Writing in Salon, Sidney Blumenthal has a quick, brutal sketch of Richard B. Cheney:
Cheney is a master bureaucrat, proficient in the White House, the agencies and departments, and Congress. The many offices Cheney has held add up to an extraordinary resume. His competence and measured manner are often mistaken for moderation. Among those who have misjudged Cheney are military men -- Colin Powell, Brent Scowcroft and Wilkerson, who lacked a sense of him as a political man in full. As a result, they expressed surprise at their discovery of the ideological hard man. Scowcroft told the New Yorker recently that Cheney was not the Cheney he once knew. But Scowcroft and the other military men rose by working through regular channels; they were trained to respect established authority. They are at a disadvantage in internal political battles with those operating by different rules of warfare. Their realism does not account for radicalism within the U.S. government.I've been reading Richard Clarke's book, and he notes that Cheney "had been one of the five most radical conservatives in Congress. The quiet often hid views that would seem out of place if aired more broadly." Read: Get him talking and Cheney's a fucking nutbag, everyone around him knows it, has known for 30 years, and nobody speaks up about it 'cos they're all terrified of being the blood sacrifice at some Cheney/Novak family picnic.
A grateful nation should kick in and get him a CheneyMaster 3000 Defibrillator and Bacon Frier on his way out the door so he can spend his retirement years fearlessly eating salt-cured fatback and we won't be worried that he'll step back in and nuke Beijing or something just because he's feeling a bit peckish.