Thursday, June 28, 2007

Quotes From Around Yon Cheneysphere

In the end, President Bush regularly is unable to explain or defend the policies of his own administration, and that is because the heavy intellectual labor has been performed in the office of the vice president. Cheney is impeachable for his overweening power and his sneering contempt of the Constitution and the rule of law.


The hot-off-the-presses announcement that the Senate Judiciary Committee has subpoenaed testimony about the Bush warrantless wiretapping program, and asked for a massive document dump, isn’t just significant for its surface reasons. In my view, it’s the latest signal that the reign of Dick Cheney as shadow president is coming to an end.


Did you know that Dick Cheney is so hardcore about secrecy and security that he won't let the White House officials in charge of security into the West Wing? No that's not a Daily Show joke. It's actually true. Maybe that's why he's already had one (now convicted) spy caught working out of his office. And, no, I'm not talking about Scooter Libby.

Dick Cheney seems determined to do more damage to himself than the latest Washington Post profiles could ever do. While that series has revealed Cheney's influence, it hasn't even come close to demonstrating any wrongdoing on his part. Unfortunately, his latest response on the OVP's refusal to comply with an executive order on the handling of classified material will provide more material for Cheney's critics -- and for no obvious benefit.


Vice President Cheney’s office will not pursue the argument that he is separate from the executive branch, senior administration officials tell The Politico. The decision follows a threat by Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), the No. 3 House Democrat, to try to cut off the office’s $4.8 million in executive-branch funding.


Taxes bother me. Last April I had to eat at home more often because my tax guy told me that I didn’t withhold enough on my state returns. I’m a pretty crappy cook which means that for like a month I had to eat burnt pasta and occasionally defrost a shepherd’s pie which was actually pretty good but not as good as a restaurant burger. Sure you can chart a bunch of crapola about public safety and maintaining the roads, but where on the chart does it cover how taxes piss me off? Please abolish them.

Maybe you think that the above argument wouldn’t make it past Paris Hilton’s GED tutor. You’re right of course. I could make a more persuasive case by grunting, or if I asked David Addington to write a brief. Yet somehow the genius Washington Post op-ed page let it through more or less verbatim.

-- TIM F

In my own cynical opinion Dick Cheney had three goals when he came into office. He wanted to pump oil in Iraq, Iran, and Libya and he didn't want no fussy human rights activists telling him why he couldn't. He got Kaddafi to give up a non-existent WMD program and grant the West huge oil concessions. Sanctions gone. He invaded Iraq. Sanctions gone. He keeps agitating for the third piece of the puzzle. Iran? Gone.


There's the rub of democratic government. Sure, the act of building consensus often requires sacrificing on your most preferred policies. But such consensus-building actually persuades the public, the bureaucracy and legislators of the necessity to act and reduces the chances they'll turn their back on the whole effort. The Cheney method instead creates a blowback that hobbles your efforts in the long run far more than compromise does.


One thing the GOP may not have considered when re-electing both a vice-president and a president who will not run again: what if Bush and Cheney don't really care what they do to the Republican future in their final years? What if neither really cares what anyone else thinks? Look at the Cheney legacy on the environment detailed in yesterday's WaPo and tell me it doesn't read like an Oliver Stone caricature of an evil Republican? Ever wonder why the next generation is lost? And check out Bush's determination to pass an immigration bill that will almost certainly destroy his own coalition for the foreseeable future. Many of us saw that this duo was out of control and unaccountable a while back. I have a feeling many loyal Republicans are beginning to find out as well.


Where I thought, mistakenly, that it would be a great advantage to Bush to have a White House partner without political succession in mind, it has turned out to be altogether too liberating an environment for a political entrepreneur of surpassing skill operating under an exceptional cloak of secrecy.


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