78 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb journalism; mandatory reading
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...
Published on September 7, 2004 by Elrod Enchilada
11 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Quick "Shock and Awe" raid on the VP
While I share many of the same critiques of teh Vice President as the author (although not all) this book really lacks some depth. It makes valid points about the vice president but thet are shallowly presented.
However, with that said, the book does ofer a good look at a very important figure who has managed to escape much scruitiny. Additionally, the book...
Published on March 8, 2005 by George
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78 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb journalism; mandatory reading,
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.
37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cheney - the man behind the Curtain,
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*.
SO WHILE GWB IS OUT RUNNING, WHO IS RUNNING THE COUNTRY?
WHEN 9/11 HAPPENNED WHO WAS IN THE CONTROL CENTER CALLING THE SHOTS?
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
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars and this guy is our VP??? !!,
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!
30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars throw away all your books on Bush and read THIS BOOK,
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.
52 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We Invaded Iraq Due to Cheney With Bush Signing On,
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.
When the older George Bush came calling as the 2000 presidential election beckoned following the conclusion of two terms by Democrat Bill Clinton, it was to tap the Halliburton executive to lead a search committee to find the proper running mate to shore up the young George's deficiencies. Cheney, an intrigue artist with well developed palace guard instincts, he had been second in command to the more flamboyant Donald Rumsfeld in Republican politics for too long. This time he saw a way to vault above Rumsfeld and place himself in the White House catbird position.
One by one candidates were be screened. Cheney remained on the scene always, and was able to supply the final word without a disparaging word from the Republican Party's presidential nominee. Former Missouri Senator John Danforth, who had become a minister after leaving Washington, was thought by many to have the inside track to become vice presidential nominee, but meanwhile Dick Cheney was shrewdly operating behind the scenes.
There had been earlier grumblings, but when Danforth was also found wanting he joined the chorus, having believed that he, like those considered before him, had been manipulated for Cheney's personal gain. With time running out Cheney proposed an idea to George W. Bush, who by then had become reliant on his judgment. "Why not me?" Cheney suggested.
Bush agreed, joking when he announced the selection that, with Cheney compelled to move back to Wyoming to become a voting resident there to avoid disrupting the constitutional restriction of a presidential nominee and his running mate both residents of the same state, "We didn't do it to win the 3 electoral votes of Wyoming."
The Karl Rove directed Bush propaganda machine, temporarily abandoned the "ah shucks, just plain folks" image showcasing Texas "cowboy" George Bush long enough to spin the word that would be bandied about through the rest of the campaign. Cheney was selected because he had "gravitas," a Latin word meaning seriousness or sobriety of thought.
With Bush failing to know the names of important leaders while making numerous grammatical errors and malapropisms, humor had been used to paper over his deficiencies. Republicans sought to convert negatives to positives by revealing the Texas governor as someone like your next door neighbor, imperfect, not knowing all the answers, but the type of person you would like to invite over for a beer.
An older, more experienced political hand was needed to keep a sometimes-rambunctious George W. Bush in tow and Dick Cheney, after running what Nichols and others concluded was a charade to seek a running mate for the Republican nominee, ultimately tapped himself. An important distinction between the two Republican candidates surfaced in the fall debates with their Democratic opponents. While Bush took a more restrained global political position against what he called "nation building," when Cheney had his lone vice presidential debate against Connecticut's Senator Joseph Lieberman an important distinction arose between the two Republicans.
Oddly, Cheney's stated position in his debate with Lieberman found them in more harmony than was the case when contrasting what he said along with the Bush position as expounded in his appearances with Al Gore. Cheney let it be known that he strongly believed in the U.S. assuming a role as warriors abroad rather than as peacekeepers.
He repeated an argument he had made when secretary of defense under the elder Bush that it would be a mistake to cut the defense budget in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union. He opposed the "peace dividend" then and in the way that he perceived that Bill Clinton had used it. To Cheney it was a big mistake to transfer some budget priorities away from the Pentagon to the domestic sector.
When asked by debate moderator Bernard Shaw about where Iraq fit into his equation, Cheney assumed a hawkish position that would be advanced from the time that he took his office in the White House. As Nichols noted, those who watched the 2000 debates with an emphasis on what Bush was saying about restraint on the global scene were clearly paying attention to "the wrong end of the ticket."
As anti-terror intelligence specialist Richard Clarke and Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill both wrote afterwards in insightful memoirs of the period after Bush took office, the focus from the beginning was on Iraq. The emphasis never varied even after the 9-11 attacks, which, despite Cheney's false claims, had nothing to do with Saddam Hussein.
In place of keeping the emphasis on Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda, Cheney sought to bring Iraq under the umbrella of international terrorism to generate a priority. It was a priority that was shared by members of the energy task force that met in Cheney's office under his chairmanship. Even a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch failed to pry information out of tight-lipped Dick and cohorts, but a few maps were located dividing up Iraq among the oil elite.
We would ultimately learn that Cheney's old company Halliburton would receive a no bid contract to supply services in Iraq. Another favorite Republican multi national, Bechtel, corporate stomping grounds for George Schultz and Casper Weinberger, also prospered from Cheney largesse.
It was Cheney and not Bush that orchestrated the rush to war in Iraq. Cheney was the one who generated pressure among CIA analysts with appearances that were unprecedented from a vice president to the Langley headquarters. With Cheney leading the drumbeat Iraq was invaded.
Nichols is a crack researcher. After digging and revealing it becomes clear to any perceptive observer that Dick Cheney is the real power in the Bush White House.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Wonder They Call Him "Dick",
"Dick" Cheney is inarguably the most influential vice president in history. In DICK: THE MAN WHO IS PRESIDENT, John Nichols argues quite persuasively that Cheney's brilliant maneuvering and lust for power has enabled him to gain full control over our government. Cheney is the nation's real president while the stumbling oaf who holds that title is merely a puppet figure. Nichols paints a disturbing and frankly terrifying portrait of the soft spoken, low profile but wickedly calculating and power-crazed individual who truly pulls the strings. This book is an important read for any American concerned about the direction the current administration is taking our country. Highly recommended.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mayberry Machiavelli,
Credit for the quip above goes to former White House official John DiIulio, who used it to describe the Bush-Cheney administration. Thanks to this hard-hitting book by John Nichols, we can now clearly see who is really running America. As you read along you almost feel sorry for George W. Bush as his image is reduced to that of a figurehead, fronting for the real man in power. Dick Cheney has become the most controlling vice president of all time, as he has moved himself into a position of extreme power through classic Machiavellian tactics. Here Nichols provides us with an often sarcastic and vindictive biography of Cheney's never-ending quest for power from behind the scenes, as he has made a long career of latching onto more publicly agreeable politicians, and consolidating his own power by building loyalties, kowtowing to the rich and powerful, and toeing a strict ideological line.
This biography is not fool-proof, especially because its highly partisan nature will prevent it from being taken seriously by anyone who might have real political ability to curb Cheney's low-key but effective megalomania. Nichols is also prone to overanalyzing the long-term historical impacts of Cheney's actions and non-actions. However, partisan writing does not diminish the relevance of the biographical facts herein, and it sure is fun to read regardless. While much of the documentation used by Nichols consists of politically-charged hearsay that should be taken with a grain of salt, we can still see clearly that the well-being of all Americans is under the control of a power-hungry demagogue who has never let the facts or common sense stand in his way. It's time for Dick Cheney to stand plainly before the American people and to be judged for his actions, but we can see in this cringe-inducing book that he has mastered the art of preventing personal disclosure for decades on end. [~doomsdayer520~]
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Sourced and Well Written,
It seems that many people are assuming this is Leftist propaganda, but I am assuming this is the view of many readers simply because it is a biography of a man very much on the Right, written by a man seemingly quite a bit on the Left. But it is a biography, not propaganda. Yes, Nichols inserts commentary and opinion, but that is also what keeps this book from being a boring account of the life of Dick Cheney. Plus, as both a practiced writer and teacher of writing, I will say that speaking with one's sources while writing a research-heavy piece of writing is what makes that work good, makes it that much more compelling. The author's opinions, writing style, tone, personality, and yes, even political bent may come into play since books are not normally written by robotic beings. The process of true writing must take into account the writer's personality and perspective on his/her world and the world in which he/she lives.
Nichols has a strong command of language, his subject, and his sources. Too often nonfiction, especially biographies, can be just so dry because the author is lost in the telling of the subject's life.
Bottom Line: Nichols does an excellent job with this biography. Nichols should be respected, read if desired, and listened and so should his colleagues more to the Right; everyone who has something to impart to a readership should have that right without being badgered over "but he's on this side of the political spectrum ..." I say, so what. Literature of any kind is to be read and the reader is to respond as he/she does, not b/c of some spectrum invented to divide a country. Literature is a catlyst for thought and discussion, not to put over the coals b/c the author is of a different "side" than a reader.
This is a great book about a political figure who will continue to aggravate, entertain, and intrigue us for many years to come. I am hardly a Dick Cheney fan, but I believe it is good to know what people are made of, especially if they are also running our country ... and he definitely is running it.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Puppet President in a Cheney-Link Fence...a Sad Picture,
Having seen the recently produced "Bush's Brain" on DVD and especially after reading this book, I have to admit I am confused as to who is really running the country. Is it Bush, Cheney or Karl Rove? If you are to base your opinion on this well documented, insightful book, one could surmise that Bush is actually the least important of the trio, at least behind the scenes, a virtual front man for the other two. Left-leaning journalist John Nichols presents the sitting Vice President as a man of few words who has spent his career as the ultimate schemer, accumulating power for the sake of power and self-enrichment. Like Rove, Cheney is not a man who enjoys the limelight, though in Cheney's elected capacity, he knows he needs to get some exposure given that he holds down the second most important job in America...at least on the surface. The irony is that the Bush administration has allowed a man lacking the glibness, social ease and looks of many traditional politicians to move quietly and relentlessly, the author says, toward a lifelong goal of ever-increasing power. Nichols has a straightforward thesis here: Cheney has achieved that goal -- and is president in all but title. It is Nichols' unsurprising contention that Cheney is actually the one running the country.
Now while it's hard to dispute that Cheney has amassed power and promoted the Iraq war, it does seem too simplistic to make Bush a zero in the political calculus, especially after 9/11, which other authors say focused Bush and contributed to a sense of personal mission. Still, Nichols sticks vehemently to his position, as he details Cheney's track record as a Washington insider whose Congressional votes, statements and other details have largely been ignored by the press corps. For instance, in the chapter "Apartheid's Congressman," Nichols documents Cheney's record in the House. The author counts 10 votes by Rep. Cheney opposing various measures to pressure South Africa to end its apartheid system, which long subjugated the country's black majority - including a vote against calling for the release of political prisoner Nelson Mandela, who would go on to become president. In fact, Cheney as a congressman was so isolated on his positions that he was a member of the rather infamous "Less Than 10 Club". Nichols says that among 435 representatives, he was one of four to vote against the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988, a plastic gun measure; one of eight who opposed the Older Americans Act in 1987 (a nutrition program); one of eight who voted against reauthorization of the Clean Air Act; one of nine who opposed a plan to grant federal employees time off to care for sick relatives. Obviously this does not reflect a man committed to social , political or environmental reform.
Nichols asserts that we are living through a Dick Cheney war under a Dick Cheney presidency. The Machiavellian tendencies, as documented by Nichols, are frightening and would make even Karl Rove blush. Even though he includes extensive annotations, the book is polemical albeit one with a revelatory stance on whom is really pulling the strings in the Bush administration. More often than not, I tend to believe what Nichols states here. Before the election next month, I suggest you read this book, watch "Bush's Brain" on DVD and then see if Bush is the leader you think he is.
18 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale of a yellow abdomen: Part II,
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That the bumper stickers were configured improperly in election/2004 is the subject of this book. Indeed, "Cheney/Bush 2004", instead of "Bush/Cheney 2004", seems appropriate if one is to believe the words of its author. With many references and very well written, it is nevertheless a very painful book to read, for it is a story of how a "quiet American" manipulated his way to the top of the current administration, and now acts as its leader. It is a story of how a man (if one is to call him that) can avoid the draft and still become head of the most powerful military organization in the history of the world. It is a story of cowardice and betrayal, of immorality and power lust. It is a demonstration that a constitutional title is completely irrelevant in the real management of the American government.
But it could be said that the book is also a story of the millions of people who supported the Cheney/Bush ticket. They have much in common with Cheney, very much indeed. These sycophants for the current administration will absolutely hate this book. It does not reinforce their prejudices and will without doubt cause pronounced cognitive dissonance in their belief structures. By elementary logic, it follows that those who support the administration also support the war. But most of these individuals have never participated in one, and so their support is done from a position of comfort. Their living rooms and sofas are to be contrasted with the horror of conflict, which they have never experienced and will never experience.
The vast majority of those that supported this administration in the recent election are indeed true followers of the Cheney/Bush ticket. It should not be believed that they are hypocrites. They are not deviating from their positions and are holding true to them:
1. Like Bush and his boss Cheney (in the Vietnam debacle), they are refusing to put on a military uniform and participate in the current conflict in Iraq.
2. Like Bush and his boss Cheney, they cheer on the troops, and engage in the same drum beating and jingoism, creating a facade of patriotism, but they have no intention of signing up for duty in Iraq.
3. Like Bush and Cheney, their sons and daughters are not signing up for duty in Iraq, and they will not be feeling the pain of having lost loved ones in the current horror.
Like Cheney, they have "other priorities."
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Dick: The Man Who Is President by John Nichols (Hardcover - September 22, 2004)
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