Our 4th branch of Government

Stealthy Dick. He’s the Dismantler The WaPo series of articles about how Cheney has done an end-run on everyone has me steamed. Not that I wasn’t steamed already.

I remember reading something about John Perry Barlow about the Cheney he knew. JPB said “I believe he is personally indifferent to greed.” Before I went and looked up the exact quote, I vaguely recalled it as Cheney wasn’t corruptible, or he wasn’t into power. Any one or three of those opinions, true or not, are born out in one section of part 1 of the WaPo series– scroll down to the section called ‘Oh, By the Way’. James Baker recounts the advice he received from Dick Cheney about being a White House Chief of Staff about making sure that the Presidential decision-making process had integrity, and that there were no “oh, by the way” decisions. From Cheney’s statements to White House historians:

“The process of moving paper in and out of the Oval Office, who gets involved in the meetings, who does the president listen to, who gets a chance to talk to him before he makes a decision, is absolutely critical. It has to be managed in such a way that it has integrity.”

Two years later, at his Nov. 13 lunch with Bush, Cheney brought the president the ultimate “oh, by the way” choice — a far-reaching military order that most of Bush’s top advisers had not seen.

How is it possible to explain this kind of about face? Is it Cheney’s own private assessment of the manifold weaknesses and lacks of the President?

Maybe it’s the bypasses. Maybe it’s the angioplasties. Some of that arterial plaque got loose in his arteries, went to his brain and Tricky Stealthy Dick decided to do an end-run on the so-called Decider (Cheney culls the short list for all options presented to the President; he’s present when Bush signs legislation. If Bush is the decider, Stealthy Dick is the one who tells him what his options are)

This country needs a Cheney bypass.

I like the Rahm Emanuel option of having congress defund the Office of the Vice President, since it’s not, well, part of the Executive Branch, as the spokesperson for the vice president says. By the way, that bit of legislation is called the “Emanuel Amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill.” So use that title if you call your representative to offer your support.

Well, the President of the Senate needs to be made to adhere to Senate Security Procedures, as CREW proposes. Maybe he needs to be hauled before the Senate ethics committee, too? Oops, Cheney’s not a member of the legislative branch, either.

And if we impeach Dick Cheney, as President of the Senate, he will preside over his own impeachment. Glenn Reynolds points out that VP/Pres Senate is recused from presiding over impeachments of President; that no one could have forseen that the office of the Vice President would be powerful enough that the Vice President would need to be impeached.

So we’re stuck with a 4th branch of government (this morning I’m calling it the Nazgul Branch of the United States government)

One question I was puzzling over since reading the first article yesterday: If Dick Cheney’s strategic and untraceable and secret end runs are behind much in this administration, and yet, unlike the resume of The Decider, Stealthy Dick has actually, you know, done real work, why the propensity for so many goofball appointments of loyal lackeys to positions that require, well, proven and actual competence? Is that an area he leaves for others to handle? Or does he like the worker bees loyal and fumbling so that they’re easier to control?

One response to “Our 4th branch of Government”

  1. Kelly

    Excellent posting, Susan, both this one and 2nd one. “Fourth branch” is brilliant nomenclature. Thanks for the link to the WaPo articles. And now I must to the vomitorium.