Wednesday, December 21, 2005

cheney on our weak presidency?

The Washington Post and LA Times both had stories today about the goal of the de facto Bush administration to strengthen what they -- specifically Dick Cheney -- see as a presidency that was too weak when they took office. The latest domestic spy thing fits the pattern very well -- asserting a right to do something without the appropriate legislative or judicial approval, even though it is CLEAR that they could have gotten Congress to change laws, or could have probably obtained the appropriate warrant from the FISA court on every single occasion, even after the fact if necessary.

Clearly whatever has caused Cheney's perpetual sneer to spread wider across his face has hurt his judgement, too, because nobody else thinks the US presidency is weak. This isn't the post-Watergate era, Dick.

Cheney said, "I believe in a strong, robust executive authority, and I think that the world we live in demands it -- and to some extent that we have an obligation as the administration to pass on the offices we hold to our successors in as good of shape as we found them." In wartime, the president "needs to have his constitutional powers unimpaired."

Nobody wants to impair the President's constitutional powers. It is his ILLEGAL and UNCONSTITUTIONAL assertion that he can do things in defiance of the law that we worry about.

A few comments on Cheney's assertion that the executive needs more power:

"He's living in a time warp. The great irony is Bush inherited the strongest presidency of anyone since Franklin Roosevelt, and Cheney acts as if he's still under the constraints of 1973 or 1974." Bruce Fein, lawyer and former Reagan administration official.

"The vice president may be the only person I know of that believes the executive has somehow lost power over the last 30 years." Senator John Sununu (R-NH), son of Papa Bush Chief of Staff John Sununu.

"The problem is, where do you stop rebalancing the power and go too far in the other direction? I think in some instances [Bush] has gone too far." David A. Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union.