Dowd on Cheney and Iran

Ancientcivilizationstheromanempirep "VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: Good morning, Tim.

RUSSERT: How close are we to war with Iran?

CHENEY: Well, I think we are in the final stages of diplomacy, obviously. We have done virtually everything we can with respect to carrots, if you will. It’s time for squash. Not to mention mushrooms, clouds of them.

RUSSERT: But you squashed Iraq and that didn’t work out so well.

CHENEY: Iraq will be fine, Tim. It just needs a firmer hand. We learned that lesson. We’re not going to get hung up on democracy this time. (Expletive) purple thumbs.

RUSSERT: Isn’t Secretary Rice still pushing carrots for Iran?

CHENEY: The more carrots Condi feeds ’em, the better they’ll be able to see the bombs coming."  Maureen Dowd


People keep asking me – what’s wrong with the vice president?  That’s an important question.  Some who have known him a long time still express surprise at the emergence in 2000 of a "new man," a man seemingly indifferent to the opinions of others, a man who did not feel others’ pain well and who sought to "game" all encounters as if they were "zero-sum" routines in a business school rather than as a search for the consensus needed in a democratically ruled state.

Some have told me that he must have had some awful experience with Muslims to make him so hostile and indifferent to their right to lead their own lives unmolested.  9/11?  It is hard for me to believe that a resolution to change others that seems so complete and fell was not in him before this opportunity to express the deed.

His evident contempt for; the two "competing" branches of the federal government, the states and citizen opinion are so clear that any expressions on his part of a desire to compromise with anyone are suspect.  Dowd has captured that well.  "Diplomacy?" Cheney?  It seems to me that he has adopted the traditional view of "diplomacy" as it is understood in the Middle East.  There, diplomacy is, in fact, usually not the Hegelian bargaining that we imagine.  No, it is actually the process of arranging the terms of a surrender.  That is surely the "diplomacy" that we are offering the Iranians.

When Cheney or his spiritual clone talk of diplomacy you can be fairly sure that something other than a compromise solution is envisioned.

What is the VP about?  After long contemplation I have regretfully come to the conclusion that he just does not like our present form of government.  pl

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38 Responses to Dowd on Cheney and Iran

  1. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    In re: the change in Cheney:
    I offer the following quote from Dostoevsky:
    “Tyranny starts as a habit; it has the tendency to, and generally finally does develop into a disease. I believe that habit may coarsen and stultify the very best of men, reducing them to the level of brutes. Blood and power make a man drunk: callous coarseness and depravity develop in him; the most abnormal phenomena become accessible, and in the end pleasurable to the mind and the senses. The human being and the citizen perish forever in the tyrant, and a return to human dignity, to repentance, to regeneration becomes practically impossible for him,” – Fëdor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky, “Memoirs from the House of the Dead”.

  2. Martin K says:

    What I dont understand is his conduit of actual power. Isnt the vice-president supposed to be a lame duck officialy? How can it be that he wields such influence.?
    I dont like this movie. At all.

  3. Walrus says:

    I’ve been reading a new book about the rise and fall of the Prussian State.
    Bush and/or Cheney talk about “appeasement” and wish to cloke themselves in Churchills mantle.
    The mantle that fits them both much better is Kaiser Wilhelm, even down to the stumbling speeches.

  4. rjj says:

    By way of gaming …
    I suspect all those statements like “Dick Cheney is a changed man.” and “I don’t know THIS Dick Cheney” are accurate but untrue. I think they never knew Dick Cheney, who is a poker player and played them with his “Sphinx-like calm” [Greenspan] and that chocolate syrup, serpent-in-the-garden enchanter’s voice.** [look up etymology of enchant]. I think he sat back inaccessible/unavailable and each made up (then became invested in) his own version of Cheney based on their own projections. I wonder how much correspondence there is among the various versions of “the old” Dick Cheney.
    Consider that comb-over** of the seventies and the run for president. The Lord Protector is a vain and ambitious man. Not that there’s anything wrong with THAT, of course.
    Consider his phalanx of aging ephebes. He may not have had the mass media whatever-it-takes to appeal to the polloi, but he IS (I believe) a powerful seducer, and his venue is the conference (or poker) table. That year he spent flunking out at Yale was not wasted. He learned more playing poker than he ever would have in a classroom.
    Only Rumsfeld, his Buckingham [Richard III’s “other self, [his] counsel’s consistory”], knew him true.****

  5. Comment says:

    This ‘new Cheney’ business is overblown – Imo. Look back at Iran Contra and you’ll find Cheney and Addington both saying Congressional laws were irrelevent. When he was at Halliburton, he was a weak CEO – depended on the quasi-socialism of government aid , then he bought a company was legacy asbestos costs – That made him more bitter about the law. 9-11 just was sugar on the fire.

  6. meletius says:

    I think pl is exactly right—Cheney has a very perverted view of the constitution and believes that it somehow created an all powerful, imperial president. This is quite clear from what we know of his days in the Nixon/Ford WH and his absurd views of executive power from his Bush I “service”.
    His pathetic tenure as a back benching conservative extremist in Congress (R-WY) developed his total contempt (if not outright hatred) for that institution, which he probably kept mostly to himself.
    As for his foreign “policy”, the colonel doesn’t like to hear this, but Cheney is the oil boy—that’s why he advocated the invasion, he certainly has no real interest in this neocon “spreadin’ democracy” crap—he hates OUR democracy for goodness sake, and certainly our legislative branch.
    For him, Iraq was about creating a new multi-generational executive military operation (the War on Terra), keeping the gas-guzzling SUVs and monster pick-up trucks of his suburban soccor moms and desolate western wastelands running 85 mph (“the American way of life is not negotiable”), and aiding his friends and financial backers in the oil bidness–and he may even receive financial gain via Haliburton to boot!
    And Iran is just the final insane attempt to get that oil “we” ran under the Shah back in the ol’ corral before Cheney waddles off the stage of world history.

  7. rjj says:

    The people who have empowered and been sandbagged by this rogue need the Cheney as changeling model. It spares the ego and salves the conscience.

  8. Buce says:

    Why is Cheney such a creep? Underbelly offered one possible explanation some months ago. Jim Hoaglund at the WP echoed him.

  9. Tuli says:

    Michael K.: “I dont like this movie. At all.”
    I say: I wish this was a movie!
    Walrus you said:
    “The mantle that fits them both much better is Kaiser Wilhelm, even down to the stumbling speeches.”
    Do you mean I or II. Because “I” and later Bismark brought the German people Healthcare? Personally, I can’t see GW/Dick doing the same for the U.S. So, that makes me think you must mean Wilhelm II.
    You say: “What is the VP about? After long contemplation I have regretfully come to the conclusion that he just does not like our present form of government. pl”
    You say: “The people who have empowered and been sandbagged by this rogue need the Cheney as changeling model. It spares the ego and salves the conscience.”
    To you all I say, “Yes,” and this is why this is my first read of the day.
    Regards and thanks to all,

  10. frank durkee says:

    Perhaps it is as simple as Lord Actons’ dictum:”Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.
    That was his coda to a life time of depth study of aspects of Western history, especially its religious and idealogical history.
    hat was his coda to a life long study of Western history.

  11. Jim says:

    It looks like Rumsfeld had to flee Paris in order to avoid war crime prosecution.
    I wonder if Cheney will likewise have to give up travel to Europe.

  12. Walrus @ 4:21 pm:
    I have long thought that the parallels between GW Bush and Wilhelm II are uncanny. Neither would have acceded to the leadership of his country had it not been for the circumstances of his birth. Each assumed leadership at a time when his country was at the top of its game and its future looked bright, albeit not without clouds on the horizon. Neither was very well educated although each had excellent educational opportunities of which he didn’t take much advantage. Each had a chip on his shoulder that derived from an unsuccessfully suppressed awareness of the happenstance of his position, together with widely expressed misgivings as to whether he was up to the task. In the Kaiser’s case the doubts arose from his penchant for the exaggerated martial posturing with which he tried to compensate for the physical disability that was a result of his difficult birth. Mr. Bush’s were driven by dyslexia in his youth followed by a the glaring lack of accomplishment during the dissipated third and fourth decades of his life.
    Each broke sharply with the foreign relations policies of his immediate predecessors. Soon after ascending the throne following the three-month reign of his dying father, the new Kaiser fired Count Otto von Bismarck, the extraordinarily able statesman who had assembled the modern German state under his grandfather, the first Wilhelm, and pursued a ‘saber-rattling’ policy that over time was a major cause of the destabilization of the system of alliances that had been in place, leading eventually to an hitherto unlikely, hostile alliance among Great Britain, France and Russia.
    As is not uncommon on the American scene, the George W. Bush team that replaced an outgoing administration of the other party assumed that its immediate predecessor, the Clinton Administration, had done nothing right in the international arena. Beyond that, however, the new Bush team also turned its backs on the center-right foreign policy stance of the previous Republican administration headed by the new president’s father, George H. W. Bush. Wilhelm II destroyed his country’s then-existing form of government, the Prussian monarchy. Bush is well on his way to destroying the American democracy and all it stands for at home, and much of its former influence abroad.
    I don’t however, see much of a parallel between Cheney and the Kaiser.

  13. peggy says:

    there was a good story on PBS last week on Dick and what he learned in the Nixon years and how to get around the laws this time — if you haven’t seen it, i recommend watching it now available online
    “Cheney’s Law” on Frontline

  14. CSTAR says:

    After long contemplation I have regretfully come to the conclusion that he just does not like our present form of government. pl
    I arrived at (what is perhaps) the same conclusion quite a while back. The political construct of the “war on terror” resonates too much with similar formulations proposed by the “second wave” of latin american dictatorships in the 1970s. The existence of these regimes, starting in Uruguay in 1973, followed a few months later by Chile in september 1973 and Argentina in 1976 supposedly was a response to imminent threats from “terrorist” groups.
    That was the era of the Cold war, but the only threat that could be invoked with any seriousness was that from “barbudos” or “cuban infiltrators”. Given the precarious state of the Cuban economy since the ’59 revolution and the state interests of the Soviet Union which did not need successful revolutions in South America that required extensive economic support, that stated threat made about as much sense as the threat from the current band of barbudos in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
    Cheney who was in or around the DoD at that time must have learned from that playbook.
    Should we worry about the possibility of a radio broadcast in the next 18 months from “Interim President Cheney” .
    What, me worry?

  15. Different Clue says:

    If a feeling or a hunch has no specific evidence to back it up, is it still a reasonable or at least plausible feeling/hunch? I am impressed with a feeling I have seen other commenters
    express on other blogs. It goes like this…
    When Nixon announced his bombing-of-Cambodia campaign, campuses erupted in angry protest. Four students got killed at Kent State. It didn’t save Nixon’s presidency from the Watergate which came later. What if Cheney thought to himself: “if we had killed thousands of students, we would have kept a lid on things”? What if Cheney hopes that bombing Iran will be his “bombs over Cambodia” moment, his big opportunity to spark the domestic protests he needs to kill thousands of Americans and put a permanent lid on things? Whatever the neocons and the
    petrocons might want, what if Cheney himself wants to bomb Iran for the same reasons which led the Argentine Generals to invade
    the Falkland Islands?

  16. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    What change in Cheney? Comment is correct above that Cheney and Addington revealed their political ideology at the Iran-Contra time.
    The ideology is supported by the theory of the “Unitary Executive” and was included in Cheney’s remarks in the Iran-Contra Hearings record.
    The ideology stems from several sources but primarily from Carl Schmitt, the German Nazi legal theoretician whom I have mentioned before in several threads. This is Nietzschean. And a form of Caesarism.
    As for the Kaiser thing, well just recall that the Kaiser went into exile and a republic was established. Therefore, a new concept of leadership was developed by certain circles. This was the “Fuhrer Prizep” of Haushofer and Schmitt and their ilk. Dictatorship within a republic. The republican Fuhrer replaces the monarch and becomes the dictator owing to “emergency” circumstances.
    The Unitary Executive theory is a restatement and adaptation of this Fuhrer Prizep for an American audience and setting.
    Sinclair Lewis, studying Europe at the time and particularly Mussolini’s Italy, wrote the novel “It Can’t Happen Here” (1935) to illustrate the potential situation for the US.'t_Happen_Here
    Rumsfeld and Cheney were profoundly influenced by Leo Straussian thinking back in the 1970s during the Ford era. So what does one expect?
    Changed Cheney? Sorry, I don’t buy that not so clever disinformation line. Cheney, as a Straussian, would mask his innermost thoughts and put on a deceptive public facade…this is the esoteric method Strauss taught.
    And Cheney is not the fundamental problem we confront. IMO he serves as an instrument of a broader political faction in which George Shultz and his circle play an important role. We saw this in the past during the 1930s with the bi-partisan “American Liberty League” crowd.

  17. Cold War Zoomie says:

    I’m no historian but I think we’ve survived people like this before. Wasn’t Hamilton a believer in a strong central government, especially a strong Executive?
    Federalist Party
    Supposedly, John Jay said “The people who own the country ought to govern it.”

  18. lina says:

    Cheney in 1994:
    “Because if we’d gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn’t have been anybody else with us. There would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq.
    Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein’s government, then what are you going to put in its place? That’s a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you could very easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off: part of it, the Syrians would like to have to the west, part of it — eastern Iraq — the Iranians would like to claim, they fought over it for eight years. In the north you’ve got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey.
    It’s a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq.”
    Where was Cheney in between then and now? He was in Texas working in the oil industry. This would logically lend itself to the “it’s all about the oil” theory.
    I suspect Dick Cheney is as mad at a hatter. His arteriosclerosis (or any one of his vascular maladies) finally damaged his cognitive functioning. Trying to find other reasons for his aberrant behavior is probably pointless.

  19. Michael Torpey says:

    Cheney is a chowder head with power. His power is derived from Bush, the VP has NO power but what he’s given. The republic will be well rid of these two jackasses.

  20. Brian Hart says:

    If one compares George Washington with Bush-Cheney we see one that served the public with personal sacrifice, the other sees the public as subjects to be led and exploited.
    In a word, the word is ‘contempt’ for others with Cheney. He serves no one but himself.
    Worse than contempt for Congress is contempt for the constitution and the public they are sworn to protect.

  21. jonst says:

    Given your view of Arab (or is it Mideast? or Muslim?, or all three?)traditions when it comes to “diplomacy” I was curious who you thought, or who is perceived, in the region, to have surrendered at the Camp David Accords? And if your answer is “neither”…why was this negotiation the exception to the rule?

  22. Teaeopy says:

    I could guess at which personality traits and life experiences have mainly shaped the behavior of Richard B. Cheney, and how much, but I could come up with nothing that would make my questions go away.
    How can a man whose staying alive depends on a pacemaker not have a different perspective on what has lasting importance? How can he not have some intellectual humility and a sense of his personal fallibility? How can he not think more of the sufferings and deaths of others?
    How can Cheney not observe that the elimination of Fourth Amendment protections can affect persons of all socioeconomic classes, all political parties, and all social, corporate, and political stations?
    Why does Cheney wish to concentrate power in the executive branch to the detriment of the legislative and judicial branches when such a change only makes sense (albeit wicked sense) in a one-party government experiencing a power grab by one or a few leaders? How can he believe that his party will not, when another party wins the presidency, find expanded functional powers of the President insufferable? Is he ultimately in favor of one-party government?

  23. John Moore says:

    PBS’s Frontline ran a program about Cheney and his views that answers the questions people have about why Cheney is Cheney: The URL will take you to their page and you can watch the program online and read the interviews. David Gergen’s interview is perceptive.

  24. rjj says:

    Why speculate. Character is fractal.
    What’s he about?
    Consider his huntsmanship.

  25. michael savoca says:

    Reballancing the constitutional authority to declare war only to congress as envisioned by the framers, and limiting the emergency war powers of the president.. is not a complete fix for the terrifying mess our country is in but it’s a beginning…
    This bold congressman as noted below, with others, is stepping forward.
    October 25, 2007 – 7:10PM
    “WASHINGTON — Rep. Walter B. Jones of North Carolina has introduced a bill to prevent the use of U.S. military force in war without the consent of Congress.
    The bipartisan legislation would amend the United States War Powers Resolution of 1973, which was passed in response to the extended Vietnam War.
    Jones submitted the bill Sept. 25 and announced it Thursday at a press conference with three of five co-sponsors. One of them, Rep. Bill Delahunt of Massachusetts, a Democrat, is a member of the House subcommittee on foreign affairs which will first hear the bill. Also present were Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and Rep. Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland, both Republicans. The other co-sponsors are Rep. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii and and Rep. Robert Brady of Pennsylvania, both Democrats.”
    If you agree please join me in calling and emailing our elected representatives to support this proposed legislation…and pray.

  26. Leila says:

    If Cheney does not like our present form of government, doesn’t this make him a traitor and an enemy of the state equivalent to a radical communist? Should he not then be on some sort of watch list?
    I had to swear to defend, uphold and protect the US Constitution in order to get a job teaching Freshman English at our local community college. Didn’t CHeney take a similar oath sometime, somewhere? Don’t we have evidence that he has broken that oath?
    I mean, if a Communist or anarchist or jihadi Muslim bent on destroying America should get in trouble with our authorities, why shouldn’t Dick Cheney?
    Sorry for the high-school quality thinking, but that’s the gut-level question that comes to me on reading all this.
    Next year in the Hague!

  27. JohnS says:

    I think they never knew Dick Cheney, who is a poker player and played them with his “Sphinx-like calm” [Greenspan] and that chocolate syrup, serpent-in-the-garden enchanter’s voice.** [look up etymology of enchant]. I think he sat back inaccessible/unavailable and each made up (then became invested in) his own version of Cheney based on their own projections.
    I think that rjj may be on to something here. Dick Cheney as Chance the Gardner…perfect!

  28. pbrownlee says:

    The most dangerous members of our species are wimpering wimps trying to be tough guys.

  29. Martin K says:

    sir, I linked you up with intel dump, hope its ok.

  30. Mo MoDo says:

    John S.,
    Chance the Gardener was a simple fool. Bush may fit that role, but Cheney is the mad Jack D. Ripper from Dr. Strangelove muttering about plots and conspiracies.

  31. Cheney is not yet consigned to the history books. Yet it may be a decade before we learn the logic and rationale he used to dominate the second and third Bush eras. The Republicans, as have the Democrats, resorted to an oral tradition of governing so that their logic and rationale will not be available to the ages or qualified historians. The enforcement of the Presidential Records Act should be a priority in the next 15 months and we probably need a Vice-Presidential Records Act to be enacted. I first knew of Cheney when he was Executive Director of the Cost-of-Living Council during the Nixon Wage-Price-Rent freeze and foll-owing phases. Rumsfeld was Chairman of the Council. In meetings, Cheney was both polite and asked excellent questions. But he never disclosed his thoughts. That is the question–to think or not to think! Perhaps we will find out eventually what he was thinking but he is certainly remarkable for leaving few footprints and operating behind the scenes. But he has certainly filled that VP role of distracting the press and public from the President’s own activities. To that extent he has been a brilliant operative and choice for President Bush. No one else could have filled that role better.

  32. Ingolf says:

    Interesting article from a psychotherapist who suggests the framework used to better understand criminal thinking and its consequences can be usefully employed in analysing Amercia’s current dysfunction.
    Two quotes that may tempt you to read further:
    “An overview of our understandings of Criminal Thinking is helpful in drawing important distinctions between healthy, ethically coherent traditions of American patriotism and the antisocial pathologies of our New Nationalism, to which the statements of our senators shamelessly pander. While applying concepts derived from individual psychology to social phenomena is tricky, the contrast between the antisocial nature of much of our current political discourse and the heritage of traditional American patriotism shows that this analytic framework is as predictive of grave consequences to societies as it is for individuals.”
    “Our New Nationalism demands an unstinting endorsement of American omnipotence by public figures. Interestingly, the more evidence we get of the limits of American power, the more stridently our ability to control obscure behaviors by people in remote corners of the world must be proclaimed. This is as good an example as one can find of a maladaptive and pathological belief-system operating in denial of reason and possibility. Its link to bad decisions is obvious.

  33. meletius says:

    William Cumming, what we are slowing learning is that it is Cheney who was behind all the serial lawbreaking of this administration, not Bush. And that Cheney is the one pushing the “militarization” of the “war on terra”.
    Of course Bush must “approve” these decisions, but that appears to be largely a formality. What we did is elect someone as “Vice President” who is essentially carrying out the functions of the executive.
    Cheney’s office has been the one advocating and justifying the renditions, the coercive interrogations, the detainee policies, the warrantless wiretappping, the absurd, imperial “CinC”, all in violation of existing law.
    I would’ve thought that the Records Act covered the Office of the VP—whether it’s being complied with is another matter. Perhaps we’ll find out what happened later, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Historians are going to have to make a lot of educated guesses in interpreting the motives and rationales of Bushco.
    And I agree Cheney’s certainly not consigned to the history books yet—he has an enormous amount of damage yet to wreak, and no one is reining him in, certainly not our Weimar Congress.

  34. rjj says:

    What is the rationale behind cornering the market on some commodity or accumulating obscene amounts of wealth?
    Who needed to explain Bill Clinton’s recreational activities in terms of his philosophy of marriage?
    Is it too reductive [lazy] to assume the Chancellor has a case of political priapism – that he is motivated by an appetite for power? Some people are; we were warned about them by the folks who created our system.
    “This [vice] sticks deeper, grows with more pernicious root than summer-seeming lust.”
    Malcolm and Macduff have a lovely chat about kingly virtues and disordered natures in act IV Scene III of Macbeth.
    I prefer Shakespeare to shrinks on these matters; Shakespeare knew what he was writing about. [The above lines actually only refer to common garden variety avarice which can take many forms.]

  35. yogi-one says:

    “After long contemplation I have regretfully come to the conclusion that he just does not like our present form of government.”
    You know, Pat, the problem I have with so many conservatives who figured it out sometime in 2006 or 7 is this:
    You are all students of history. You are all far more familiar than the majority of people what our system of government is, how it is structured, and why it was set up they way it was. You are familiar with the history of warfare and political power struggles throughout all of Western history, from Greece to the present day.
    You are patriots; you have served your country. The history is thus not an abstraction for you. You have tasted the mud and clay as well as gazed at the stars.
    And yet, so many of you have recently “discovered” after long, hard analysis, the nature of Cheney and the neocons.
    I have to say it: what a crock of bull. Where the hell were you people in the mid nineties and even before when we were trying to tell you this was coming?
    I didn’t need a single master’s degree, let alone a PhD to see this nasty trainwreck plowing down the wrong side of the tracks.
    Maybe I have underestimated the power of the mind to simply not see what it doesn’t want to see.
    Because it was certainly not a case of not being informed.

  36. PeterE says:

    A couple of weeks ago I visited an exhibition in Berlin, “The topography of terror”. The exhibition included a detailed chronology of the Nazi program to intimidate the German opposition in 19032-35, mainly through intimidation, disinformation, arrests without judicial review, and dark mutterings about “enemies of the state.” Cheney and his cohorts seem to have adopted, in effect (not intention), a very watered down version of that program. Unfortunately, the opposition and the press seem to be more timorous than the German opposition in the 30s.

  37. PeterE says:

    A couple of weeks ago I visited an exhibition in Berlin, “The topography of terror”. The exhibition included a detailed chronology of the Nazi program to intimidate the German opposition in 19032-35, mainly through intimidation, disinformation, arrests without judicial review, and dark mutterings about “enemies of the state.” Cheney and his cohorts seem to have adopted, in effect (not intention), a very watered down version of that program. Unfortunately, the opposition and the press seem to be more timorous than the German opposition in the 30s.

  38. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Aside from Cheney and the Decider, it looks as though the Brit Prime Minister is also taking his Neocon lessons, according to the London Times today. The “poodle” got pretty good at it so why not Brown, too. One wonders whether the average Brit finds this rather curious.
    “From The Sunday TimesNovember 4, 2007
    The Victorian values heroine getting Gordon swooning
    PROFILE: Gertrude Himmelfarb
    Deep in the hinterland of Gordon Brown’s intellect is a protected zone dedicated to a woman who has been dubbed the queen bee of American neoconservatives. It is Gertrude Himmelfarb’s books that he packs for his holiday reading, her quotations that embellish his speeches. The prime minister has now taken the final step of recording his adoration in print.
    Himmelfarb is an 85-year-old historian and former Trotskyite who acts as the mother superior of America’s moral majority. Her advocacy of Victorian values to remedy the western world’s “grievous moral disorder” has struck a chord on both sides of the Atlantic ever since the era of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.
    These days, George W Bush pays court to Himmelfarb with invitations to impart the lessons of history at White House soirées, while Brown has agreed to pen the introduction to her next book…”

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