With the Colleagues You Have


Mark Kleiman notes that one surprising element of the Post's recent long account of Dick Cheney's power is that "is Condoleeza Rice's passivity in the face of this interference in her communication with her own staff" which one would expect pettiness and thirst for power, if not professionalism and good sense, to keep in check.

Jim Henley counters with the observation "that Dick Cheney played a large role in selecting the Bush Administration’s cabinet and senior staff and he knew what he was doing when he gave the nod to Rice and Powell. Surely at the top of his list of criteria for NSA and Secretary of State was 'Who can I roll?'" According to Jim Mann's account in Rise of the Vulcans Cheney very much didn't want Powell as a colleague (they'd worked closely together in the Bush I administration, and Cheney knew he didn't like him), but his appointment was ordained by the political situation. Thus, one of Cheney's key priorities was to arrange the rest of the national security team in which to make ti possible to roll Powell. It wasn't clear that this was going to work, but Bush apparently felt upstaged by Powell at the press conference announcing his appointment and agreed to Cheney's Powell-checking scheme.

For Rice, I would take a look at Joshua Kurlantzick's 2004 examination of her ineffective spell as National Security Advisor.