David Frum: Peter Baker’s ‘Days of Fire’:
An Italian historian once wryly observed that Italy is a country of many secrets but no mysteries. That line may now be applied to the Bush administration in reverse…. If Bush relied heavily on Cheney at the outset of his administration, that was a choice too…. 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… with a steely enforcer… Bolten…. Bolten was appalled… warned Cheney there could be only one administration position. “I did it in my capacity as president of the Senate,” Cheney answered…. “‘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.’”…
It’s within his own party that the Bush record is repudiated and rejected, in favor of a more radical brand of conservatism that cannot win national elections and could not govern if it did. Someday, and maybe someday soon, Bush’s party will have to do what Peter Baker has so exhaustively done in “Days of Fire”: come to a full and fair reckoning with the legacy of the 43rd president.