Tuesday, July 03, 2007


By the way, regarding the Libby commutation -- well, so much for the diminished influence of Dick Cheney in the Bush administration.

Yet we're still being told Dick's star is on the wane, as in this New York Times article on the possibility that legislation will be drawn up to close the detention facility at Guantanamo:

One person close to the administration who is familiar with the thinking of those opposed to closing Guantanamo said "the people who are standing firm on this issue have either left" -- like former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld -- "or their bureaucratic influence has substantially waned, like Gonzales and Cheney." Those urging the closing of Guantanamo, like Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser, "are ascendant," this person said.

Well, maybe. Maybe Cheney's lost his mojo -- but Libby's a free man and the Gitmo story is on page 10 of the Times, while the front page has yet another story about violence in Iraq being the work of those evil Iranians. I think reporters of Mr. Cheney's political death are a tad premature.

In fact, I were really paranoid, or maybe just Machiavellian, I might think that Cheney actually wanted The Washington Post to publish that series on him, and wanted his allies to cooperate with the Post on it. After all, there's a pattern in this administration: Frequently leaks suggesting a shift to centrism make their way into the papers, then the reported shift to the center fails to materialize. It's as if the leaks anger Bush and inspire him to cleave to the right wing (i.e., the Cheney wing). We saw this recently when word got out that Gitmo was on the verge of being closed and the administration denied the reports and canceled a Gitmo meeting. We see this in stories about troop withdrawals in Iraq (which, of course, never take place). Maybe Cheney wanted the Post to suggest that he needs to go because a media attack would help him win favor with Bush.

Regarding the Libby decision, there's this in the Post:

An unanswered question last night was Vice President Cheney's role in advocating leniency for his former chief of staff and alter ego....

One senior White House official said Bush consulted with counsel Fred F. Fielding, Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten and his outgoing counselor, Dan Bartlett, but did not mention Cheney.

A spokeswoman for the vice president said she did not know what he advised.

So not only did Bush free Cheney's buddy, Cheney got Bush's spokeswoman to stamp the existence of any discussions between Bush and Vice TOP SECRET.

Still think Bush is going to do anything between now and 1/20/09 that Dick doesn't like?

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