The chief of the executive branch cannot govern from weakness or share powers that belong to him alone. There might come a time to concede a point, but it was a bad idea to telegraph any softness. “We don’t negotiate with ourselves,” Cheney said. Later, that became a mantra for the president and his staff.
During Cheney’s tenure at the Pentagon, Army doctrine was rewritten to emphasize that “each operation must contribute to the ultimate strategic aim,” that “intermediate objectives must directly, quickly, and economically contribute to the operation,” and that resources must be expended on nothing else. This was Cheney’s discipline exactly: to define a problem, study options, make a choice, ignore distractions, and execute.
Cheney seldom indulged in ambivalence. Either he had a direction in mind or he regarded the choice as unimportant and stepped aside.
Cheney thought like a CEO. His approach was “to ask, ‘To what problem was the increase in the child tax credit a solution?’”