Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Bush and Cheney Communication Failure

Once again the Bush/Cheney administration has shown that they are rather poor communicators. The current flap is the result of the Vice President's remarks that his office is not part of the Executive Branch of the Government. Vice President Dick Cheney has made this claim, in part, because one of the Legislative Branch duties of the VP is to be President of the Senate. Therefore, argued the VP, he is in a unique group. While the Constitution defines the Office of the Vice President as part of the Executive Branch, VP Cheney asserts that because of his Senate duties he is also part of the Legislative Branch.

Now why does this make any difference?

In 1995 federal legislation was enacted requiring members of the Executive Branch to work with the National Archives to preserve classified documents. And in 2003, President Bush issued an Executive Order directing all Executive Branch offices to co-operate with the National Archives. For the last five years as VP, Dick Cheney and his office staff have not filed reports with the National Archives. Again, this was due to the VP's stating belief that the Office of the Vice President was exempted from this filing requirement.

OK so where does the Lack of Communication come in? This uproar could have been avoided by VP Cheney pointing out that he was covered and exempted by the 2003 Executive Order of President Bush. The President issues Executive Orders and he has the final say on what they mean. Instead of making a logical explanation that neither he nor his staff has filed the National Archive reports due to this Executive Order, VP Cheney (and also President Bush) have created much of the story.

Now that the Democrats have come to power, Illinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel has decided to play politics and defund the Office of the Vice President. Emanuel's reasoning is that if VP Cheney is not a member of the Executive Branch, no funding is necessary for the VP's Executive Branch Duties. Mr. Emanuel's idea is an amendment to a spending bill to accomplish this. Mr. Emanuel is House Democratic Caucus chairman, and he is playing Politics with the Media's help.In an on-line article about this flap at CBS News and written by John Nichols you will find these words.
Forget the fact that, since then-Congressman Cheney wrote the Iran-Contra investigation minority report defending the "right" of the Reagan administration to set its own foreign policy, he has been a consistent and aggressive advocate for increasing the authority of the executive branch.

Forget the fact that, since the Supreme Court handed power to the Buch(sic)-Cheney ticket in December 2000, Cheney has fashioned himself as the most powerful vice president in history.

Forget the fact that when Cheney has steadfastly refused to share classified information with the U.S. House and Senate.

Forget the fact that when Cheney actually makes his way to Capitol Hill it is famously to spew obscenities at Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy.
Now this is called an opinion piece, and anyone, even if they work for CBS News, has to right to express his or her opinion, but, what do these "over the top" quotes have to do with this story? And of course there is no bias in the following quote which ends this article.
"This amendment will ensure that the vice president's funding is consistent with his legal arguments," say Emanuel, a former aide to President Clinton who, like Cheney, has served in both the legislative and executive branches.

Come to think of it, no matter what branch of the government he happens to occupy, doesn't it make sense to defund Cheney? At this point in the Bush-Cheney interregnum, any move that disempowers Dick Cheney can only benefit the Republic.[Emphasis Mine]
Yup. Nothing biased in this report. Nothing more to see. Move along.

Check BeldarBlog for a complete Legal Commentary about VP Cheney's standing.

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