OFF THE GRID

Cheney? George Bush Can’t Be Happy

May 22, 09 | 7:57 AM   byMichael Wolff
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What’s George Bush thinking about Dick Cheney? I’m surely not the only one asking this question. His wife, and family, and Dallas buddies have got to be wondering, too. Cheney’s so clearly disturbing the Bush retirement—like a nasty fly.

Likely, all day yesterday in the Bush house it was, “Say, what about Dick?” And he had to come up with an even-tempered, mature, response. “Well, Dick is Dick.” (Instead of his real view: “Fuck him.”) Or, maybe it’s so obvious how rankled and steamed he is by Cheney’s bid for attention, by his infernal stirring of the pot, that nobody’s saying anything. They’re all just looking at him with sympathy—or is that pity?

For chrissake, that was the whole point about Dick—he wasn’t supposed to have political needs, or ambitions, of his own. He was supposed to be the adviser, tactician, and adult presence. Most of all, he was supposed to keep his mouth shut. The grumpy guy was the inside man; the charming guy the outside man. Simple.

It’s embarrassing—damn, it’s emasculating—when the inside man steps up.


(AP Photo)

For one thing, it exposes the outside man as a fool. What’s more, it makes the outside man irrelevant. That nagging question comes back with ever-more forcefulness: Whose administration was the Bush administration?

Also, Cheney’s messing up the plan. The high concept of the Bush post-presidency has been just to ignore the bastards, to stop the world and get off. Which he’s ideally suited to do. Obliviousness, stubbornness, and what-me-worry nonchalance may be less good for being president, but are character traits perfectly suited to retirement life in Dallas—and to shrugging off not just the cares of the world but of history itself. If you pay no attention everybody goes away. One of the few character traits that most people might find endearing about him is that he’s quite willing to be forgotten. Indeed, just as Dick was going on about whatall, the former POTUS was expounding upon the great joys of suburban life, specifically picking up after his dog.

So why is Dick being so annoying—making so much trouble?

Well, of course it’s that Scooter Libby thing, again. This is exactly the reason he didn’t pardon the dweeb, so as not to fan the flames. So he could leave the White House and put his feet up. Dick was really pissed off about that. Stamping his feet. Red in the face. Quite a cry baby, really.

But, even considering that, this is really too much. It’s something every day, Dick and the terrorists and the torture. People are even saying the Republicans would have done a lot better if it had been Cheney in ’08 instead of McCain.

Jeb is mad about that, Cheney positioning himself as the world’s greatest Republican. Fortunately, Dick’ll probably stroke out before ’12.

The real pain is that with goddamn Cheney out there defining his post-vice presidency, people might think Bush ought to be defining his post-presidency role, like some goddamn Bill Clinton.

Well, forget that. And freshen this up.

More of Newser founder Michael Wolff's articles and commentary can be found at VanityFair.com, where he writes a regular column. He can be emailed at michael@newser.com.
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