Monday, February 05, 2007

Trouble Looms for V.P. Cheney

Now that the first month of the year blues are fading, it's time to tackle the Big Story for 2007: the political mess in the Office of the Vice President.

Since V.P. Dick Cheney started his job with secret meetings with oil and energy executives to draft the U.S. Energy Policy in 2001, he's had his eye and his hand all over long-term domestic and foreign policies. It's getting tougher to under-estimate his power-grab and tougher for journalists to ignore the Cheney Connections. Most recently, he has refused to even say who works in his office, or even how many work in the office.

TPM's recent post sums up the current mess very well:

I will confess to having been extremely skeptical in the early years of the Bush Presidency that Cheney was really running the show. It seemed too facile an explanation for what I was convinced was a far more complicated situation. Until the 9/11 Commission report came out.

Even the watered-down version of events in the Commission's report made it absolutely clear that Cheney, ensconced in the White House bunker on the morning of the attacks, had issued shootdown orders outside of the chain of command and then conspired with the President to conceal this fact from the Commission.

Since then, I've gone from being open to the idea of an Imperial Vice Presidency to being convinced that historians will debate whether something approaching a Cheney-led coup d'etat has occurred, in which some of the powers of the Executive were extra-constitutionally usurped by the Office of the Vice President.

Last week, in trying to break the lock on who actually works in the OVP--which the Vice President refuses to reveal--the guys at Muckraker stumbled across this entry from a government directory known as the "Plum Book":

'The Vice Presidency is a unique office that is neither a part of the executive branch nor a part of the legislative branch, but is attached by the Constitution to the latter. The Vice Presidency performs functions in both the legislative branch (see article I, section 3 of the Constitution) and in the executive branch (see article II, and amendments XII and XXV, of the Constitution, and section 106 of title 3 of the United States Code).'

"It appears that Cheney's office submitted this entry in lieu of a list of its employees, as federal agencies must do. It sounds like something Cheney's current chief of staff, David Addington, might have written. Cheney and Addington have been the among the most powerful proponents of the theory of a "unitary executive," but there are indications that they have also advanced, though less publicly, a theory of a constitutionally distinct and independent vice presidency."

The whole article is a must read - and the questions raised truly need answering.

Add to this, the ongoing trial of Scooter Libby, in which more and more testimony points to the OVP, both Congress and the press are starting to look at what may be the biggest problem in US politics.


  1. So, I should not take that job with Cheney as his quail hunting caddy?

  2. OXYMORON7:30 PM

    I have a riddle jed. Why would the guy cheney shot be on a hunting trip with Cheney?. Won a sweepstakes?
    Harry Whittington of Austin, who was named presiding officer of the Funeral Service Commission after a major shakeup of agency in 1999 after an investigation into Service Corp International's funeral homes. Service Corp later went on to collect the bodies after Katrina for the Federal Gov. A task usually performed by a branch of the Red Cross. SC has the real body count.
    Wouldn't want that to come out.

  3. "funeralgate," as the above events recall, can be read in the post on this page dated 14 Feb 2006 and titled "Funeralgate and Fema."

    and Jed, i would urge you to keep the job ya got!! its way safer!

  4. Anonymous10:27 AM

    come on nov. 2008, i hope we're still around! RR

  5. james3:30 PM

    I love the smell of conspiracy in the morning.