I've been reading the Washington Post series on how Dick Cheney operates, and it's a remarkably reported piece of work on remarkable piece of work. One almost hates to admit that there are smart people in Washington, devoted as most of them are to the dark art of wielding political power and inimical as most of their agendas are to the best interests of the American people. But from my experience there -- long ago as it was -- and from talking to people in Washington almost every day, yes, there are plenty of smart people there.
I wouldn't be surprised, however, if Dick Cheney is virtually unsurpassed as a power operative. He obviously knows the byways of Washington better than most, and he has been shrewd, secretive and sometimes ruthless in the way he has pursued the goal of expanding presidential power -- ostensibly to fight the terrorist threat, but there's little doubt that the expansion of presidential power has been a goal of his since Watergate.
Anyway, here's a link to yesterday's piece, which discusses the expansion of presidential power in national security matters, especially retaining or grabbing the -- I can't put it any other way -- bogus authority to torture people.
And to today's piece, which demonstrates that for all the focus on war powers and natinal security, Cheney has remarkable influence on domestic matters as well -- not just energy, which precipitated a confrontation early on, but tax policy, the management of water in the West, and much more.
And here's a link to Post columnist Eugene Robinson's musings on the series thus far and what it says about the desire for power and the lack of accountability with which Cheney has been able to wield it.