The panel clapped delightedly as the President spoke while Mr. Cheney drank from a waterglass…
I think Eleanor Clift pretty much nails this one:
A top Republican strategist dubbed the legal document striking the unusual deal â€œthe Wizard of Oz letterâ€ because it strips away the myth that Bush is in charge. Until now, itâ€™s been all speculation about Vice President Cheneyâ€™s influence. With the revelation of the tandem testimony, nobody with a straight face can deny Cheney is a co-president or worse, the puppeteer who pulls Bushâ€™s strings.
Aside from being fodder for the late-night comics, the arrangement confirms Bushâ€™s inability to articulate anything without a script–or a tutor by his side. Thereâ€™s a reason lawyers donâ€™t take testimony in groups. The whole idea is to get individual recollections and then compare stories to uncover contradictions. Try thinking about it this way: can anyone imagine Bushâ€™s father in a similar situation bringing his vice president? (For those who need a refresher course, the elder Bush was a rocket scientist compared to his son, and the vice president was Dan Quayle.)
This is a defining moment in the Bush presidency because it reveals weakness at the top.
What Cheney and the tight circle around Bush are protecting is the myth they have created since 9/11 of a war president astride the world stage. Anybody who punctures that imagery is destroyed. Richard Clarke is only the latest in a series of insiders who have pulled back the curtain. At the center is an incurious president who is so inarticulate that he canâ€™t be left on his own to make a sustained argument on behalf of his policies without falling back on rehearsed talking points and sound bites.