U.S. News & World Report’s cover story on Vice President Dick Cheney (1/23/06) began by observing that he “likes to stroll with his wife, Lynne, or fly-fish on quiet mornings with the four grandkids near his Wyoming home.” It didn’t get much harder-hitting than that.
Here’s U.S. News on Cheney’s youth:
That he “enjoyed a few beers” is perhaps a euphemistic allusion to Cheney’s two drunk-driving busts in his early 20s.
The article uncritically accepted Cheney’s political philosophy, writing, “Cheney came to believe that the Founders were wise to invest strong powers in the executive, who can more easily lead the nation with a singular voice and act decisively in a crisis than is possible for the legislative branch.” Apparently the Founders didn’t realize how wise they were; they mistakenly thought they were limiting the power of the executive, imposing through the Constitution and the Bill of Rights precisely the kind of “restrictions on what the commander in chief could do” that U.S. News said Cheney despises.
The magazine returned at the end of the article to the image of the Founders, making an improbable comparison:
Is that the same George Washington who warned in his Farewell Address (9/26/1796) that “overgrown military establishments . . . are inauspicious to liberty,” and that the “usurpation” of the powers of one branch of government by another is “the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed”?
The article insisted that “projecting a positive image is the last thing that the rotund, bespectacled, balding VP cares about.” If that’s the case, then U.S. News wasted a great deal of high-quality brownnosing.