I’ve been a huge fan of the former VP since I first heard of him during the first Gulf War in the early ’90s.
His steady hand and unwavering professionalism over a tremendous career of public service includes serving in both Richard Nixon’s and Gerald Ford’s White Houses, the House of Representatives, leading the Department of Defense, and of course his excellent service to George W. Bush as Vice President.
Between his duties as SecDef and Vice President, he had an incredible private-sector career serving on the American Enterprise Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations (where he had previously served as director), and of course Chairman and CEO for Halliburton.
Through all of this, the draw to him was twofold: First, he was and has since been a great mind. He is a huge thinker and very methodical in his decisions and advice he’s given as a trusted confidant for three presidents (directly, not to mention his work with Ronald Reagan while Cheney was a congressman). One of the most measured and thoughtful Vice Presidents of our Nation’s history, were it not for the inexplicably unhinged detractors’ fantasies, he’d probably go down in history as the brightest man to ever hold that office. But even Cheney-haters will have to agree that he was by far the most influential and powerful Vice President of the modern era, attributable by his admirers to his wonderful mind, and by his detractors to his devious nature.
Secondly, Cheney also combined two very admirable traits into exactly what you’d want in a confidant. He was equal parts blunt and unassuming. I have no doubt that, when asked, he gave all the great men mentioned above his most honest opinion, and because they came to expect it, they trusted and appreciated it. At the same time, the former Vice-President was never one to pipe-up and just offer his opinion. He was a serene and gentle man, a vast contrast to the caricature his adversaries tried so hard (and, unfortunately on too many occasions, thanks to the media who also had no love for him, were all too able to succeed) to portray of him.
Which is why it is so difficult to see him since he left Washington continue to openly question the current president. (more…)