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Speaking self-interest to power

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Another interesting article from TIME: "Inside Bush and Cheney's Final Days," By Massimo Calabresi and Michael Weisskopf.

But the specific reason I'm posting about it is to quote a relatively minor side note on p. 2:

Cheney had an uncanny ability to guide Bush's decisions. [...] Cheney salted the bureaucracy with allies who could alert him in advance about policy disagreements, help him influence internal debates at key moments and give him a leg up in framing issues for the President. He was always deferential to Bush, often waiting with head down and hands clasped behind his back to address the President. Both by habit and by design, he cultivated a relationship that suited Bush's view of their roles: the President as the "decider" and Cheney as the éminence grise who counseled him. In reality, by wiring the bureaucracy and being the last person Bush spoke with on many key decisions, Cheney became a "sounding board for advice he originated himself," as biographer Barton Gellman put it.

That seems to me to be a brilliant strategy for getting what you want, if you find yourself in the position of advising someone in authority. Make sure that all information paths to the authority are providing information that derives from you, but make them look independent; thereby allow others to guide the person in authority toward your preferred options; and then let the person in authority present the ideas as their own to you for discussion and approval.

I suppose another way of looking at this is that control over communications is control over reality.

(Can you tell I'm closing out browser windows tonight?)

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