Dick Cheney: Not a Supervillain

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Matt Latimer, a former speechwriter for Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush, didn't set out to reinforce the status quo in his new profile of former Vice President Dick Cheney. No--Latimer just came to tell the truth, and if that means upending popular beliefs, so be it. Writing at The Daily Beast, Latimer offers a look at Cheney that's notable as much for its contrarian tone as for the inside look it offers at the man who was veep.

Here are a few of the myths Latimer explodes:

  • Cheney Is Lord Voldemort, but More Evil  "Over the past decade, Cheney's public relations have been the political equivalent of the Hindenburg crashing into the Titanic while passengers watched a Detroit Lions game," Latimer writes. "What especially rankles those who have watched the creation of his Dr. Evil caricature is that so little of it is actually true."

  • Cheney Was the Puppetmaster for Bush  Latimer submits that for much of the Bush administration, Cheney was kept "carefully corralled" from expressing his true opinions. "Admittedly the suggestion that Cheney might have felt constrained in any way inside the White House may seem bizarre to that sizable contingent of Americans who have fallen in love with the image of Cheney's arm in Bush's back as he moved the President's lips up and down," Latimer adds. "And undoubtedly the Vice President's influence in the Bush administration was substantial, particularly early on. But the overall claims about his power have always been exaggerated, and are in fact quite illogical."

  • Cheney Loved to Cut In Line, and Would Do So at Every Opportunity  Latimer relates an anecdote: "Cheney once was seen standing in line at the White House mess waiting for a cup of coffee. When staffers ahead of him in the line insisted that he cut in front of them, he expressed reluctance. Then grudgingly he moved ahead, filling out his order on the sheets provided, just like any other employee."

  • Bush and Cheney Were Like This, Man [Holds Up Crossed Fingers]  "By the end, there was much talk around the White House about the respectful, if yawning, gap between Bush and Cheney," writes Latimer. "Some former aides to Cheney still feel an animus toward senior Bush aides, such as communications counselor Dan Bartlett, who they feel at best ignored and at worst encouraged a media narrative that blamed Cheney for a multitude of administration failings."

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