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Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency Hardcover – October 17, 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Dubose and Bernstein show in this thorough, rollicking career biography that it's Cheney-not the more publicly criticized Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, Condoleeza Rice or President Bush-who is chiefly responsible for the most unpopular aspects of the Bush regime: an imperial executive office and foreign policy; abandonment of democratic ideals (respect for government checks and balances, the Geneva Convention, the Bill of Rights and the Freedom of Information Act); and questionable corporate-government colusion (the secret energy task force, Halliburton's government contracts in Iraq). Tracing Cheney through three White House adminsitrations, six terms in the House of Representatives, and a tour as Halliburton CEO, the portrait that emerges from these pages is both alarming and compelling; like a J.R. Ewing, Cheney proves to be the kind of fascinating figure you love to hate. As obstacles to Cheney's will-Congress, the Constitution, foreign countries, the press, or other politicians-are sidestepped, ignored, or trammeled, Cheney emerges as a classic Machiavellian; in Cheney's case, it appears that the end which justifies the means is power, pure and simple. Against Cheney, idealistic liberals who believe that an appeal to democratic ideals, the Constitution, or basic decency will work with this administration emerge here as painfully naïve; unfortunately, this realization has only settled in after the damage was already done. Dubose and Bernstein present a sobering and darkly flattering expose of the reclusive power behind the throne, and a grim vision of what his legacy may be.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Dubose and Bernstein, journalists who have covered Texas politics with a particular eye on the career of President George W. Bush, examine the power and personality of the vice president. With a penchant for secrecy and disdain for Congress and the press, Cheney has managed to skirt all the rules that were meant to balance powers in the U.S. government, forever changing the power vested in the office of the vice president. Dubose and Bernstein detail Cheney's close ties to energy interests and how those ties influenced policy and led to efforts to circumvent congressional oversight. In what Dubose and Bernstein call a secrecy "befitting the Kremlin," Cheney maneuvered around sunshine laws and defied the media, Congress, and lawsuits to assert the administration's rights to secrecy in developing national policy on everything from energy to the war in Iraq. Dubose and Bernstein also ponder the implications of Cheney's actions for the future of the U.S. government. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; First Edition edition (October 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400065763
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400065769
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #996,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark Sell on January 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Whether you believe Dick Cheney is trying to protect our country by "fighting terrorism" or is simply unhinged by hubris (and perhaps ill health), you need to read this book. Don't be swayed by terms like "Torture Presidency" or "Lady MacCheney". Yes, the book has bias, but its reporting is too thorough for dismissal as a partisan hack job.

Anecdotal evidence suggests his influence is banking. Yet he bestrides this administration like a Claude Raines villain in an old Warners adventure movie, a guardian-chamberlain dominating Dubya, the cocksure, brittle dauphin on the throne. Fellow reviewer Robert D. Steele says Cheney should be placed in irons, and presents persuasive evidence crystallizing the themes of the book.

Vice documents how Dick Cheney and his long-time counsel David Addington have put into action an authoritarian "unitary executive" theory to give the president unwarranted powers, and have arrogated these powers to the vice president's office, accountable to no one.

It's all here: torture, signing statements, shadow governance in "the dark side, if you will," as Cheney puts it, eavesdropping on the White House staff, the lies leading to the Iraq War, the wiretapping, the secret energy task force, sweetheart Halliburton contracts, the failure - almost surely deliberate - to reconstitute Congress in prospective post-attack plans. The 25 questions for Dick Cheney at the end (page 225 or thereabouts) should be at the top of Congress's list if and when Cheney and Addington get their subpoenas.
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Format: Hardcover
EDITED 5 September 2007 to add ten links to other related books.

This book is vastly more detailed, and covers more high crimes and misdemeanors, than either State of Denial, which misunderstands Bush as being in charge, or Crossing the Rubicon, which focuses primarily on Cheney's role in first permitting 9-11, and then working assiduously to cover up his malicious malfeasance. See also Ron Susskind's book, "One Percent Doctrine," which crucifies Cheney, Rumseld, and Rice.

I take this book so seriously that I urge everyone to get the "Do It Yourself Impeachment" kit. He should be required to immediately resign or be impeached. He should not be allowed to serve another month in office.

For the sake of brevity, here is a list of impeachable offenses documented by this book:

1) Secret meetings in violation of the law to include exclusion of government experts
2) Refusal to honor demand from Congress for a list of participants
3) Lies to the public about Iraq, while holding maps of oil fields and already having in mind a US-only domination of those oilfields (he first focused on Iraqi oil while serving Secretary of Defense Brown)
4) Over-ruling of the Environmental Protection Agency on very important matters including its concern over Halliburton's reliance on hydraulic fracturing that uses chemicals that contaminate aquifers--Cheney personally ensured that the EPA's wording was replaced with Halliburton's wording.
5) Consistent and pervasive usurpation of Congressional authorities and consistent and maliciously deliberate avoidance of appropriate disclosure.
6) Fostered attacks on Sy Hersh, and considered authorizing a break-in on his home.
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Format: Hardcover
There is more to Cheney than meets the eye. The first part of the book gives an overview of his political life before becoming Vice President, which is necessary for the reader to understand how he operates. Cheney is very ambitious, secretive, and ruthless. He will do whatever it takes to gain power, despite his unpopularity. He has contempt for our democratic way of life, and regularly circumvents the US Constitution, whenever it gets in his way. After reading this book you will more fully understand how we got into the Iraqi mess, and wonder how much freedom Americans will have after Bush and Cheney are out of office. I was convinced Bush and Cheney should be impeached before I read this book, and this book reinforces my opinion.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a must-read for anyone that has even once wondered why Congress refuses to question an executive branch that is the most secretive and power-hungry in American history. I used to have unadulterated hatred and zero respect for George W. Bush, and while the latter remains true, this book made me realize that he is little more than a figurehead behind Cheney's imperialistic and hegemonic foriegn policy. Cheney has thirsted for presidential power since he was Secretary of Defense in the Ford administration and now he finally has it. Every intelligent and informed citizen should read this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Dubose provides a great summary of Cheney's influence and how it's accomplished. A lapdog Congress helps - during the 8 years Clinton was in office, the lead oversight committee in the House issued 1,052 subpoenas, but only 5 thru the first 6 years of Bush-Cheney. Another means was withholding information - eg. members and minutes of Cheney's energy task force, though eventually it was at least learned that materials included maps of Iraqi oilfields, with a list of corporate "suitors" for each, long before any pretext to invade and while still embargoed. (Previously, a group of "Vulcans," including Cheney, proposed in '98 taking military action on Iraq to turn it into a model democracy to transform the Middle East.)

Early Cheney: Cheney learned from Rumsfeld during the Ford administration to never write down any opinion given to the President - instead, give it orally, thus leaving no fingerprints. While a Wyoming Representative, Cheney went to Russia and opposed a lead Russian general's proposal to negotiate arms reductions - Cheney wanted to dictate terms instead. He was also the leader in tamping down negative reaction to Iran-Contra - Dubose also points out that not only were illegal U.S. funds utilized, but also illegal monies from Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Halliburton Years: In the five years prior to Cheney, Halliburton received $100 million in government-backed loans; during Cheney's 5 years it received $1.5 billion. Cheney also purchased Dresser Industries (at the top of the oil market, for a 16% market premium), along with an unrecognized $4 billion in asbestos liability that should have been detected by Halliburton. Halliburton went on to declare bankruptcy, yet, paid Cheney $1.5 million for the "successful merger.
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