Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 9, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

WHO'S YOUR DADDY?....Earlier this year Condoleezza Rice decided it was time to talk with Iran about its funding of Shiite militias in Iraq. According to today's Washington Post, Ambassador Ryan Crocker was dubious:

When Rice told Crocker to get ready for talks with Iran, he asked her the "blindingly obvious" question of whether Vice President Cheney would allow it, a U.S. official said. Rice, according to the official, told Crocker that it "wasn't your lane," adding, "I'll work it back here. That's not your problem."

Golly. Why were they so concerned about Cheney? All they had to do was get the President of the United States on their side and that would have been that. Right? I wonder why they didn't think of that?

Kevin Drum 1:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (39)

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Maybe in Texas, "Vice" means "Super". We've all just been confused by language all this time.

Posted by: craigie on September 9, 2007 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

As if GWB takes a shit without Cheney's permission....

Posted by: Disputo on September 9, 2007 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe in Texas, "Vice" means "Super".

Nope, it means in TX what it means everywhere else:

  1. An evil, degrading, or immoral practice or habit.
  2. A serious moral failing.
  3. Wicked or evil conduct or habits; corruption.
Posted by: Disputo on September 9, 2007 at 2:10 AM | PERMALINK

Just laughing here. Yeah, the Puppet President.

He always looks totally blank anytime served up with anything requiring original thought. The 11th September schoolroom look was classic Bush. Nobody was home. He had no clue how to react.

Let's get that as his name for posterity. The Puppet President.

Anybody got anything better.

Posted by: notthere on September 9, 2007 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

The real worker in Texas is not the Governor, its the Lt. Governor.has been for quite a while.

So maybe Cheney is the Lt President. After all the vacations and photo-ops George does, surely he isnt running the White House. Cheney would seem to be.

Posted by: Ya Know.... on September 9, 2007 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

FWIW, often times "vice" means "victimless". This is not one of those times.

Posted by: jerry on September 9, 2007 at 2:59 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps it's "vise" instead of "vice", describing the means by which the President's balls are being crushed, which would be good clean fun if the country, and the friendly neighbors we've invaded, weren't going to hell too.

Posted by: bad Jim on September 9, 2007 at 4:02 AM | PERMALINK

I am laughing at the cleverness of the previous posters, but I'm not cutting GWB any slack for the evil doings of Cheney. GWB approves of what DC is doing. Thinks he is doing a heckofajob. It's strategic, you know what I mean? Principled.

Posted by: PTate in FR on September 9, 2007 at 6:36 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "Golly."

Gee willikers.

Nah -- i'm sorry, but your Leave It to Beaver epithets simply don't work here. When you're talking about Dick Cheney, you need real cussing.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 9, 2007 at 6:45 AM | PERMALINK

notthere at 2:13am asked for other suggestions
besides "puppet pres." as gwb's name for posterity.

on our shows we've been using the term "pres. shit for brains". we've been getting lots of responses along the line of: "absolutely perfect description----right on the money".

bill mayer
kenneth olbermann

Posted by: wschneid25 on September 9, 2007 at 6:46 AM | PERMALINK

notthere: "Let's get that as his name for posterity. The Puppet President. Anybody got anything better."

I think some dear old ladies from the Alabama GOP prettu much nailed it back in '72, when they called him "The Texas Souffle."

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 9, 2007 at 6:55 AM | PERMALINK

What struck me in the article was the role of Ed Gillespie in the selling of the surge. It seems like he might be the culprit in some of the misrepresentations that have been made.

Posted by: HL Mungo on September 9, 2007 at 6:55 AM | PERMALINK

This WaPo article reveals what is true of any administration, the differences of opinion between people. The job of GwB (with or without the assent of Rasputin, er, Cheney) is to distill those differences and select the most effective, sensible course. GwB follows his gut, as Colbert has pointed out, with disastrous consequences.

Look at the start of the Iraqcle debacle when he let the DoD not only take over all aspects of the war, he let them ignore State's background work on a plan for post-war Iraq. Every turning point, it seems that GwB has made the wrong choice, much as he did before becoming President.

GwB simply has no experience making the right choice and all through his life, he has never had to pay, emotionally, physically, spititually, for being wrong. Only the people affected by his decisions pay.

Posted by: TJM on September 9, 2007 at 7:48 AM | PERMALINK

Dick seemingly admitted to his role during an interview on CNN this summer, saying:

"Brent doesn't walk in my shoes these days. He's not in the job I'm in.
and those of us who support him and advise him."

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 9, 2007 at 8:07 AM | PERMALINK

In yet another stunning example of the brilliance of some REPUGS...a caller from Texas (supposedly the head of some Republican precinct) kept talking about how he has love for Guiliana...perhaps that's how they pronounce the weasel-toothed no-neck's name down there...YEGODS...

Posted by: Dancer on September 9, 2007 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

Clearly Crocker and Rice wanted to achieve consensus before taking the issue to the President. That's the way things are done at the highest level. The President's time is too valuable to waste on issues that haven't been thoroughly discussed.

Posted by: Al on September 9, 2007 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

"The President's time is too valuable to waste on issues that haven't been thoroughly discussed."

that's true, it would cut into his mountain biking time.

Posted by: supersaurus on September 9, 2007 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

Your right. It's much better to work behind people's backs rather than having the courage to confront people face to face. That is how liberals work, after all.

Posted by: egbert on September 9, 2007 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, Georgie, do go and ride your tricycle, er bike. I must chat with my friend, John Hannah, who is sitting on my knee. He and his buds at AIPAC's DC think tank, are telling me the most imspiring tales of that new pitching phenom, Curveball. That fellow, Chalabi, is a wonderful talent scout to have found him at precisely the right moment.

Next week, I'll have my Air Force One take you to Arizona - Hear they have marvelous biking trails on the South Rim.

Posted by: Dickless Mr C on September 9, 2007 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

We've seen it before, as early as 2001. Note this scenario from Sydney Blumenthal's essay on 'Imperial Vice Presidency:'

"Two months after 9/11, on the day of the fall of Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 13, 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney appeared in the Oval Office with a four-page executive order designating terrorism suspects as enemy combatants to be held indefinitely, with no right to have their detention reviewed by any court except newly created military commissions, where they would not be permitted to learn the accusations or evidence against them, or be represented by counsel, or even know that their case had been heard and decided."

"The secretary of state and the national security advisor were deliberately kept uninformed as the White House staff secretary prepared the order for signature. According to a four-part series published this week in the Washington Post on the extraordinary power of the vice president, "When it [the order] returned to the Oval Office, in a blue portfolio embossed with the presidential seal, Bush pulled a felt-tip pen from his pocket and signed without sitting down. Almost no one else had seen the text." Colin Powell was stunned when he learned of the fait accompli. "What the hell just happened?" he asked. Condoleezza Rice was described as "incensed." But neither of them, then or later, effectively challenged Cheney's usurpation of executive authority. And, as can be gathered inferentially, Bush never bothered to ask Cheney about their opinions on the executive order or to call them; nor did he seem to care."

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 9, 2007 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

Everone on this blog should be arrested for treason. Any criticism of our Commanders in Chief during wartime is giving aid and comfort to the Enemy. If we don't follow our leaders blindly, Osama will be sitting in the Oval Office with his feet up on the desk while the liberals worship him like a god.

Posted by: Wacko on September 9, 2007 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

It would be wise to call him the Enronian President, for the last six years have all been about cooking books, never mind the victims of the shenanigans.

Posted by: gregor on September 9, 2007 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Doctor Gepetto must be very weary, by now - So much to tweak, so little time. Opec-Apec, Austrian-Australian...............

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 9, 2007 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK


I take it you have something against helping Grecian Formula sales in DC?

Posted by: stupid git on September 9, 2007 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Heh Egbert here's something direct and to your face.GO FUCK YOURSELF!

Posted by: Gandalf on September 9, 2007 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Don't you think the remarks here by Egbert are intended to derail the conversation
and take us away from information sharing--as instead we tell him where he can put it?
I think that's his game, his intention

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 9, 2007 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Wackos comment would sound better in the original German.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 9, 2007 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

The Sovereign reigns, but does not rule. And while the Sovereign may be ill-served by corrupt, venal or incompetent Ministers -- or even be out of his mind from porphyria -- the Sovereign can do no wrong.

Party like it's 1799.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on September 9, 2007 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK


Liberals don't work behind peoples' backs, they stab peoples' backs. It's their sanctimonious right because, after all, they have good intentions.

Gandalf, that is anatomically impossible for most people, but I'm sure your self-administered sexual experiments have found a way.

Posted by: daveinboca on September 9, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Daveinboca and Eggie:
No one is more divisive and back stabbing than your conservative heroes Sean Boy Hannity, Rush, Bill O'Reilly, Chris Wallace and the Beltway Boys...that's your "sanctimonious right" for you--interesting you should say that phrase, Dave.

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 9, 2007 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

In Woodwards book State of Denial there is a great section that helps explain Cheney's extrordinary influence on the president.

A high-level National Security Council officer describes NSC meetings of "the principles" -- Bush, Cheney, Rice, Tenant, Powell, and Rumsfeld. He said that Cheney, Powell and Rumfeld, foreign a
ffairs veterans, would fight it out like bulls, while Bush and Rice would sit there uncomfortable and silent, not asking any penetrating questions or offering their own arguments.

Bush came into office with little foreign affairs experience, and so he has allowed Cheney, an old veteran, to lead him around by the nose.

Posted by: bobo the chimp on September 9, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Al: "The President's time is too valuable to waste on issues that haven't been thoroughly discussed.

You meant: "The President's time is too valuable to waste on issues that HAVE been thoroughly discussed."

You're welcome.

Posted by: Kenji on September 9, 2007 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

eggfart-for-brains, working behind the people's back? National energy subsidy, er, I mean policy? The real reasons for going to war against Iraq? All the little highjinks trying to politicize science, from global warming to birth control to NASA? Using the Attorney General's office to promote a political agenda? All the papers unnecessarily classified as secret and impeding proper auditing of same? The deliberate side-stepping of the law requiring records to be kept concerning the operation of the administration and its decision making?

Or that Cheney has clearly used his position to short-circuit the cabinet many times, depriving the preznit of his best advisors, to promote his own agenda? Not that preznit cares. And that's the problem.

Yeah, the list is endless and overwhelming. Most inept, secretive, corrupting administration ever.

And hypocrisy comes high on the list too, as you demonstrated so well, since "to work behind people's backs" was your inference rather than a portrayal of the process.

Posted by: notthere on September 9, 2007 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Evict Dick!

Posted by: MarkH on September 9, 2007 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Dear Good People: Ignore Egbert. How seriously can anyone take a person who chooses Egbert as his or her user name?

Posted by: Lynn Lightfoot on September 9, 2007 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

You guys talk to the trolls here?

Posted by: misc on September 9, 2007 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

Eggy, good to see you back. I thought we might have heard the last from you after that gay republican murder-suicide last week.

Posted by: steph on September 9, 2007 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

Gandalf, that is anatomically impossible for most people

Not for worms, dave. Not for worms...

Posted by: snicker-snack on September 9, 2007 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if it was Dick Cheney or one of his PNAC pals who realized that Dick Cheney could select himself to be George W. Bush's running mate, after Cheney was chosen to head the Republican vice-presidential selection team?

You see, this was the critical moment in the Republican's "unitary executive" coup d'etat against our freedom-loving democracy.

And combined with Sandra Day O'Connor's decision to violate her constitutional oath and help install George W. Bush in the White House, the neo-con Republican, religious fundamentalist wacko coup d'etat was complete.

Dick Cheney was definitely the "unitary executive" nutjob who "decided" to overrule the pre-war plan to keep as many Sunni Baathists as possible in Iraq's security forces...essentially doing the bidding of the Iranians next door (as well as Iraqi exiles like Ahmed Chalabi) who knew they'd have trouble taking over Iraq and turning it into a Shia state as long as hundreds of thousands of Sunni Baathists still worked in the military and police forces.

This one insane Cheney decision has gotten thousands of our soldiers either killed or maimed for life, and has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi men, women and children.

Bush is dumb and malleable.

Cheney is not only dumb, he's also an evil manipulator.

Cheney should be impeached, tried and convicted...and then hung for his war crimes...especially before he commits any more war crimes like bombing Iran.

Posted by: The Oracle on September 9, 2007 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK



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