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Thu

12

Apr

2007

Grokking Dick Cheney
Thursday, 12 April 2007 17:28
by Andrew Bard Schmookler

Some months back, Brent Scowcroft reportedly said:
I consider Cheney a good friend—I’ve known him for 30 years. But Dick Cheney I don’t know anymore…
One might readily imagine that, in a relationship between colleagues, one person might not KNOW the other person as well as he might think. Particularly with a secretive person like Cheney, more important cards might have been played much closer to the vest than Scowcroft might have been able to intuit. And perhaps only with Cheney’s rise to power –as Vice President to a President who may be easily manipulated– would certain aspects of Cheney’s character be given outright public expression.

But here’s another idea that’s been floated (by Debra Saunders in a column in the San Francisco Chronicle, as described in an account in the journal, The Week):

“What’s wrong with Dick Cheney?” That question, said Michelle Cottle, is being asked with increasing urgency, as our vice president, never exactly warm and fuzzy, has cursed out critics and journalists, denied any fallibility, and grown “ever more rigid, belligerent, and just plain odd.” Some figure that Cheney has grown mad with power, but the real explanation may be physical. The 66-year-old Cheney has suffered four heart attacks and had multiple surgeries, stent insertions, and other procedures. Cheney’s heart, his doctors say, pumps blood at only about 66 percent the efficiency of a healthy heart. [Schmookler note: does this recurrence here of the number “66″ have any Satanic implications? ] A growing body of research shows that the reduced flow of blood to the brain that can accompany serious heart disease often causes a loss of mental sharpness and even changes in personality. Specialists say that heart patients often exhibit striking anger and “mood changes.”…


What interests me is not the changes over the past several months, but any changes that would go back still further.

The past several months have been a time of set-backs for the Bushites, and it does not surprise me at all if people like these –who seem so determined, almost to the point of pathology, not to recognize when overwhelming evidence points to their having been basically wrong in so many of their judgments– get testy and irritable in the face of criticism.

But when Brent Scowcroft said “I don’t know Dick Cheney any more,” it was back in 2005, when Cheney and the other Bushite war-promoters were still riding high.

It is the change that Scowcroft sensed that I wonder if this heart-disease explanation does anything to explain.

And if the damage to the heart does play any role, I wonder if that role is confined to simply the mechanics of blood-flow to the brain. After all, the heart has been intuited by many cultures to have some greater role to play in the emotional/psychological life of human beings than simply as a pump.

Then finally, if the heart issue IS important, I also wonder whether the personality transformations such damage leads to are pretty uniform among all such heart patients. I can readily imagine that the nature of the transformation in any given individual would be reflective of the underlying structure of that individual.

In other words, according to this hypothesis, if Cheney’s heart problem has contributed to the evil of the role he has played in America over the past six years, perhaps that tells us something about some of the deeper layers of his character that were previously there in the foundation, but overlain by other structures that the heart problem stripped away. (”Who knows WHAT EVIL LUKRS IN THE HEARTS OF MEN?”)

This is purely speculative on my part– not knowing whatever epidemiological studies there may be concerning the psychological effects of heart disease like Cheney’s– but I find the speculation intriguing enough to move me to share it as such.  
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a guest said:

0
misnomer
I read this for the title. I was disappointed. Not by what you said, particularly, though the cause of Cheney's behavior (be it lack of blood or merely conscience) are of a minor interest to me, but by the expection of understanding and the reciept of hypothetical speculation. To grok, by Heinlein's (or Mike's) definition, is to have a total comprehension and synchronization with something or someone.
This may seem petty and pharisaical, yet this is not my intent. Merely to say, that is not the write word. An eye-catching word to be sure, powerful to those who do grok and intriguing to those to who find it foreign. It hooked me, indeed, despite the following two words.
candidly yours,
evan saltsman
sevanteno@hotmail.com
 
April 12, 2007
Votes: +0

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