The first theory is that Bush is the moral leader, attempting to follow in the footsteps of Reagan. Cheney runs the show as the "Grand Vizier", Rumsfeld owns foreign policy and O'Neill formerly running domestic policy. It's implied that these guys know what they are doing.
The next theory posits that, instead of a bunch of guys running the show, Cheney's serving as Head-of-Government coordinating the staff (and not actually dictating all policy), but doing it badly.
The third is that Bush, unfortunately, not only is Head-of-State but actually does want to make all the decisions of head-of-government, but isn't interested enough to get adequate information before doing so. This one is more sophisticated and you'd definitely want to check this one out.
What does Brad think? I don't want to imply that his quotes are all soundbites, but it's just the way things turned out:
Which of these theories is correct? I don't believe Theory 1--I don't believe that the American government has been honestly and competently led over the past 3 1/2 years, whether by Cheney or by somebody else. I don't have enough information to decide between theories 2 and 3.
The frustrating thing is that the elite White House press corps does, in all probability, have the information to decide between theories 2 and 3. Yet with a few exceptions (Ron Suskind, I believe, plumps for theory 3), they aren't saying what they think. They need to find a way to do so.