John F. Kennedy famously read the NYT in ten minutes every morning. Of course, he used a trick- his knowledge that the NYT, aside from leaning far to the right, was simply a mish-mash of the conventionall knowledge from unattribued sources. Knowing the topic, Kennedy could synopsize the story as though he'd read it.
Cheney operated in much the same way. Having learned that almost everyone around him was poorly educated and almost brain-dead, he easily bullied and manipulated them, confident in their inferiority. Almost nobody felt sure enough of themselves to contradict him or quit in disgust.
That's the secret of the upper classes. They're stupid and got their positions the old fashioned way- their fathers called in favors. And a giant among them is, for better or worse, a giant.