Spencer Ackerman reviews Cheney: The Untold Story of America’s Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President, a very serious argument that’s never been made with such care, by Steve Hayes:
Throughout 524 pages of turgid, soul-killing narrative, Hayes presents meaningless anecdotes about Cheney in robust detail — did you know Cheney has “dozens” of books about fishing in his library? — while skimping on most instances that could be expected to shape the man. A case in point: Cheney was with President Ford, whom he served as deputy chief of staff and then chief of staff, on April 23, 1975, when Ford authorized bringing the final American remnant home from Vietnam. What effect did proximity to the end of the defining foreign-policy debacle of the era have on him? Hayes doesn’t tell us. Despite receiving vastly more access to Cheney than any other reporter, he instead quotes from press secretary Ron Nessen’s memoir that Ford, Cheney, Nessen, and Donald Rumsfeld “stood there silently, staring at the carpet, alone with our thoughts, unable to say anything appropriate.” Hayes opts instead to relate in detail world-historical flashpoints like the time when Liz Cheney was forced to admit that a Georgetown driver had totaled her dad’s Mazda RX-7 while she had borrowed it.