“What about Dick?”

I don’t do much politics here, but I’ll make an exception for this excellent weekend Washington Post piece on Dick Cheney. He comes across like something created by an offspring of Thomas Pynchon and John Le Carre: an almost absurdist paragon of secrecy in a field, politics, where reticence and information are the twin keys to power. Whatever your feelings about the man and his successes and/or failings, the piece is essential reading.

Here is a snippet:

But as you follow him around, you can never hear what Cheney is saying.

You hear Cheney cough. You see Cheney’s lips move. If you’re standing close enough, maybe you’ll hear a quick mutter. But it’s next to impossible to decipher his words.

You can hear Lawrence Small, the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, who is leading the tour. You can hear the hushed voices of Cheney’s staff and the Secret Service detail. You can hear Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), who booms “Hello, sir,” to Cheney as he sees him standing near a Sparrow 2 missile exhibit.

“It’s a great day, sir,” the Senate majority leader adds.

And Cheney says something back, presumably something innocuous like Yes, it is.

But you can’t tell for sure.