read Didion's "Miami" or "Salvador" from the 80's you'll realize that the Bush Admin. is a perfect topic for her. They both exude a shady menace that is completely in line with what we experience from Washington today.

Her collection "Political Fictions" from 2001 is also very good reading. It is a series of similar pieces from NYRB covering selected events, conventions, the Clinton impeachment proceedings, etc., during the first Bush and Clinton presidencies.
posted by hwestiii at 10:19 AM on September 20, 2006


I'm trying to think who Cheney (as described by Didion) most reminds me of. The secrecy, the ambition, the instinctive grasping for power--Nixon, perhaps, although even Nixon wouldn't have shown such reckless disregard for consequences.
posted by russilwvong at 10:19 AM on September 20, 2006


OK, so it's not exactly trenchant political analysis, but, damn, I didn't like the man before I read this article, and now I just want to feed him feet-first into a woodchipper to see if I could get him to make something other than that weird snarly-face expression he habitually wears.
posted by kcds at 10:26 AM on September 20, 2006


Until they purge Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest of the 'vulcans' from D.C. this kind of thing will continue to happen and 'Murica and freedom will suffer for it. Think about it: Sleazeballs like Cheney and Rumsfeld have been poisening the capitol and this country's institutions since the late 1960's forward. That's almost forty years. And now a new generation is gearing up to take their place.
So long Constitution, so long Bill of Rights, so long freedom and democracy and legitimate voting and representative government and everything that a democratic republic needs to consider itself legitimate and functioning. Hello third world dictatorship, endless war, 'enemies of the state', kangaroo courts and encroaching plutocracy. Goodbye middle class, a home in the 'burbs' and the white picket fence. Wonder what that would have been like?
posted by mk1gti at 10:34 AM on September 20, 2006


The wierd snarly face expression is due to a stroke/heart-attack he suffered at the ripe old age of 37 or something around there. Can't remember exactly where I saw that, but it was a documentary thing about Cheney. That sneer is due to a form of muscle paralysis due to loss of blood to the brain at one point or another. (I think the movie/documentary was The Corporation, but I can't be sure)
His history of working for the government to bring about certain political policies is well recorded. And most people don't remember who was Secretary of Defense during the first Gulf War. That's right kids, Richard Cheney. And his good buddy Donald Rumsfeld just happens to be playing around in that role today.
It's amazing how many people really just don't know (or care I guess) that the guy who is 1 bullet away from being President has a history of being a historically "bad guy". Of course, his supporters will claim he "understands how the world works". I would counter that he bullies his view of the world and doesn't take criticism or advice that does not fit into his egocentric and nationalistic quest for power and influence.
Oh, and he worked in the Nixon administration, holding several interesting posistions, including Deputy Assistant to the President. During the Ford Administration, he and Rumsfeld pulled off some interesting shinanigans that were covered in a Rolling Stone article at the time. Check out the Wikipedia page to read all the juice details of his early political career here.

Oh, and how many people knew that Donald Rumsfeld has been Secretary of Defense twice under 2 different administrations? I really don't like these people...
posted by daq at 10:50 AM on September 20, 2006


Thanks, daq. Here's the 2004 Rolling Stone article.
posted by russilwvong at 10:58 AM on September 20, 2006


"The weird snarly face expression is due to a stroke/heart-attack he suffered at the ripe old age of 37 or something"

Nonsense. It's a clear case of "stop making that face or your face will freeze that way!" I mean most stroke victims just have a droop. It just seems fitting Cheney ended up with a perma-snarl. I like to think it was the universe's vain attempt to warn us about him. Too bad we didn't take the hint.
posted by emjaybee at 11:04 AM on September 20, 2006


Richard “Shooter-Dick” Cheney is, in fact, a leading beast of the Reptile People.

His snarling kind is sometimes spoken of on Art Bell’s late night radio program. This yellowed eyed, lizard-faced race of side-mouthed humanoids, as any radio insomniac knows, can only assume human form for short periods of time.

Slithered into a cold-blooded pile in an undisclosed location, they wait. He and his coven kin plot and plan the day, November 2nd, when they will emerge from the underworld, feast on our flesh, and bask in final victory.
posted by BillyElmore at 11:19 AM on September 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


Oh, and how many people knew that Donald Rumsfeld has been Secretary of Defense twice under 2 different administrations? I really don't like these people...


I'm old enough to have known that. I was in high school during the Ford Admin. and knew the name, but not much else.
I remember when I first heard that he'd been reappointed SecDef by Bush II, and thinking "Jesus, he's got to be ancient by now."

Not so much really. He must have been one of the youngest Defense Secretaries ever back in the 70's.

He was also CEO of G.D. Searle when they sprang NutriSweet on the world.
posted by hwestiii at 11:37 AM on September 20, 2006


"It's amazing how many people really just don't know (or care I guess) that the guy who is 1 bullet away from being President has a history of being a historically "bad guy"."

and I use to wonder why no one has "taken out" W.
the consequences are even scarier.
posted by ShawnString at 11:51 AM on September 20, 2006


This administration makes a clearer argument than any other for the necessity of some kind of background screening by lie detector, pyschological screening, etc. such as what takes place at the CIA or NSA before taking high public offices such as these. Because if you don't, sociopaths like these control the world. . .
posted by mk1gti at 11:56 AM on September 20, 2006


hwestiii writes "He must have been one of the youngest Defense Secretaries ever back in the 70's."

Youngest ever. McNamara was only a couple years older when he took the job in '61, though. Curious thing is, Rumsfeld is also (in his current term) the oldest Secretary of Defense ever. Also, the worst Secretary of Defense ever.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:24 PM on September 20, 2006


Cheney cultivated a control of detail that extended even to questioning the use in the residence of "little dishes of salt with funny little spoons" rather than "regular salt shakers."
---
Armstrong, who was with the group when the accident occurred, said Whittington was "peppered" with birdshot.

Is this what they mean by "seasoned politicians"?
posted by hal9k at 12:50 PM on September 20, 2006


The colossal irony is that the office that refuses even to tell you who in it is paid from your public purse, is advocating the government's right to, without warrants or any other check, tap your phone, review your bank records, and record everything you do on the Internet.
posted by orthogonality at 2:27 PM on September 20, 2006


The fact that his office and everyone who works for him are allowed to stay under the radar is disgusting--he works for us and all his staff does too. The press should be with him every day.
posted by amberglow at 3:09 PM on September 20, 2006


They should not only be with him, they should be esconced within his clothing and up his poop-chute, sleeping in bed with he and Lynn and tailing and phone tapping anyone and everyone associated with that collection of sleazeballs.
Oh, and chip him too. . . .
posted by mk1gti at 4:11 PM on September 20, 2006


"La nature vous donne votre visage de vingt ans. La vie modèle votre visage de trente, mais celui de cinquante, c'est à vous de le mériter."* — Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel
*"Nature gives you the face you have at twenty. Life shapes the face you have at thirty. But at fifty you get the face you deserve."
posted by rob511 at 6:10 PM on September 20, 2006


The NY Review of Books is excellent. Amazing, lucid accessible essays. It's my second fave after Harper's Magazine.

There's a picture of him, as a young man of 34 in 1975, standing with Rummy in the print version of NYRB, that shows his trademark sleazeball little man scowl fully developed and radiating arrogance and menace as newly appointed chief of staff for Nixon (he took over for Rummy who went from that position to sec. of defense).

He and his long time lackey and hitman David S. Addington need to removed as far away from public office as possible. Actually jail would be the perfect place for them, but for now I would just settle for the former.
posted by Skygazer at 10:05 AM on September 21, 2006


Very interesting, and great to see Didion writing again. Her relentlessly honest book about the sudden death of her husband while their daughter was in a coma, The Year of Magical Thinking, ... Didion is a major voice in modern journalism, and we need more light shone in the darkest corners of this terrifying administration.
posted by digaman


Seconded. Awesome talent.
posted by nofundy at 11:10 AM on September 21, 2006


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