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Dick: The Man Who Is President Hardcover – September 22, 2004

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Editorial Reviews Review

A Vice President, by definition, will always receive less scrutiny than the fellow at the top of the ticket. Fortunately for Dick Cheney, that lower profile works out quite nicely since, according to author John Nichols, it affords him greater ease in secretly running the government. Nichols chronicles Cheney's many different incarnations: unsuccessful student flunking out of Yale twice, young political operative, Ford administration chief of staff, Wyoming congressman, Secretary of Defense, Halliburton CEO, and finally Vice President. What all these steps have in common, argues Nichols, is a nearly insatiable hunger for power satisfied by Cheney's knack for insinuating himself, Zelig-like, into important places in order to advance. The most compelling sections of Dick: The Man Who Is President deal with Cheney's heading of George W. Bush's vice-presidential search committee and declaring himself the best man for the job, a process Nichols claims was a complete sham from the start. Once in office, Cheney gained historically unprecedented access and power, Nichols claims, simply because no one could stop him. Though Cheney has a deeply conservative voting record and is credited with leading the "neoconservative" school of thought that guided the foreign policy of Bush's administration, Nichols points out that Cheney was known as a moderate in his time with Ford but with Ford's defeat and the rise of Ronald Reagan, shifting hard to the right was simply a more expedient path to power. Dick is more an examination of motives and methods than a strict biography. As such it doesn't move linearly through time, instead jumping around to demonstrate how past events inform current situations. And though Dick Cheney probably wouldn't appreciate Nichols' relentlessly critical approach, it's interesting to see a bright light shone on a man who does so much work in secret undisclosed locations. --John Moe

From Publishers Weekly

That George W. Bush is a bumbling "president in name only" and that Dick Cheney holds the real power in the administration is a familiar position, and Nichols, Washington correspondent for the Nation, takes it with an unsubtle, repetitive hammering of its main features. Righteousness colors otherwise compelling, in-depth considerations of matters such as Cheney's evasion of military service during the Vietnam War and his archconservative voting record as a congressman. Nichols has a lot of cogent and well-collated material about his subject's "hustling for power," both in Washington and as the CEO of Halliburton, but he occasionally overreaches, as when he suggests that then-secretary of defense Cheney's pressure to maintain military spending levels after the end of the Cold War shaped the rise in terrorist activities leading up to 9/11. In addition, overlong sidebars derail the main argument, at times adding little more to the debate than petty sniggering over the future vice-president's poor college record and his wife's lesbian romance novel. But at his best, Nichols asks tough questions that went largely unanswered during the last presidential election.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: The New Press (September 22, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565848403
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565848405
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,683,035 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Elrod Enchilada on September 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I received my copy of Dick on Sept 7 and read it in two hours. I could not put it down. It is a terrific read, and is filled with eye-opening, even eye-popping, material about Vice-President Dick Cheney. Nichols's case that Cheney runs the government and that he is not to be trusted is convincing. He provides evidence to convict. There are scores of books out to fill the appetite of people alarmed by the Bush-Cheney administration, and many of them are quite good. But I have seen nothing as original and as important at Dick. It is an astonishing indictment of our news media that so much elementary information about the VP has been unknown prior to the publication of this book. No matter what one's politics may be, no one who reads Dick will ever view this administration the same again.

John Nichols is one of the finest journalists of our times, and this book will only cement his reputation.
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By avid reader on September 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
After I read this well-researched and annotated book, all the facts about the current administration fell into place.

Paul O'Neill (ex-treasury sec'y) in his great book "Price of Loyalty" wrote that Bush exercises 3 times a day, and has no more than 3 policy meetings a week, while Clinton had 3 a *day*.


Answer: Cheney.


Answer: Cheney

In the current whitehouse, (unprecedented) Cheney is the "CEO" and everyone reports to HIM, not Bush!

It kinda explains why the US attacked Iraq. Cheney and pals thought this war up 12 years ago and finally got to do it. Bush is self-admittedly "not a reader" and Cheney supervises the 1-page briefs he gets.

This book not only convinced me to vote for Kerry, It made me want to run out and do everything I can to get him elected!!!

The scariest thing to me about Cheney is his secrecy. He started with Rumsfeld under Nixon... say no more. only he is doing a better job of the secrecy/enemies list thing.

Read up on Cheneys votes when he was in congress.

Against: Freeing Nelson Mandela

For: Cop-killer Bullets
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By M. Fox on October 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It is amazing to realize that so many Americans, in voting for George W. Bush, gave Dick Cheney the power and influence he has craved for so many years. This book, which to me was mostly very well researched and backed up by easily verified data, clearly illustrates what happens when a disengaged, unqualified president is "supported" by a stubborn, power-hungry ideologue. The danger that this pairing has put us all in, and the complete lack of accountability for the US's foreign relations status, economy, education and health-care systems, is described well by the author.

The web of intrigue, the devious machinations of a man who has power that he is not qualified for, and the repercussions of his actions (and the inactions of Bush), reads like a spy novel. It is very worrying to see how one man and his cronies can drive a country in to the ground in just 4 years...

Recommended reading - Democrats should be quoting from this book!
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53 of 63 people found the following review helpful By William Hare on October 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Two of the most important books to read concerning the 2004 presidential election are Seymour Hersh's revealing "Chain of Command" and "Dick: The Man Who Is President" by Madison (Wisconsin) Capital Times and Nation reporter John Nichols. It was Nichols who penned one of the most informative works on the 2000 post-presidential election pyrotechnics with "Jews For Buchanan."

When George Bush the Elder was concerned about his son the Texas governor not possessing the knowledge and experience to tackle the presidency, while remaining bullish at the prospect of having him in the White House, his thoughts turned toward the veteran Dick Cheney, who had served the older Bush as his secretary of defense during the 1991 Gulf War. Cheney had a long resume, which included becoming the youngest White House chief of staff in history at 34 under President Gerald Ford. He had also served in the House of Representatives from Wyoming, where he achieved leadership in the conservative ranks and compiled an inflexibly right wing voting record.

Cheney was devoid of charisma and his one effort to attract attention in a trial run for the presidency ended with a flat tire before the first primary of 1996. Shortly afterwards, while fly-fishing off the coast of New Brunswick in Nova Scotia, Cheney met executives from the multi national Texas-based oil services provider, Halliburton Corporation. They liked Cheney's government accessibility as a former secretary of defense and congressional leader and were then looking for a new chief executive officer. Cheney and the executives agreed they could help each other and the political veteran signed on.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Shaun Oconnor on October 2, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book was horrifying, fascinating and impossible to put down. After reading just about every book out there on Bush, I realized that this is the only book you need to read.

John Nichols does a very detailed and well-researched job of showing who the man is behind the curtain of the boy-king. With exactly one month to go, if you are undecided on who to vote for, you owe it to yourself to learn a little bit about the man who took us to war.
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