Monday, June 25, 2007

If you want to hide, you shouldn't run for office

This is a good one. Dick Cheney is so hellbent on keeping his activities a secret that he is actually making a case that the vice president does not fall under the executive branch!

The dispute stems from Cheney's refusal to file annual reports with an office of the National Archives detailing the number of documents his office either has classified or declassified.

Cheney's office has claimed his role as president of the Senate also makes him part of the legislative branch and therefore is not covered by a presidential order requiring executive branch workers to report their numbers of classified and declassified government documents.

Is this anything like when the Bush administration reclassified fast-food jobs as manufacturing jobs to beef up wilting employment numbers? Or when Reagan tried to get ketchup classified as a vegetable? Or when I tried to declare my car a skateboard so I wouldn't have to pay for insurance?

Cheney is worse than Bush when it comes to contempt for the law and not even pretending to care how he comes off to his constituents (actually, he cares a lot about what his constituents think...but the people? Not so much...).

At least one member of Congress had the steel to call him on this reversal of precedent:

Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said Sunday a court should decide whether the vice president belongs to the executive or legislative branch. "The vice president needs to make a decision," he said.

Well, OK, I wouldn't call that "steel," necessarily. I can see Cheney replying to that quote with a George Carlin-esque, "Well, that's all I need to hear!"

But would Dick be a true member of the Bush administration if he didn't respond with playground petulance? Of course not!

Lea Anne McBride, a Cheney spokeswoman, said Emanuel is the one who has to decide. "He can either deal with the serious issues facing our country, or create more partisan politics," she said.

If the Cheney camp is that bitter over a milquetoast quote such as, "The vice president needs to make a decision," then how could they possibly handle someone who actually expressed resistance? What if someone said, I don't know, "Dick Cheney, you are not above the law. You do not get to rewrite the law or try to suffocate the National Archives every time you have something to hide. You do not get to play by your own rules and operate your own shadow government. Your willingness to bend revered American institutions for your own arrogant ends proves that you are more about retaining power than you are about serving your country. Your corrupt ways have no place in the Free World?" Would tongues waggle? I wish someone would help me find out on that one.

The White House, not surprisingly, has made all of this a moot point. Under the presidential order in question, all members of the executive branch have to report their classified-document numbers...except for the president and vice president!!

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Sunday that President Bush agrees with Cheney's analysis. The executive order's reporting requirements do not apply to the offices of the president or vice president, Fratto said.

Why does this White House even issue rules? They're so transparently hypocritical that one can only deduce that they're doing it to laugh in our faces. They'd save a ton of time and taxpayers' money if they just took all existing laws and taped a small tab to the end of each one that read, "Not applicable to deciders."

The best thing about this? The 2003 executive order Cheney wants to violate (er, get around on an extremely dubious technicality) requires statistics on classified documents to be sent to the Information Security Oversight Office. So is it safe to assume that even the Vice President of the United States thinks that our fight against terror is a joke? The neocons are always saying, "You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide." Chilling as such a mentality is, it seems downright decent when applied to Cheney's case. If he's going that far to hide information, then we must be at least that vigilant in ensuring he cannot.

January 20, 2009 can't come fast enough.


Cajun Tiger said...

This has confused me as well. I haven't a chance to look into it at all, so I don't take the liberal medias reporting on it at face value. However, if it is as reported, I think it is a pretty dumb thing to do.

jumeta said...

Wise choice. Cheney can't even use the White House toilet without getting accused of a power grab. Yes yes yes we need a watchdog... but chill out dammit. The real enemy wants to stone your daughters and pour sharia down your throat.

Ian McGibboney said...

This isn't on the level accusing Cheney of terrible toiletry. I would hope that a vice president trying to redefine the office so he can stay out of trouble would outrage even the most fervent GOP partisans.

His actions might be somewhat forgivable if Cheney et al. were actually doing something about terrorism. But they aren't. And no amount of fear and religion-baiting is going to make me ignore what our own corrupt leaders are doing.

Cajun Tiger said...

Now see...everytime I start to almost agree with have to go over the edge. If arrest after arrest of terrorists in the US who were plotting attacks and the killing and capturing of 1000s of terrorists abroad is doing nothing about terrorism, what would be?

Ian McGibboney said...

The problem is that every terrorist we round up in our current operation leaves a much higher number of disciples. Iraq has become a hotbed of al-Qaida precisely because of U.S. invasion and occupation. And yet, the White House continues to act as if it's still 2003 and that intelligence and public support are still in their favor. And, of course, they aren't.

Cajun Tiger said...

Yeah...there's a good plan...let's not arrest or kill any terrorist. Good luck with that plan.

Ian McGibboney said...

I think the answer is more complex than the typical, "Bush's Way vs. Fostering Terrorism." Perhaps there is a way to curb terrorism without creating more terrorists every time we do it.

Cajun Tiger said...

I'm all for finding better ways to do things, but the just leave the alone while they attack us over and over definitely wasn't working either. We have just recently awakened to the fact that we are in a fight against an enemy who has been fighting against us for awhile now. How would you suggest we win?