Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Cheney Fan Club

Jonah Goldberg is apparently a member of this illustrious organization, which, he notes, isn't all that large. I suppose the organization can content itself with the fact that though the American people might not think much of Cheney he still gets to wield a big stick in our nations policy debates.

In between praise for Cheney's style, he notes that his latest moves don't make a lot of sense.
Take the current argument over Cheney's self-exemption from the rules on how classified documents should be handled. Instead of getting a waiver from the president, Cheney argued that he's immune to executive orders because he's also the president of the Senate and hence a member of the legislative branch too. Not only is this a goofy argument on its face, it does nothing to restore executive authority. It's not like the vice presidency was an outpost of the legislative branch before Watergate. Cheney's argument amounts to a convenient rationalization for his own secretive style.

Such opportunism undermines his more principled arguments and exhausts the goodwill of his defenders, precisely when Cheney needs that goodwill for bigger and better things. And it sends his detractors on the left around the bend, just like President Clinton's abuses - real and perceived - drove many of us on the right to kick our TV sets. The fact is that Cheney's cause isn't helped when millions of Americans think he's a comic-book villain.
Actually I imagine many of Cheney's fans might be happy with this move precisely because it does send liberals around the bend.

But he's right, this latest move sets new standards for goofiness and paints the picture of an executive branch that basically feels like it can do whatever it wants whenever it wants. And unfortunately for the Cheney Fan Club, that picture appears to be largely accurate.

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