Why Is This Man Gloomy? A Biographer Gains Rare Access to Vice President Cheney-But Little Insight into His Psyche

By Thomas, Evan | Newsweek, July 30, 2007 | Go to article overview

Why Is This Man Gloomy? A Biographer Gains Rare Access to Vice President Cheney-But Little Insight into His Psyche


Thomas, Evan, Newsweek


Byline: Evan Thomas

Dick Cheney may be a taciturn man, writes author Stephen F. Hayes, but the vice president can become animated discussing doomsday scenarios. In his new biography, "Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President" (578 pages. HarperCollins. $27.95 ), Hayes tells the story of the Cheney family, sitting around their new big-screen TV in Jackson Hole, Wyo., on a recent Fourth of July, watching the 1997 movie "The Peacemaker." Starring George Clooney and Nicole Kidman, the film is about a plot to blow up New York with a nuclear bomb. Partway through the movie, Cheney's wife, Lynne, entered the room and asked what was happening. The question was directed at no one in particular, but the vice president launched into "a 10-minute, scene-by-scene synopsis of the action," according to Lynne's brother Mark Vincent. She interrupted to clarify her question: "What's happening now?"

Cheney, writes Hayes, woke up on the morning of September 12, 2001, asking: when is the next attack? A lot of Americans woke up that day asking the same question, but while many have been lulled back into semicomplacency, Cheney has never stopped worrying and wondering and--it must be said--trying to do something about it. The vice president has become a kind of modern-day prophet of doom. He is seen by many Americans as slightly creepy, if not sinister. Of course, he could be right: Al Qaeda may well be, as recent intelligence reports suggest, gearing up for another and possibly more catastrophic attack. But what makes Cheney so dire, so animated by gloom?

You won't find a psychological explanation in Hayes's new book. A writer for the conservative Weekly Standard, Hayes is largely uncritical and essentially buys into the picture of Cheney-as-Stoic, a throwback to an ancient Greek warrior who can see the Fates gathering but grimly and bravely soldiers on. Hayes recounts a scene told to him by David Bohrer, the vice president's official photographer, about Cheney at a Secret Service test-driving track in Beltsville, Md. The Secret Service was teaching Cheney how to drive to evade terrorists by executing a "J-turn." Cheney, who had not driven a car in about two years, jammed the Chevy Camaro into reverse, hit the accelerator until he was going about 40 miles an hour, then slammed on the brakes in order to spin the car a full 180 degrees. Bohrer had mounted a camera on the windshield to record Cheney's face. The veep was expressionless throughout. "It was as if he was taking a Sunday drive," Bohrer told Hayes.

Intelligence officials often talk about the importance of preparing for "worst-case scenarios." Cheney seems to have always been ready for the worst. Maybe he learned not to count on good fortune after he lost his scholarship to Yale. Kicked out a second time, Cheney drifted back to Wyoming and was twice arrested for drunken driving. Hayes reports that Cheney always felt a sense of loyalty to Donald Rumsfeld because Rumsfeld persuaded President Gerald Ford to overlook Cheney's youthful indiscretions when Cheney was under consideration to succeed Rumsfeld as White House chief of staff. It was during the Ford years that Cheney first began worrying about "continuity of government" questions--what happens if the top of the American government is "decapitated." The nuclear threat of the cold war and two unsuccessful assassination attempts on President Ford explain some of Cheney's early preoccupation, but not all of it. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Why Is This Man Gloomy? A Biographer Gains Rare Access to Vice President Cheney-But Little Insight into His Psyche
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.