Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Saturday, March 22, 2008


Mickey Edwards, long time friend of Vice President Cheney, instructs Cheney on the Constitution, the separation of powers, and vice presidential arrogance:

Dick Cheney’s Error
It’s Government by the People
Mickey Edwards, 3/22/08
Washington Post

For at least six years, as I've become increasingly frustrated by the Bush administration's repeated betrayal of constitutional -- and conservative -- principles, I have defended Vice President Cheney, a man I've known for decades and with whom I served and made common cause in Congress. No longer.

I do not blame Dick Cheney for George W. Bush's transgressions; the president needs no prompting to wrap himself in the cloak of a modern-day king. Nor do I believe that the vice president so enthusiastically supports the Iraq war out of a loyalty to the oil industry that his former employer serves. By all accounts, Cheney's belief in "the military option" and the principle of president-as-decider predates his affiliation with Halliburton.

What, then, is the straw that causes me to finally consign a man I served with in the House Republican leadership to the category of "those about whom we should be greatly concerned"?

It is Cheney's all-too-revealing conversation this week with ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz. On Wednesday, reminded of the public's disapproval of the war in Iraq, now five years old, the vice president shrugged off that fact (and thus, the people themselves) with a one-word answer: "So?"

"So," Mr. Vice President?

Policy, Cheney went on to say, should not be tailored to fit fluctuations in the public attitudes. If there is one thing public attitudes have not been doing, however, it is fluctuating: Resistance to the Bush administration's Iraq policy has been widespread, entrenched and consistent. Whether public opinion is right or wrong, it is not to be cavalierly dismissed.


Cheney told Raddatz that American war policy should not be affected by the views of the people. But that is precisely whose views should matter: It is the people who should decide whether the nation shall go to war. That is not a radical, or liberal, or unpatriotic idea. It is the very heart of America's constitutional system.

In Europe, before America's founding, there were rulers and their subjects. The Founders decided that in the United States there would be not subjects but citizens. Rulers tell their subjects what to do, but citizens tell their government what to do.

If Dick Cheney believes, as he obviously does, that the war in Iraq is vital to American interests, it is his job, and that of President Bush, to make the case with sufficient proof to win the necessary public support.

That is the difference between a strong president (one who leads) and a strong presidency (one in which ultimate power resides in the hands of a single person). Bush is officially America's "head of state," but he is not the head of government; he is the head of one branch of our government, and it's not the branch that decides on war and peace.

When the vice president dismisses public opposition to war with a simple "So?" he violates the single most important element in the American system of government: Here, the people rule.

Mickey Edwards, a lecturer at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School, served in the House of Representatives from 1977 to 1993. He is the author of "Reclaiming Conservatism."



Obob said...

funny how we cherry pick our material. I'm using a call to arms for democrats to mock them.
gotta love politics

Patrick M said...

Two thoughts on this:

1. Cheney is right in that the administration should not change Iraq policy because the war is increasingly unpopular. It will continue to be unpopular until we are attacked again. In fact, I already have an idea for Monday's post, which will address this.

2. Cheney is wrong in the sense of dismissing public opinion. The Bush administration has too often failed in selling the concept of the war to America, leaving that to lesser people in the administration, talk radio, and bloggers. Something Bill Clinton was very effective at was selling ideas (good or bad) to the people. And Dick Cheney, for all his skill and knowledge, is really not good when it comes to selling things.

Shaw Kenawe said...

1) What is the Iraq policy?


It kept changing--from saving the US from imminent attack, to getting rid of a dictator, to establishing a democracy in the ME.

NOTE: There IS a democracy in the ME, it's called Israel. Also Turkey, and Lebanon, somewhat.

What sort of starry-eyed, knee-jerk thinking convinced the Bush Administration that 100,000 troops were going to do any or all of that?

I think a combination of hubris, ignorance of Middle East tribal hatreds, and plain old ordinary incompentence brought us to where we are today.

2) I think as an on-leave executive with Halliburton, Cheney was able to sell things quite well.

Multi-million dollar, no-bid contracts for Halliburton were plum prizes for that corporation to land.


Glad to hear from you again. I read your post and left you a comment.

Patrick M said...

1. The strategery has changed, but not because of public opinion. Right or wrong, (and I know what you think) they have kept at it.

2. You have to bring the Haliburton shit in again? Jusn when it appears you want to have a cogent discussion, the evil corporate thing rears its ugly head. And I know you'll respond with a long list of "facts" that show how Cheney is "enriching himself and his evil corporate buddies, so I'll stop an let you be predictable.

Shaw Kenawe said...

I know you'll respond with a long list of "facts" that show how Cheney is "enriching himself and his evil corporate buddies, so I'll stop an let you be predictable.

"Facts are stubborn things." --John Adams

By putting quotation marks around them, you believe that the mountain of evidence that is out in the public records about Halliburton and Cheney and war profiteering will somehow diminsh them.

It won't.

I understand why conservatives would like this scandal to go away, afterall, we liberals wanted the Lewinsky scandal to disappear as well.

The problem is that there are facts out in the public that support the allegations.

Just Google Halliburton+Cheney+no- bid contracts.

Or: Halliburton+FBI+no-bid contracts.

"The Army Corps of Engineers told Representative Henry Waxman that a Pentagon contract awarded without competition to Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) to fight oilwell fires is worth as much as $7 billion over two years. The Halliburton subsidiary has been authorized to take profits of up to $490 million."

I don't know if you studied WWII history, but when Harry Truman was a Senator, he headed up a committe to investigate corruption and war profiteering:

"When he heard rumors of such profiteering, Truman got into his Dodge and, during a Congressional recess, drove 30,000 miles paying unannounced visits to corporate offices and worksites. The Senate committee he chaired launched aggressive investigations into shady wartime business practices and found "waste, inefficiency, mismanagement and profiteering," according to Truman, who argued that such behavior was unpatriotic. Urged on by Truman and others in Congress, President Roosevelt supported broad increases in the corporate income tax, raised the excess-profits tax to 90 percent and charged the Office of War Mobilization with the task of eliminating illegal profits. Truman, who became a national hero for his fight against the profiteers, was tapped to be FDR's running mate in 1944."

It appears, under this Republican administration, this sort of despicable behavior is not looked upon as unAmerican.

Dick Cheney's association with the companies who profit in the billions $$$$ during war time is beyond scandalous. It is, in my and many other Americans' opinion, criminal.

Patrick M said...

One thing that John Adams and I have in common:

We both know exactly what we're talking about. And we're usually right.

But as you have studied it more than I have, I'll leave it to the Democrat Congress to see if there's wrongdoing. If there is, I'm sure they'll try to nail Cheney.

Until then, I'll tackle something more far-reaching than trying to defend Dick Cheney.

After all, give him a shotgun and he's good to go....

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