Tuesday, June 26, 2007

'Angler' For Power

Eugene Robinson

It's ironic that the latest outrage from Cheney is his claim to be exempt from a presidential order concerning the handling of classified documents because his office is not actually, or at least not exclusively, a part of the executive branch. Cheney, you see, has spent the past six years pushing the envelope of executive authority, asserting for Bush and himself the right to do pretty much any damn thing they want.

Didn't Cheney claim executive privilege as his reason for keeping secret the process he followed in developing the administration's energy policy, including the names of the people with whom he met?

The Dick reminds me of a friend of mine in the Corps. His name was Murray and he was from Dunedin FL if anyone out there knows him. Anyway, he had the name 'Murray' on the front of his field jacket, and something like 'Wojohowicz' on the back. If he was screwing up and somebody called out "Murray!", he'd turn around, point to the name stencilled on the back and go, "No, not Murray. Wojohowicz, see?". Conversely, if he was doing good and someone called out "Wojohowicz!", he'd turn around, point to the name on the front and go, "No, not Wojohowicz. Murray, see?".

He got away with it, too.

The Dick is pullin' the same cheap shit. He's part of the Executive Branch when it protects him from scrutiny, and not part of the Executive Branch when it subjects him to scrutiny.

Cheney ain't no Marine Lance Corporal. Congress has to come down on his ass like a ton o' bricks. He can't have it both ways.

I heard somewhere that this is just The Dick's attempt to get this bullshit into the court system so there won't be a decision from that molasses-in-January bunch until the clock runs out on the current occupant and they all get to go home unscathed and uncharged with all their crimes.

Students of public administration should have to take a course called "Cheney." How he has amassed and employed his power offers a case study in how government really works -- and how a skillful operator can make a bureaucracy dance. Take Cheney's penchant for secrecy, which seems to border on the maniacal. His office stamps "SECRET" on routine documents, including talking points for officials to use with reporters. He keeps papers pertaining to everyday business in huge Mosler safes. Is this loopy? No, he's just putting into practice the dictum that information is power. Sunshine is for losers.

The vice president, whose Secret Service code name is "Angler," really does know all the angles. And above all, he knows how to survive. His onetime mentor Donald Rumsfeld is gone, his onetime top aide Scooter Libby is on his way to jail, yet Cheney -- defiantly, disastrously, unbelievably -- remains. It will take years to uncover and undo all the damage he has wrought.

No shit, but it needs to be done. In the meantime, remove him physically from his office in the Executive White House. In shackles.

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