Under fire for his office’s handling of classified documents, Vice President Dick Cheney has asserted that he’s not part of the executive branch of the US government. No, really.
He said this in response to criticism of his failure to provide annual reports and allow occasional access by National Archives officials to those documents, in compliance with a 1995 executive order (re-signed by Bush in 2003).
Cheney is the guy, by the way, who continually destroys his visitor logs and refuses to divulge exactly who’s on his staff. He’s also the guy who crafted US energy policy with his oil baron friends in a closed-door session shortly after taking office. Notably, no environmental group or alternative fuel advocates were included. Just Cheney’s corporate benefactors, the ones who are now charging record-high gas prices while posting record-high profits.
When some tried to gain access to information from that meeting, Cheney fought the request all the way to the Supreme Court; hunting buddy Antonin Scalia then saw to it that Cheney would never have to reveal details of the meeting. (Scalia refused to recuse himself from the case, saying that there was no conflict of interest in him ruling on a friend's case!?)
But, back to now, and Cheney’s outrageous claim that has stunned constitutional scholars. You don’t have to be a constitutional scholar to understand the makeup of the US government: executive (president and VP), judicial (judges, attorneys, the courts, etc.) and legislative (Congress). I learned it in grade school.
Cheney may soon want to rethink his position on his position within the government: In response to his claim, Democrats are seeking to cut off his paycheck, which comes out of executive funds. So, which is it, Mr. Vice President? Are you or aren’t you part of that branch? I love it.
Not to be outdone, the president had his people quickly assert that he, too, was exempt from rules long accepted as applicable to the executive branch (he’s clearly a part of the executive and has not contested that… yet).
According to a White House spokesperson, “…although (the 2003 executive order) doesn't specifically say so, (it) was not meant to apply to the vice president's office or the president's office.” Well, if it ain’t in the contract, buddy, it just ain’t. That’s quite a detail to have left out of the re-signing of the executive order, wasn’t it? How come no one ever told us of these exemptions before now?
So, if half of the executive branch is not really the executive branch and the other half is, but is not to be bound by its rules, who/where/what exactly is the executive branch?
With these brazen statements, hopefully the power grab of this burgeoning dictatorship is becoming apparent even to the president's and veep’s longtime supporters. Whatever your political affiliations, be afraid of leaders who flout every rule and work under such comprehensive secrecy; they're “up to something,” and are not to be trusted.