It's been clear for some time now that Dick Cheney is a cancer on this republic -- for example, re-read the section of the Constitution that delineates the powers of the vice president and then explain under what authority, precisely, Cheney may direct the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee not to release phase II of the report on pre-war intelligence failures.
Now, the good news, so report Dana Priest and Robin Wright, is that Cheney and his consiglieri are "a shrinking island" within the administration. Professional diplomats in the state department (no surprise), the Condoleeza Rice faction (slight surprise), and even, possibly, Alberto Gonzales and Harriet Miers (BFS) are against the pro-torture position to the point of leaking to the press about it -- and I think we know how much the Bush administration appreciates dissenting leaks. [Also, scroll to the end of Priest and Wright's piece for yet more evidence that Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Mordor) is a spiteful little putz--ed.]
The bad news: well aside from the possibility that the Priest/Wright article represents what the Washington Post wished were the case rather than what the case actually is the case, assume the reporting is accurate. Then what? Cheney is firmly ensconced at the administration's power centers, and Bush will not part with him; only a criminal investigation or an impeachment trial could rid us of this Richelieu, and that won't happen until and unless Congress changes hands. (Hmm. Best argument for electing Democrats I've yet heard.)
Cheney, in other words, is going to win any power struggle within the administration. We have, in the office of the executive, a hapless, hopeless cypher, who governs by surrounding himself with courtiers, sycophants, and well-wishers, some of whom, like Cheney and Rumsfeld, are smart enough to realize that they can secure a significant proportion of executive power for themselves by self-interested interpretations of the president's whims, interpretations which Bush will never review. Welcome to life in the last days of the Ottoman Empire.
UPDATE: Hey, good for McCain.
UPDATE: This sure looks impeachable to me.