"I guess he's so measured with what he does say personally, but boy, I'd think on something of this nature, you'd let your feelings [be] known," Michel said.Doesn't care that he shot a man in the face? No, Michel didn't say that. He said Cheney doesn't care if people criticize him. The suggestion is only that there's a political need to go on TV and emote so that people see you're not a machine. TV demands emotion. Tell us how you feel, reporters demand of people in pain, who often enough snap back "How do you think I feel?" Cheney accidentally shot an old man. How do you think he feels? Why do you need him to go on television and say what you already know? Because it would be so weird and awkward for gruff old Dick to do that?
In general, Michel said, Cheney has "enclosed" his personal feelings so tightly to avoid showing them in public. "I guess that discipline upon himself is probably the thing that holds him back." Cheney, he added, is virtually immune to public criticism and image problems: "I don't think he really cares."
That disregard for public approval, though, can become a problem for the White House, according to veteran presidential aides from both parties. "When the vice president is immune to politics and tone-deaf to politics, as Vice President Cheney has shown himself to be at various stages along the way, then his perspective on this kind of situation isn't as sharp," said Ronald A. Klain, chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore.Well, we're not so immune and tone-deaf that we're going to care what Gore's chief of staff has to say on the subject! How many "veteran presidential aides from both parties" did you talk to anyway?
Despite a string of political embarrassments linked to Cheney, including not finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the indictment of the vice president's chief of staff in the CIA leak case and now the shooting, he remains a powerful force inside the White House.More from Klain! I love the effort to drag Bush into this for not "pressuring" Dick Cheney, to connect this story to the Iraq war, and to make it sound ominous that Cheney is "a powerful force inside the White House."
A testament to his power is the deference Bush showed Cheney in the handling of last weekend's shooting episode. White House aides said Bush has not pressured Cheney to disclose more details about the shooting or to apologize.
One person close to both men said that Bush is the only person in the White House who could persuade Cheney to change strategy and that even high-level White House aides are reluctant to take on the vice president's office. That left White House press secretary Scott McClellan to be battered by reporters on national television.
"This is one of the challenges of having a high-profile, very powerful vice president inside the White House," said Klain, who added: "The disadvantage is when something negative happens involving the vice president, it is much harder for the White House staff to step in and exert control."