Sunday, November 05, 2006



Much of DICK Cheney's time in office has been spent consolidating and growing the power of the executive branch. His former boss Richard Nixon once famously claimed that when a president does something that means that it's not illegal. Both men share a firmly held belief that those holding the ultimate executive positions are categorically above the law. These people need not play by the rules that govern the common men for, much like the divinely chosen kings that preceded them, presidents are the law. Or, more appropriately, as King Louis XIV so pompously claimed, "L'Etat, c'est moi" - I am the state.
With this in mind, I bring you Cheney's next in a seemingly endless stream of offenses against this beaten down nation. One of the carrots at the end of the electoral stick for Democrats to retake control of Congress is the power of the subpoena. With it, the United States can finally begin to heal from the egregious wounds inflicted upon it by a runaway presidency and its rubberstamp backers currently residing in both houses of Congress. But to DICK Cheney, subpoena power means nothing. From his appearance on This Week (transcript via Think Progress):

STEPHANOPOULOS: You’ve talked a lot about the consequences of the Democrats taking over congress in the last week. Nancy Pelosi said this: “we win, speaking of the democrat, we get subpoena power.” If you’re subpoenaed by the Democrats, would you go?

CHENEY: I have no idea that i’m going to be subpoenaed. Obviously, we’d sit down and look at it at the time. But probably not in the sense at that Vice President and President and constitutional officers don’t appear before the Congress.

STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s your view of executive power? You’re not going to go up and testify.

CHENEY: I think that’s been the tradition. I can’t remember the last time a President did appear before the Congress. Or a Vice President.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Gerald Ford, I think.

CHENEY: That’s right. But not on a subpoena, he did it on his own.

Once again, little things like the law don't apply to Cheney and Bush. The constitutionally directed mandate of the United States Congress to provide oversight of the executive branch is not applicable to this administration. This group of criminals is responsible to no one, at least according to their definition of executive authority. When the new congress is sworn in early next year, I look forward to seeing this worldview put to the test.

QUICK FOLLOW-UP (courtesy of Crooks and Liars):

Top Republicans Sunday warned President Bill Clinton that refusing to honor independent counsel Ken Starr's grand jury subpoena in the Monica Lewinsky case could have serious political consequences — including the possibility of impeachment.

"I think it would be disastrous. It is basically saying he is above the law, he doesn't have to comply with the law," said Senate Majority Whip Don Nickles of Oklahoma on NBC's "Meet The Press." "Everybody else in America has to comply with subpoenas (while) he's saying he wouldn't. … I don't think that would be sustainable."

"(Clinton) has an obligation as the highest official in this government, sworn to uphold the Constitution and the laws of this country. If he doesn't do that, I think public opinion would turn overwhelmingly against him," said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah on CBS's "Face The Nation."

Nothing like a little intellectual consistency mixed in with some good old rank hypocrisy, hmm? Oh, how times have changed!

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