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 “the Wizard of Oz letter” because it strips away the myth that Bush is in charge. Until now, it’s been all speculation about Vice President Cheney’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 Bush’s strings.

Aside from being fodder for the late-night comics, the arrangement confirms Bush’s inability to articulate anything without a script–or a tutor by his side. There’s a reason lawyers don’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 Bush’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 can’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.

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Yeah. Like I would tell you....