Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Another Day at Vice-Precedence

Hey Vice-Precedence Blog Readers.

Well, its a slow day on the news front for former VP Richard "Dick" Cheney-who I follow for the blog. No news about anything going on really with Mr. Cheney-whose operation seemed to go well. I will let you know if anything breaks with it.

For those of you who read my article on Chris Rocks' documentary film about black womens hair-"Good Hair"-that comes out soon- that want to know more, there was an interview with Rock in the new issue of GQ that just came out this week.

In Cheney news, Jonathan Alter at NEWSWEEK wrote a rather incendiary article on the former Vice-President where he states:

"...as much as I'd like to see Cheney frog-marched out of Jackson Hole and sent to prison for violating his oath, it would set a bad precedent."

If you're interested in reading the entire article, copy and paste the address below into your browser, its an interesting article.


As most of you readers know I am following Mr. Cheney's progress on his (still untitled) book, and found an article where renowned historian Joseph J. Ellis gives advice to Mr. Cheney on writing his book. Professor Ellis won the Pulitzer Prize for his excellent work (which I have read and enjoyed) “Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation,”. The chapter in this book on the Burr-Hamilton duel is particularly interesting for me of course-but in my opinion Ellis like many historians, makes the mistake of being a little too impressed with Hamilton, and a little dismissive of Burr. Still, overall its an excellent read, and Professor Ellis is a gifted writer of history. Here is his advice to former VP Cheney as he tackles his own chronicle of his career:

There is some scholarly consensus that the memoir Ulysses S. Grant wrote for money while he was dying is the greatest presidential memoir, though it’s almost entirely about his military career. Believe it or not, Calvin Coolidge’s memoir is great at explaining his Vermont origins and the values he brought to the presidency. Barack Obama’s “Dreams from My Father” is the most candid and compelling self-portrait, perhaps because it was written before he knew he would become president.

John Adams’ autobiography is the best example of how not to do it. Angry, obsessed with settling scores, often incoherent in its rambling asides — and I love the guy.

Avoid coming across as angry, trying to settle scores and writing rambling asides.

The greatest memoir in American history, I think, is “The Education of Henry Adams: An Autobiography.” He not only sustains an ironic perspective on himself but on the entire 19th century. Benjamin Franklin’s “Autobiography” is a close runner-up. Like Henry Adams he had the ability to see himself historically, which is very hard to do.

If Dick Cheney’s memoir is to have any lasting influence, it will need to confront his failures, most especially regarding Iraq and the hyperbolic reaction to 9/11. Based on his most recent public statements, that seems unlikely. He will probably follow the John Adams model, which will yield a self-justifying testament designed to rally the right-wing base of the Republican party. Another blip on the radar screen.

One can only wonder if Mr. Cheney will take this advice, as he's not really known for doing that. As soon as anything breaks on the CIA investigations, Mr. Cheney's book, or anything Vice-Presidential, you can count on us to report it ASAP. Please keep supporting "Vice-Precedence" by reading this blog, posting on our Facebook page, going to YouTube and watching our videos and rating and posting comments on them, and most of all-letting friends and family know about it all. We need to spread the word and get more readers and Fans. Thanks for your support and I will see you here Thursday.

Matt Saxe

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