Cheney’s latest outrage
We have to hand it to Vice-President Dick Cheney. His capacity to astound knows no bounds. The big Dick — apparently unaware that the sentient public knows he is the real power behind boy George’s throne — is now claiming that, as vice-president, he is not a member of the executive branch and, thus, is not governed by laws that regulate the disclosure of national-security documents. This lawyer’s ploy is cleverly hung from the fact that the vice-president’s only constitutionally prescribed duty — aside from waiting for the sitting president to die or become incapacitated — is to preside over the Senate, something vice-presidents typically do rarely.

Cheney’s recent maneuver is part of a larger jockeying to provide Bush with a rationale for pardoning Cheney’s former henchman L. “Scooter” Libby, who is about to go to prison for lying to investigators who were probing the Valerie Plame case. There’s good reason to pardon Libby. When you cut through all the legal issues, the fact remains that Libby is a fall guy, a stooge for Cheney, and ultimately a stooge for Bush. Bush should pardon Libby and accept the blame for the whole sorry mess. But since that is highly unlikely, we have a suggestion for those who oppose Cheney’s claim that he is not a member of the executive branch. They should argue that since Bush is clearly brain dead, Cheney has been the de facto head of that branch for years. In this instance, as in so many others during the past six-plus years, the best way to fight fantasy is with reality.

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