At the heart of every administration, there is one relationship above all others that shapes history. Ron and Nancy. Poppy Bush and James Baker. Billary. Cheney & Rummy.Emphasis mine.
W. is the hood ornament, but Cheney & Rummy are the chitty chitty bang bang engine of this administration. Their four-decade friendship stretches from Nixon to Bush II, from Vietnam to Vietnam II.
It’s a beautiful love story, really, even more touching than Ted Haggard, the evangelical preacher and Bush White House adviser, asking a male prostitute for crystal meth, or Borat putting a bag over the head of a squealing Pamela Anderson and carrying her off.
The country, the world, a growing number in their party, and some of the president’s own family may object to the star-crossed match of Cheney & Rummy, but the two men are secure in each other’s embrace. They’ve had tons of fun, from unmanning Colin Powell to unraveling the Geneva Conventions to undoing half a century of American foreign policy to unnerving the small Chesapeake Bay town of St. Michaels, Md., where they have bought weekend estates near each other.
Like some out-of-control manbot, Vice says they will continue “full speed ahead” in Iraq, no matter what voters say. “We’re not running for office,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “We’re doing what we think is right.” Damn the democracy — full speed ahead.
W. ratified the Cheney-Rummy mésalliance this week, saying they were doing “fantastic” jobs and vowing to stick with them. He said “the good thing about Vice President Cheney’s advice is, you don’t read about it in the newspaper after he gives it.” (How would he know?) Being discreet when you give disastrous advice: priceless.
Noting that Rummy had presided over Afghanistan and Iraq while overhauling the military, W. said he was “pleased with the progress we’re making.” (Insert your own punch line here.)
Rummy did have one other defender. The House majority leader, John Boehner, told Wolf Blitzer that it is the generals who should be blamed if the war is going badly. So now Republicans are trashing Democrats for undermining the troops even as they’re undermining the troops?
Mr. Bush will go down in history as an isolated, naïve president who was led by Cheney & Rummy, when he could have gotten better advice from his dad and wife.
In his new book, “State of Denial,” Bob Woodward sketches a scene in which an anxious first lady presses Andy Card for information about the war. Mr. Card says he can’t tell her classified information, and she says that W. won’t tell her that stuff, either. She confides her fear that Rummy is hurting her husband and wonders why he puts up with it.