Cheney's Book Will Be Great...So Will Rummy's

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Agree with my colleague, James Fallows, that Dick Cheney's post-vice-presidential outbursts bear no relation to the gracious Dick Cheney of 1976-77. The evolution of Cheney from widely liked to hyperpartisan has never been fully explained by gifted chroniclers like Todd Purdum and Bart Gellman. I suspect Cheney's book will offer some insights, and, along with Rumsfeld's, it's one of the political memoirs I'm anticipating. Both have had long, long careers that have, of course, intersected in the Ford and second Bush administrations. Both launched us "blind into Baghdad," as Fallows has written so well. But both will write, I suspect, scorched earth memoirs. Rummy on everyone from Everett Dirksen to his friend (!) Al Lowenstein to Nixon to Ford. Cheney will, I bet, lash out at Colin Powell as much as he will Democrats, and his account of the Nixon pardon might be worth the price of the book alone. Curmudgeonly, cranky characters write colorful books. I'm not saying either memoir will exactly be self aware, and one won't lose disdain for the ineptitude on their watch. Will Cheney lament that he was the administration pointman on terrorism leading up to 9/11? Doubt it. Don't think Rumsfeld will apologize for anything from "old Europe" to the lack of sufficient armor for our troops. But both of these volumes promise to be entertaining if not illuminating.

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Matthew Cooper is a managing editor (White House) for National Journal.

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