I was one of the many who thought that George W. Bush's selection of Dick Cheney to be his running mate in 2000 was a bold, effective move. And by most all accounts, Cheney has been the strongest, most involved VP in history.
But therein lies the problem. He's been too involved, and too often wrong in his policy goals, and in his political prognostications (and this was even before the Iraq war was launched), as Josh Marshall documented almost three years ago.
Meanwhile, the Libby indictments have refocused attention on the Vice, and not in a flattering way.
There was this article in the Boston Globe that highlighted Cheney's proclivity to usurp authority. It also turns out that Cheney opposed detente with the Soviets, the War on Poverty programs (including the ones that worked), thought Gorbachev and his Glassnost/Perestroika a sham, and regretted the end of the Cold War. And naturally welcomed the military rejuvenation that 9-11 created.
Mahablog has a great summary and synthesis of the more recent material on Cheney that has come out in both the old and "new media". Atrios, the Washington Monthly, and Slate, among others have come forward with new interpretations of Cheney's influence and supposed competence. As Atrios wonders, what was it about Cheney that made us think he was bright and in charge?
The truth is it's not entirely clear where Dick Cheney's reputation for competence came from. I expect it came from being white, sounding serious, and talking the right talk.
But now we know.
Go read up on our Veep and all that he has wrought.
P.S. I was just thinking about the fact that at least one of the rumored candidates on Bush's VP list back in 2000 was John Danforth, the former Senator from Missouri, who has since come out a couple of times to warn about the dangers posed by the religious right in his party's and our country's politics. While I wouldn't have welcomed a Bush win under any circumstances, I can't help but think how much better off we would have been if Danforth, rather than Cheney, had had Bush's ear for the last five years.