There is one most delicious story in the Sunday newspaper that demands to be read. In the book section Days Of Fire by Peter Baker is reviewed, and it is one amazing critique.
White House management in the first term could be summed up by the formula Dick Cheney > Karl Rove > Andy Card, with Bush a sometimes amused, sometimes frustrated observer of his administration’s internal power struggles. In the second administration, Bush replaced Card as chief of staff with a steely enforcer of presidential supremacy, the quiet policy wonk Josh Bolten.
A story from 2007 shows the Bolten method in operation. The Supreme Court had decided to hear an important case on gun rights. Cheney discovered that Solicitor General Paul Clement planned to file a brief that fell short of Cheney’s own views. In protest, he signed his name to a much stronger brief filed by 55 pro-gun senators and 250 members of the House of Representatives.
Bolten was appalled. He warned Cheney there could be only one administration position. “I did it in my capacity as president of the Senate,” Cheney answered. (Cheney made ingenious use of the constitutional quirk that makes the vice president both an executive and a legislative officer.) Cheney’s top aide, David Addington, reminded Bolten that he, Addington, was paid by the Senate, not the White House.
“ ‘Understood,’ Bolten replied, ‘but if we have another episode like this, I will make sure that all of your belongings and your mail are forwarded to your tiny office in the Senate and you won’t be welcome back inside the gates of the White House.’ ”