down memory lane: the Cheney years…

Posted on Thursday 30 November 2006

This table is a brief summary of the article Hail to the Chief in the Sunday Boston Globe about Dick Cheney’s political career. There’s also a good article, The Curse of Dick Cheney, in Rolling Stone:

Year President Position Comments
1969 Nixon Assistant, Office of Economic Opportunity
  • Hired by Donald Rumsfeld to impose greater political control over the office.
  • 1974 Ford Chief of Staff to the President
  • Fought the Freedom of Information Act
  • Fought the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [passed because of unwarranted N.S.A. Domestic Surveillance]
  • 1978 Carter/Reagan Congressman from Wyoming
  • Championed Reagan ignoring the Boland Ammendment
  • Fought Congressional notification of covert operations
  • 1988 Bush I Secretary of Defense
  • Recommended fighting the Gulf War without Congressional Approval
  • Impounded funds allocated by Congress
  • Placed military lawyers under political appointees against the will of Congress
  • 2000 Bush II Vice President
  • Energy Policy Task force records kept secret – gutted the Federal Advisory Committee Act
  • Renewed attempt to put military lawyers under the control of civilian appointees
  • Erected new roadblocks to Freedom of Information Act
  • Signing Statements to increase Presidential power
  • Secret legal opinions informing military and CIA interrogators that the president has the power to authorize them to violate laws banning torture
  • Wiretapping Americans’ international phone calls and e-mails without warrants, violating the 1978 F.I.S.A. surveillance law
  • From his earliest days, Dick Cheney has been at war with Oversight, fighting to return us not to the Reagan Era, but to the Nixon Era. The roots of his systematic erosion of the balance of powers is part of a campaign that dates from his days as President Ford’s Chief of Staff – fighting the post-Nixon attempts to force Executive Branch transparency. Ah, those were the days of the Imperial Presidency when men were men.

    The Rolling Stone article mentioned above has comments by colleagues from various waystations in his career. Here are just a couple:
    "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."
    "I don’t believe he is an ideologue," says former Sen. Tim Wirth of Colorado. "But he is the most partisan politician I’ve ever met." Many weekends, while Congress was in session, Wirth and Cheney would take the same flight to Chicago, where they’d change planes for Colorado and Wyoming. "I spent a lot of time waiting for planes with Dick Cheney," Wirth, a Democrat, says. "He never talked about ideology. He talked about how the Republicans were going to take over the House of Representatives." Wirth adds, "It seemed impossible, but that’s exactly what happened."

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