The Corner

Cheney’s Discerning Eye

Robert Costa has already mentioned that Politico’s Jonathan Martin summarized some of the juiciest parts of Dick Cheney’s as-yet-unavailable book. One of the most interesting tidbits Martin mentions is Cheney’s clashes in the Ford White House with speechwriter Robert Hartmann.  According to the excerpt, Hartmann was a leaker, who once took “an internal memo whose drift he had not cared for” and “conveyed its contents straight from the president’s desk to the appreciative hands of Washington’s most-read columnists,” Rowland Evans and Robert Novak. Cheney came up with a way to clip Hartmann’s wings by “suggesting to Rumsfeld that Ford take Hartmann’s office space and make it a private space he could use away from the more formal Oval Office.” 

This is unsurprising, as Hartmann was notoriously difficult to deal with, and Cheney has publicly complained about the dysfunctionality of the Hartmann-led Ford speech-writing operation in the past. In a 1986 compilation of a Miller Center conference on the Ford White House, Cheney said that “one of the problems we always had, frankly, was trying to integrate the speech-writing process with the political process.”

A great example of this dysfunctionality comes from Hartmann’s book, Palace Politics. Hartmann records that he asked Dan Boorstin and Irving Kristol to prepare thematic outlines for a bicentennial speech, then prepared one of his own to go alongside them. He then sent Ford these multiple options with the names of the authors replaced with Roman numerals. Unfortunately, Hartmann recorded, “In fooling Ford, I have also fooled myself and history. I have lost my code key and cannot match all the names with the numerals.” This embarrassing tale was in Hartmann’s own memoir. Seems Cheney was right to try to maneuver this guy out of an office next to the president.

Tevi Troy — Tevi Troy is the President of the American Health Policy Institute. He is also the author of the best-selling book, What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years ...

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More