Tuesday, January 13, 2009


You may have seen this, from Andrew Malcolm of the L.A. Times:

... [Dick] Cheney ... just told Sean Hannity today that he's seriously considering writing a book.

"I never have," Cheney said. "and my family has been bugging me about it. I've got 40 years since I came to town to stay 12 months. I've got a lot of stories to tell. And a few scores to settle." ...

Steve Benen says,

...I'm guessing that interest will be lukewarm, and barring any shocking revelations he's willing to publish, Cheney's book is bound to be a dud.

... Cheney may have "a few scores to settle," but it's very unlikely that his book will be a juicy tell-all, with fascinating behind-the-scenes insights. He's too secretive to dish the good stuff....

Yes -- but it may all depend on precisely what scores he wants to settle. We know he'll go after Democrats and liberals. But maybe he'll have one unexpected target: George W. Bush. He might win brownie points on the right if he argued that Bush -- now disdained even by some right-wingers -- wasn't mean or nasty enough.

(If you're one of the people who think that there's no retail market whatsoever for right-wing books, and that all right-wing books are bulk-bought, you may want to stop here. I don't agree with that premise -- let me note that Nielsen BookScan's list of the fifty top-selling books of the year, based on bar-code scans at actual retail outlets [PDF], includes books by Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck. I think some of these books do sell legitimately, if they give the crazies a satisfying sense of group solidarity.)

I don't think Cheney can argue in his book that he had serious disagreements with Bush on domestic policy (many on the right, of course, now think of Bush as a "big government" president, and Cheney never grumbled about any of the Bush programs righties complain about). But he can argue that Bush wasn't sufficiently manly in the war on terror.

We know Cheney is still ticked off about the firing of Donald Rumsfeld -- he said so last month on Fox, repeating what he'd said (also on Fox) a year earlier. We also know that this Sunday's New York Times reported on the apparent rejection of an Israeli air strike on Iran by Bush, in large part because of objections by Rumsfeld's replacement, Robert Gates. We know that Cheney has been itching to take a shot at Iran for a long time.

So maybe, to complement the Bush-was-a-liberal nonsense we're now hearing with regard to domestic policy, maybe we'll get Cheney arguing that Bush was a foreign policy wuss. Just a wild hunch. (If not, I do think he'll take some serious shots at Gates and at Condi Rice.)


By the way, if a former chief advisor of mine, someone who'd called me a "brilliant man," happened to run a publishing imprint for a large multinational corporation and had wangled a million-dollar advance for a book by my daughter that went on to sell about six thousand copies, I think I might consider writing a memoir myself.

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