One of George W. Bush’s first acts as president was to create a budget review board with Cheney as its chair. Cabinet members did not go over his head.
Cheney even killed some things favored by Bush. For instance, in 2000 Bush campaigned saying he would take steps to fight global warming; he promised to require all power plants to meet clean air standards. He selected former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman, a moderate Republican, as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
But Cheney got the president to reverse himself and Whitman resigned.
Cheney also took on members of the cabinet. He liked to point out that he was a constitutional officer and the president couldn’t fire him. Several of his antagonists were disposed of (including Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neill, and Attorney General John Ashcroft), even as Cheney worked hard to keep Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on the job.
Like Cheney, Rumsfeld was a hawk on the war. And Cheney probably did more to shape the handling of post- 9/11 detainees and related policies such as secret surveillances. He pushed that envelope too far, Gellman says, and Bush for once refused to something dear to Cheney, after Attorney General Ashcroft and about a dozen Justice Department lawyers and the head of the FBI threatened to resign if the president didn’t agree to their interpretation of the law instead of Cheney’s.