In 2006, in a "can't-make-this-up" moment during an interview with Vanity Fair's Todd Purdum, Richard B. Cheney said that his all-time favourite movie was "Red River", a 1948 Western film directed by Howard Hawks.
Red RiverIn a real-life paralell to the epic struggle between a stubborn Texas rancher and the right-hand man who displaces him, Cheney, like Montgomery Clift offered a challenge to his own John Wayne.
Because matters had come to a head after George W. Bush refused to issue a Presidential pardon for L. "Scooter" who stood accused of perjury and the obstruction of an investigation into the outing of Valerie Plame, a CIA agent. A fanatically loyal, long-term ally labelled "Cheney's Cheney", Libby enjoyed a privileged position as Chief of Staff and National Security Advisor in the Office of the Vice President. Crucially, Cheney had engineered Libby's appointment as Presidential assistant, an unprecedented triple role that meant "Scooter" was subordinate only to Bush and Cheney who now reached their own "Red River" moment. And the founding fathers had enshrined a key principle in the constitution; the President cannot fire the Vice President.
In a note made public after Cheney left office in 2009, the President had documented his refusal to "sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder". Instead, George W. Bush would be forced to resign over the Plame affair.