A Scary Heartbeat From the Presidency

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In the last few days, Vice President Cheney has taken his troublingly erratic behavior to a new level.

Cheney has asserted on numerous occasions that his office is part of the executive branch and therefore he is protected by its perks and privileges, at least when it comes to his own accountability.

Two notably pungent examples are keeping secret the inner workings of his Energy Task Force and protecting himself against a civil lawsuit filed by Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame.

On the other hand, Cheney has asserted that his office is not fully part of the executive branch since the veep also is the president of the Senate. Never mind that the office is mentioned no fewer than 24 times in the U.S. Constitution in connection with the presidency.

A notably pungent example is his claim that he does not have to abide by a presidential order regulating federal agencies’ handling of classified national security information. When this view was challenged by an office in the National Archives responsible for enforcing the order, he sought to have it abolished. Kind of like bombing Iran, which he fervently advocates, although on a much smaller scale.

The veep’s seeming craziness may have a simple explanation: He isn’t getting enough oxygen to his brain as a result of an astounding number of medical problems.

Don’t laugh.

Cheney is badly damaged goods and is alive because he has had numerous medical procedures. These include a defibrillator implantation because of atherosclerosis stemming from high cholesterol and obesity, four heart attacks, one of which led to a coronary stent and another to a coronary bypass, an angioplasty because of unstable angina, congestive heart failure, a tube prosthesis because of knee aneurysms, an inability to stay awake (see photo) and breathlessness. He takes a suite of powerful medications, including one to control gout.

Yes, the man who is literally an irregular heartbeat away from the presidency is a walking medical and pharmacological time bomb whose frequent visits to hospitals typically are denied by his secrecy obsessed office (when not misusing classified information) and only later confirmed when confronted by the evidence.

I don’t know about you, but the notorious incident in which Cheney shot a hunting companion makes more sense. As does his erratic behavior.

I don’t know which is more frightening:

The prospect of surviving the remaining 18 months of the Bush presidency or the specter of Cheney taking over should anything happen to Bush.

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  • Rambie

    This is a joke, if Clinton/Al Gore WH tried this 10 years ago the Republicans would have blown a fuse (to put it mildly).

    I loved what Dustin said at Gun Total LIberal had to say:

    So to boil things down VP Cheney sees his limited dual-branch role in the federal government as license to cherry-pick the rules, laws, and regulations he and his office are required to follow. He’s trying to have his cake and eat it too.

    Have a pesky Legislative oversight matter you don’t want to deal with? Fine, declare you’ve got executive immunity and don’t have to cooperate. Trying to deal with some annoying Executive Order putting your office under scrutiny? That’s simple too, just say you’re really part of the Legislative Branch and aren’t bound by Executive Branch Orders.

  • Rudi

    Cheney is an arrogant bung hole who would be king, He thinks laws and Republican policies are for the little people. I wonder what he thinks as he bounces his latest grandchild on his knee. That love child would be illegal in Virgina and Texas…

  • http://tutakai.typepad.com/tutakai/ Jason Steck

    Rudi,

    Dick Cheney is a public official and therefore standards about personal attacks are somewhat relaxed. But bringing Mary Cheney’s personal life and sexuality into it seems to be across the line.

    Surely it is possible for you to express your criticisms of the VP without taking shots at his daughter or grandchild.

  • http://flickr.com/photos/carpeicthus carpeicthus

    Cheney is an evil lunatic, but he’s been an evil lunatic his whole life. His health problems have nothing to do with it, unless the White House legal team have the same problems.

  • http://the-speculator.blogspot.com/ Ashen Shard

    Jason,

    I do not think Rudi’s comment is taking a shot at his daughter and grandchild, unless you think just mentioning their existence as such. He is making a valid point about Cheney who supports all the anti-gay nut jobs and yet supports his daughter. This is just another example of how Cheney wishes to compel others to follow certain rules and values while exempting himself and his family.

  • http://tutakai.typepad.com/tutakai/ Jason Steck

    I’m sorry, Ashen, but this is not a matter for debate.

    Recently, there was outrage when someone applied an irrelevant political point to a post about an orphanage in Iraq. Well, his daughter’s sexuality is equally irrelevant to a post about her father’s opportunistic treatment of rules about “executive privilege”. There is no legitimate reason to bring her and her child in to a discussion just because someone dislikes the policies of her father.

  • DLS

    The Cheney-bashing here is predictable as well as stupid, just like so much of the predictable, stupid Bush-bashing we constantly see here on “TLV.” To us intelligent readers, it has long been tiresome.

  • http://kikoshouse.blogspot.com/ Shaun Mullen

    DLS:

    The second-highest-ranking official in America, a man sworn to uphold the Constitution, deems himself above the law, but thoughtful and well sourced commenting on that is “stupid” and “tiresome.”

    A great example of how what used to pass for outrageous has become normal . . . at least for some people.

  • egrubs

    Jason, it’s not a stretch.

    Assert that Cheney opportunistically applies rules regarding his position between the executive and legislative branch.

    Show that he opportunistically applies rules balancing his personal morals with the morals he expects other people to have when it gives him political advantage.

    You’ve shown he’s capable of directly contradicting himself to his political advantage.

    It’s not his daughter’s sexuality that is relevant. It’s Cheney’s treatment of that sexuality.

  • http://ajliebling.blogspot.com/ Robert Stein

    As America’s first self-selected, unelected, disconnected VP, Cheney should serve as a reminder for voters to pay close attention when the ’08 candidates get around to picking their running mates:

    http://ajliebling.blogspot.com/2007/06/vice-president-punchline.html

  • http://tutakai.typepad.com/tutakai/ Jason Steck

    egrubs,

    I trust Mary Cheney’s own account of how her father treats her over anonymous blog commenters with axes to grind.

    I also want to respect Mary Cheney’s own stated preferences when she says that she resents and does not consent to efforts to use her sexuality as a mechanism by which to critique her father.

    As VP in a democracy, Dick Cheney is fair game, even for stuff that is kind of over-the-top like calling him an “evil lunatic”. (You might notice that I didn’t even suggest moderating that.) But comments that try to drag his daughter’s sexuality into it will be treated as personal attacks on her because of her express wishes on that point.

  • egrubs

    She’s a lesbian, and there really is nothing in the world wrong with that. More power to her, and all that.

    But if it’s an example of how Dick Cheney can contradict himself for political advantage, it’s relevant in a discussion about Cheney contradicting himself for political advantage.

    Sure, it should be treated delicately. It should be acknowledged politely and all that crap, because we aren’t far enough along to just accept her for being a lesbian. Since we’re talking about how one lies down without clothes on, we all get squeamish and start hedging everything and acting like fools. When it really doesn’t matter.

    All that matters is that he’s willing to set one standard, and then contradict it for political advantage at a later date.

    That’s it.

  • http://tutakai.typepad.com/tutakai/ Jason Steck

    All that matters is that he’s willing to set one standard, and then contradict it for political advantage at a later date.

    If that is the point people want to make, there are surely better ways to do it and better examples to use than dragging in an innocent person who has specifically asked not to be used in such a way.

  • Rudi

    Jason Mary Cheney made herself an issue when she used her fathers coattails to promote herself. The other daughter benefitted from nepotism. The Cheney’s view public service as a fiefdom.
    1)The Republican connection(Coors family) for one job.
    2)She worked on her fathers campaign.
    3) Her book, with a large advance, that went nowhere.

    If she wasn’t in the public eye, like Susan Ford or Chelsea Clinton during their fathers administrations, her personal life wouldn’t matter. Her political jobs made her a public person and subject to debate and attacks because of her father.

  • http://tutakai.typepad.com/tutakai/ Jason Steck

    Wow, Rudi, you really take ideological hatred to the next level. You don’t just go after those public officials that you disagree with, but you go after their families too.

    I wish you wouldn’t do it here, that’s all.

  • Rudi

    JS In comment#2 I never mentioned Mary Cheney, I only referred to her love child. It is the Puritanical Republican party that makes the grandson illegitimate by their policies. How can a party of “pro-life” and “family values” label a child as “illegitimate” or a “bas****”? The Gephartd’s push and live by their beliefs, the Cheney’s don’t.

  • http://tutakai.typepad.com/tutakai/ Jason Steck

    I think it is clear that you don’t have any idea how the Cheneys actually live. You just assume that you do based on a demonic stereotype you have about all Republicans. That’s what I meant when I said that you take ideological hatred to the next level. Wow, man, unbelievable.

  • DLS

    The second-highest-ranking official in America, a man sworn to uphold the Constitution, deems himself above the law, but thoughtful and well sourced commenting on that is “stupid” and “tiresome.”

    It’s not thoughtful at all. You’re just taking time out from your excessive, irritating typical Bush-bashing to bash Cheney, too, “in case you have forgotten about him because Bush has been so much in the news lately…”

    Be thankful there’s only one inept person at the top rather than two.

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com cosmoetica

    Shaun:

    It’s not the operations. His brain was screwed long ago. It’s called ‘psychopathy.’

    Need any more be said?

  • kimrit

    Jason- I don’t think anyone on this blog thinks that Dick Cheney is anything like the average Republican. That’s the whole point- that he sets himself above the law when its convenient for him.

    During the ’90′s all we heard about was how the Clinton administration held itself above “the rule of law”. Now that we have Republicans in office shouldn’t the same standards apply?
    If nothing else Bush and Cheney are setting a precedent that the executive will have almost unlimited powers with very limited oversight by watchdog agencies or by Congress.

    What other VP has ever decided that his documents don’t need to go into the National Archives? Doesn’t that only add to the speculation that he cooked up the evidence for Iraq and conspired to out Plame?

  • http://www.themoderatevoice.com Michael van der Galien

    Warnings are not subject to debate. They are issued and that is the end of it. Basta. Mary Cheney has nothign to do with it, don’t take a swipe at her. Clear. Done.

    Have a good weekend btw everyone!

  • http://tutakai.typepad.com/tutakai/ Jason Steck

    During the ’90’s all we heard about was how the Clinton administration held itself above “the rule of law”. Now that we have Republicans in office shouldn’t the same standards apply?

    Obviously, I don’t think that or else I wouldn’t have posted about this story well before this thread was ever posted. :)

    What other VP has ever decided that his documents don’t need to go into the National Archives? Doesn’t that only add to the speculation that he cooked up the evidence for Iraq and conspired to out Plame?

    Well, that particular linkage is just as speculative as questions about why Clinton’s NSA Sandy Berger shoplifted and destroyed documents from the National Archives. But I personally don’t require a conspiracy scenario to say that the VP’s action here is laughable.

  • http://tutakai.typepad.com/tutakai/ Jason Steck

    I don’t think anyone on this blog thinks that Dick Cheney is anything like the average Republican.

    BTW, kimrit, several people on this blog have taken the position that Cheney is the same as any other Republican, including some people doing so in comments shown above on this very thread.

  • kimrit

    Yes, and there was plenty of speculation about Berger as well. The difference is that matter was investigated and ajudicated – but Cheney’s involvement in the Plame case was obfuscated by Libby, and no one has ever really investigated his role in gathering the evidence that led to our entry into Iraq.

  • kimrit

    OK Jason- which comment generalizes Cheney’s odd behavior and tendency to hold himself above the law to ALL Republicans? I think many good, decent, Republicans are ashamed of Cheney’s actions.

  • http://tutakai.typepad.com/tutakai/ Jason Steck

    Rudi’s do.

  • Rudi

    Jason and MvdG
    If Mary Cheney worked for Warren Buffet or Bill Gates because of her qualifications, not her connections I wouldn’t mention the Cheney nepotism. I wonder what is the Coors family political affiliation. Would Mary Cheney hawked Coors in gay/lesbian bars if her name was Gonzales or Keyes?(no) Please explain her book deal, was it her writing ability or her last name? Cheney is using the VP office like a corrupt CEO, for power and nepotism.Name some other fomer POTUS or VP’s who put their family on the payroll. This is the USA, not Ford Motor company. The Ford family and stockholders fired Billy, were stuck with the Darkside.

  • http://tutakai.typepad.com/tutakai/ Jason Steck

    Rudi, for the last time, it is NOT open for debate. Please stop now.

  • egrubs

    Warnings are not subject to debate. They are issued and that is the end of it. Basta. Mary Cheney has nothign to do with it, don’t take a swipe at her. Clear. Done.

    Childish, at best. But it’s your show. I’d appreciate advising us as to relevant lines of discourse with each post. If some related contradictions are appropriate and others are not, then perhaps they should become official policy.

    Or, perhaps, we could just find a way to discuss “sensitive” topics without acting like four-year olds.

  • egrubs

    Rudi, for the last time, it is NOT open for debate. Please stop now.

    Very, very confused here. This isn’t even offensive. It’s authoritarian and arbitrary.

    I don’t agree with half of what Rudi’s saying, and it’s going a little off topic, but at the start it was a legitimate reference. Now this thread is just another meta-thread where people argue about allowable discourse because some people felt the need to stamp out a line of discussion with heavy boots.

    It wasn’t offensive at the start, but pandering to authoritarian editorialism can sometimes get a little out of hand.

  • Rudi

    KR says: “OK Jason- which comment generalizes Cheney’s odd behavior and tendency to hold himself above the law to ALL Republicans?”
    JS say: “Rudi’s do.”

    LOL Now you are assigning blanket statements to me, when I said no such thing. Where is my blanket hatred for ALL Republicans? I remember when moderate Republicans ran the state of Michigan (Romney and Milliken). Milliken today would have no chance in his party. Please explain how the Ford family used the Whitehouse as an employment service for their children. I don’t recall Susan Ford working in her fathers Administration. I remember Gerald Ford, I would vote for a Ford Republican over Hillary, but the Repugs won’t acknowlege or nominate any moderates. The Milliken’s, Ford’s and Whitman’s aren’t welcome in their party anymore. The Demoncrats elected Webb, Casey and Tester, all far left partisans?

  • http://www.cosmoetica.com cosmoetica

    It’s funny that this thread is about a psychopath, and yet some comments and the warnings are both diverging from reality, as well. ‘Tis a pathogen.

  • kimrit

    Rudi- I reread your comments and it looks like Jason is putting words in your mouth, lol. I think we all can agree that Cheney is an entity unto himself.

  • Rudi

    LOL KR – He puts words in my mouth and tells me not to go there. I was just going to Cheney’s disregard for rules and laws. I believe I made a point about Billy Ford leaving the Ford CEO position, this administration was supposed to be the first MBA CEO administration, well the CEO is incompetent and the COO(Cheney) treats the company as his personal property(nepotism,hubris,corruption) and the stockholders are stuck with them.

    And then he threatens to stomp on me with those boots…

  • kimrit

    LOL Rudi- Makes me want to live 50 more years just to see what they write about this crew in the history books!

    I honestly think that the Democrats would have gone for impeaching Cheney if they weren’t scared about the backlash (like what happened to the GOP after Clinton’s impeachment) Congress is investigating but going after easier targets- Gonzo, Rice and Karl Rove!

  • http://itsthe21stcenturystupid.wordpress.com Jim Satterfield

    I would say that Cheney is like about 80% of the Republican officeholders and appointees in Washington right now. How that relates to most members of the Republican party in the country is completely unknown.

  • Pyst

    DLS, your constant protection of this administration no matter what it does to our system of laws, and governement is whats wrong. These people deserve to be bashed when they give the finger to what took over 200 years to build. They are threatening the life of the governement and you could give less than a shiite about that? Some patriotism you are displaying.