Cheney is Correct (Almost)

In between meaningful football games yesterday, I saw clips of Vice President Cheney with Chris Wallace and read some comments on the interview. Frequent readers of my blog understands that I am far from a Bush / Cheney apologist. In fact, I am pretty close to a non-entity in conservative Republican circles because of my early public support for Obama last January. However, in this case, I have to agree with the Vice President (almost) in his opinion that the Congress is equally culpable in both the breach of civil liberties but also the Constitutional idea of checks and balances.

Here is the excerpt from the Cheney / Wallace interview:

“What we did in this administration is to exert that kind of authority. We did it in a manner that I believe and the lawyers that we looked to for advice believed was fully consistent with the Constitution and with the laws of the land. And there’s, I say, ample precedent for it.

If you think about what Abraham Lincoln did during the Civil War, what FDR did during World War II, they went far beyond anything we’ve done in the global war on terror.

But we have exercised, I think, the legitimate authority of the president under Article 2 of the Constitution as commander in chief in order to put in place policies and programs that have successfully defended the nation.”

Vice President Cheney is historically and factually correct in his interpretation of the shifting of power from the Legislative to the Executive branch in times of national crisis. While the letter of the Constitution has been adhered to by the Bush Administration; it is clear that the spirit of the Constitution has been trampled. However, I do not place fault with the Bush Administration; I place fault squarely on the Congress.

The drafters of the Constitution understood the need for the legislative branch to be the sovereign power in a Republic. As Cheney stated yesterday, Article I establishes the sovereignty of the Congress and purposefully places the Executive Branch under Article II. Here is the payoff: The Executive Branch has only received as much as the Legislative Branch has given to it. Congress appropriates the money; approves treaties and authorizes prolonged military actions; and according to Cheney, gave consent to governmental activities (electronic eavesdropping by the NSA) that are questionable in regards to its citizens.

The Bush / Cheney administration fulfilled the role envisioned by the founders of our Republic; an Executive Branch that can and will try to use sovereign power if the Legislative Branch allows them to take it. In 2006 and in 2008, the American people changed the makeup of the sovereign branch of government by switching the majority from Republicans to Democrats. It will be interesting to see if a Democratic Congress is able and willing to reassert the Constitutionally mandated sovereignty of the Legislative Branch that was designed by John Locke, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison over the mantra of “change” offered by the Obama Administration.

Author: TONY CAMPBELL, Columnist

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7 Comments

  1. The problem here is that Bush is no Lincoln and Cheney is no Roosevelt. The GWOT is not similar to the Civil War or to WWII, because there was no draft, no national effort to defeat the enemy –no request for shared sacrifice. Instead, we were told to go shopping. And Bush/Cheney not only started an unnecessary war in Iraq so that they could implement the Unitary executive, they were totally dismissive of the other branches as well as public opinion. Imo, that is inexcusable arrogance. In the meantime, the perpetrator of 9/11 remains at large and al queda is still actively training and recruiting in Pakistan.

    FDR was able to lead successfully because he offered hope in terrible times- while Bush/Cheney threatened us with fear in good times. They were incredibly inept wartime leaders– amazingly enough Cheney still is praising Rumsfeld's performance, even though the tide only turned in Iraq once he was fired.

  2. I would add that I recall this time being a highly political one: those who might oppose the flow of things were quickly labeled “unpatriotic” or worse. It became a Michelle Malkin/Rush Limbaugh mentality of “you're with us or you're with those loser Democrats who are ready to throw in the flag and who coddle terrorists…” Hardly an environment fostering independent thought and rational debate.

    I hate the wrongs that were perpetrated in the name of “protecting America” and those who were demonizing Americans who had the audacity to ask the question: torture? illegal wiretaps? checks and balances, anyone?

  3. Why on earth would anyone choose to give Dick Cheney credit for anything? There is no way on god's green earth he will ever make up for even a fraction of the damage he's caused in this world. Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of bones to pick with the congress too, but their crimes have been mainly of negligence… and a certain amount of spinelessness. If there is a reckoning in the hereafter (which I confess to having grave doubts about – even though it would be nice) then Dicky boy will have some explaining to do…

  4. ok, Congress was spineless and must be blamed … as we blamed German people but we did not put them in the stocks . rather we tried Hitler lackeys and his accomplices in Nuremberg. we were able in 1945 to know the degree in eveil and judge people accordingly
    Congress stupid
    but Cheney evil
    so as rightly Joe Klein said it
    see you in court Cheney and may you rot in hell.

  5. If you know anything about Cheney, you know that his intent was always to increase the power of the executive branch—even before 9/11. He learned a lot from his post-Watergate years as Gerald Ford's chief of staff. At that time, Congress had diluted the power of the presidency–probably necessary after Nixon's massive abuses. Cheney made it his mission to restore the power of the presidency, and took part in a shadow government– which had its own agenda.

    They are attempting to rewrite history in order to rescue the Bush/Cheney legacy and using the national security issue for all their abuses of power is the key. First it was used to force us into supporting the invasion of Iraq, then used to scare us into reelecting GWB, then to scare us into larger and larger defense budgets, and now to rescue the legacy. Why else would the reclusive Dick Cheney be giving all of these interviews? Why are accepting his word at face value after all of the blatant lies and more subtle deceptions that he has foisted on the American public????

  6. The effectiveness of Cheney's work (and the Bush administration in general) has relied on the same dynamic that PT Barnum exploited, although with much more dire results. It just seems like the people are so much easier to manipulate – consequently the country is losing it's greatness in direct proportion to the rate of the dumbing down of it's populace. It's rather terrifying actually, since the people are actually ceding power by giving up their wits; when this happens the vacuum is filled by the likes of Bush et al.

  7. JS – I agree – I call it the Paris Hilton syndrome- since most people are more interested in her activities than whether they are being well-represented by their government. It wasn't that long ago that no one dared come out against the Iraq War.

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