Thursday, January 17, 2008

Gotta Love the Veep

These days, sans academic endeavors, I have a little more time to read for pleasure. Via a Barnes and Noble gift card I received for Christmas, I picked up Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President by Stephen F. Hayes. Mr. Hayes is an author and senior writer for The Weekly Standard.

Vice President Richard Cheney is a man that interests me. He is/has been a central figure of three executive administrations and shaped U.S. foreign and domestic policy for forty years. Although he is one of the most powerful men in the world, Mr. Cheney (almost Dr. Cheney - he chose to stop his PhD work to fully pursue politics) doesn't have the type A personality of many of the folks in the upper echelons of U.S. government. In fact, he really prefers anonymity. Although I'm only midway through this 524 page biography, I have a keen sense that Mr. Cheney isn't the Darth Vader figure he is portrayed as in the drive-by media, but rather a meat and potatoes, vanilla ice cream, and beer only type dude. Simply put, he's a decisive man that believes what he says he believes.

If you want to understand Mr. Cheney's 40 years of service and influence in U.S. government, you won't be dissapointed by this book. Here are serveral noteworthy excerpts:
  • The Vice President and I share the same philosophy on government. When he became Chief of Staff for President Ford, Mr. Cheney told a reporter, "Basically, I am skeptical about the ability of government to solve problems, and I have a healthy respect for the ability of people to solve problems on their own."
  • One of my favorite quotes so far about the Vice President: "Whenever his private ideology was exposed, he appeared somewhat to the right of [Gerald] Ford, [Don] Rumsfeld or, for that matter, Genghis Khan."
  • And I'll leave you with the advice that Mr. Cheney, who flunked out of Yale, gave his high school alma matter's Class of 2006: "Stay focused on the job you have, not the next job you might want. In your careers, people will give you more responsibility when they see that you take your present job seriously. Do the work in front of you. Try to find ways to make yourself indispensable. And I can almost guarantee that recognition, advancement, and other good things will follow. I think there's also a lot of truth to the old wisdom that you should choose your friends carefully. They have a big influence on the kind of person you become. So when you see good qualities in people - things you admire, habits you'd like to pick up, principles you respect - keep those people close at hand in your life. In many ways, when you choose your friends you choose your future."

1 comment:

Jamie Baker Ford said...

you will have to explain this to me tonight...i fell asleep a couple of times while reading it! LOVE YOU!