Dick Cheney’s “secured undisclosed bunker of his mind.”

It’s hard to be a loyal Republican these days.

When Vice President Dick Cheney refused to comply with an executive order regarding classification and declassification of government materials — asserting that his office “does not consider itself an entity within the executive branch” — even arch-conservative Instapundit criticized the argument as “politically idiotic and legally self-defeating.”

The Vice President really isn’t an Executive official, and isn’t part of the President’s administration the way that other officials are — for one thing, the VP can’t be fired by the President: As an independently elected officeholder, he can be removed only by Congress, via impeachment. (In various separation of powers cases, the Supreme Court has placed a lot of weight on this who-can-fire-you test).

[…] But here’s the thing: Whatever executive power a VP exercises is exercised because it’s delegated by the President, not because the VP has it already. So to the extent the President delegates actual power (as opposed to just taking recommendations for action) the VP is exercising executive authority delegated by the President, but unlike everyone else who does so he/she isn’t subject to removal from office by the President (though the President could always withdraw the delegation, of course). However — and here’s where the claim that Cheney is really a legislative official creates problems for the White House — it seems pretty clear that the President isn’t allowed to delegate executive power to a legislative official, as that would be a separation of powers violation. So to the extent that this is what’s going on, the “Cheney is a legislative official” argument is one that opens a big can of worms.

It certainly does. And Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) is striking back with the inevitable retort, introducing an appropriations amendment that would eliminate funding for Cheney’s office.

“The Vice President has a choice to make. If he believes his legal case, his office has no business being funded as part of the executive branch. […] However, if he demands executive branch funding he cannot ignore executive branch rules. At the very least, the Vice President should be consistent. This amendment will ensure that the Vice President’s funding is consistent with his legal arguments.”

While it is fun to ridicule Cheney for his “man-size” safe, his disappearing emails, and his penchant for spying on White House staffers — Fox News commentator Juan Williams described the VP’s machinations as “a game in order to keep Dick Cheney in, I guess, some sort of secured undisclosed bunker of his mind” — these latest revelations are also somewhat frightening. That Cheney would even attempt to argue that his office is legally exempt from both executive orders and congressional oversight is an offense to the Constitution, and a shocking example of just how fragile our democracy can be in the hands of man who does not respect our democratic institutions.


  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I’ve been following this story the last few days — and shaking my head. Who is Cheney getting legal advice from? Gonzo’s office? Sounds like it!

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Our democracy is no more (or less) fragile than the willingness (or lack thereof) to enforce the Constitution. There’s a violation of Cheney’s oath of office lurking somewhere in this madness; the Constitution can be enforced anytime Republicans in Congress are willing to uphold THEIR oaths of office. We’re waiting …

  3. 3


    If Mr. Chaney is not part of the Executive office then it seems to me they are illegally spending my tax dollars.

    How about a tax payer suit demanidng a return of his salary? Or is that undisclosed too?

  4. 4


    Odd that the major candidates have not taken this Chaney issue on. A call for impeacheme4nt of the vice Penis might put Edwards or Eichardson over the top! It could go far to convince voters that any of the Publicans are serious.

  5. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The wording of the Constitution is a bit obtuse, but its meaning is not. Article I, titled “The Legislative Branch,” expressly creates a legislative branch of government; Article II, titled “The Presidency,” does not create an “executive branch” in any express terms but merely describes the manner of election and removal, and the powers of, the president and vice president.

    Article I empowers the vice president to preside over the Senate, but does not give him a legislative vote except to break ties. Article II designates him as stand-in for the president if the latter dies, becomes incapacitated, or leaves office, but does not otherwise give him any powers or duties.

    This vagueness is a thin basis to assert the vice president is a fourth branch of government. (But if it is, it’s not a co-equal branch.) Clearly, the office is PART OF THE PRESIDENCY. The fact the vice president is not a voting member of the Senate should remove any trace of ambiguity as to which branch of government the office is in.

    Every other vice president, until now, has understood without difficulty which part of government his office is in. Of all the vice presidents in history, only Dick Cheney has fucked this up.

  6. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    A pertinent question for Republicans at this point is, if Bush and Cheney can disregard the Constitution, why can’t Bill Clinton lie to a grand jury about a private sexual affair? We either have the rule of law, or we don’t.

  7. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Since Republicans in Congress are unwilling to impeach a Republican president, vice president, or attorney general who have repeatedly and persistently violated the Constitution and federal laws, why should Democrats in Congress ever permit the impeachment of any Democratic president, vice president, or cabinet member — for any reason? If partisan loyalty is going to be the only criterion by which Congress enforces (or fails to enforce) the Constitution, then it seems to me that when Democrats get back in power, they should have a completely free hand to do whatever they want to.

    What goes around, comes around, righty assholes.

  8. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Let’s confiscate their property, the Constitution be damned! They won’t be able to do anything about it. After all, they stole it from the working class to begin with.

  9. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Every single one of the rightwing Republican governments since World War II — Nixon, Reagan, and Bush — has run a lawless administration that overstepped and abused its authority and violated the Constitution. Anyone see a pattern here? Rightwing Republicans can’t be trusted with power. Hell, they can’t even be trusted outdoors except on a leash! They all need to be impounded in a kennel.

  10. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    So here we have the Vice President of the United States making a legal argument the average small-claims court judge would roll his eyes at …

  11. 14

    klake spews:

    Roger Rabbit says:

    Our democracy is no more (or less) fragile than the willingness (or lack thereof) to enforce the Constitution. There’s a violation of Cheney’s oath of office lurking somewhere in this madness; the Constitution can be enforced anytime Republicans in Congress are willing to uphold THEIR oaths of office. We’re waiting …

    Hey Bunny Butt I heard that the Socialist Democrats run this country, why are they no doing their job?

  12. 15

    RightEqualsStupid spews:

    The American people will put Dickless Cheney where he belongs soon – and his ilk will follow. Once we control the White House AND the Congress, there will be NOTHING to stop us from just locking these traitors up and throwing away the key.

  13. 17

    YOS LIB BRO spews:

    Who is Cheney getting legal advice from?



  14. 18


    Now not only is Dick claiming he in not part of the Executive Branch, but President Bush is now claiming he doesn’t fall under the same executive order in question. His argument is that the executive order was not meant to oversee his actions.

    I’m sure that this part is true. He never intended to have his actions overlooked, but that is not what the executive order stated. Just goes to show that if the President’s own office can’t proof read and explain what an executive order means, then the Executive Office is no longer part of the Executive Branch.

  15. 20

    Paddy Mac spews:

    “If the President does it, then it’s not illegal.” — Dick Nixon

    “If the Vice-President does it, then it’s not part of the Executive Branch.” — Dick Cheney

    If this keeps up, we may have the first-ever Administration whose leaders flee into exile upon leaving office.

  16. 21

    YOS LIB BRO spews:

    It’s hard to be a loyal Republican these days.





  17. 22

    Broadway Joe spews:

    That’s what I’ve been telling you all for a while now. I guess this means that it looks like Dumbya’s rancherita in Paraguay will be getting an extra resident or two……

  18. 23

    Jerry spews:

    So … is Brad Owen also NOT a part of the Executive Branch of Washington state government ?

  19. 24

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @14 “Hey Bunny Butt I heard that the Socialist Democrats run this country, why are they no doing their job?”

    You never fail to disappoint, klake. Just because Gore was elected president doesn’t mean he’s running the country. We had a coup back in 2000, in case you haven’t heard.

  20. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @15 “The American people will put Dickless Cheney where he belongs soon – and his ilk will follow. Once we control the White House AND the Congress, there will be NOTHING to stop us from just locking these traitors up and throwing away the key.”

    Using precedents established by Bush & Cheney, we don’t even need to give them a trial or get a conviction.

  21. 28

    Harry Tuttle spews:

    14. Klakker, Klakker, Klakker

    This is an agency of the executive branch, attempting to carry out an order from the president. It is your team punching each other out in the huddle.

    Not only can’t they run a war, they can’t wipe their butts, either.

  22. 31


    SeattleJew reports: Guantanamo for the Bushies?

    (Havana, Cuba May 1, 2009 AirAmerica Press Service)

    Presidents Obama and castro signed the final text of the Guantanamo Treaty today, putting and end to three wars … the Spanish American War, the Cold War, and Bay of Pigs. This first ever treaty to be negotiated by Major league baseball, has five key points:

    1. The trade embargo is officially ended.

    2. Impounded funds of each nation are freed up and impounded goods, inclusding drugs and cigars will be replaces with fresh product before shipping to their original recipients.

    3. Cuba grants US oild companies exclusive exploration rights to offshore oil exploration for 15 years.

    4. Each nation recognizes the territorial integrity of the other. To this account the US lease on Guantanamo ens in June 2009. All prisoners, toher then members of the Bush Junta. will be freed or transfered to other countries. memebrs of the Junta will remain under supervision of the UN special force.

    5. The Havano Banditoes will join MLB and will use stadiums in both Miami and Havana as home stadiums.

  23. 32

    Broadway Joe spews:

    Havana Banditos? Nah…..Havana Reds would work, but that name’s already taken. How ’bout Revolucion de Havana?

  24. 33

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    If Cheney isn’t a member of the executive branch, then he shouldn’t be able to claim executive privilege.

  25. 34

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Newsweek: Gonzales Implicated in Cheney Stonewalling

    Newsweek reports that Alberto Gonzales has failed for more than 5 months to respond to a request for an official ruling on Cheney’s refusal to comply with the executive order — prompting a new congressional investigation of Gonzo’s office. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19...../newsweek/

  26. 36

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @35 I’m not paid by anyone. My only motivation is patriotism and love of my country.

  27. 37

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @35 Hey — are you a newbie?! In case you’re new here, let me acquaint you with the ad hoc posting rules for this blog:

    1. This is a liberal blog.
    2. Anyone can post here.
    3. There is no censorship.
    4. As liberals, our mission is to verbally kick the living shit out of unpatriotic, America-hating, troop-despising, pigfucking fascist trolls.
    5. No mercy for wingnuts.
    6. Our terms are unconditional surrender; there will be trials.
    7. klake is a nazi.

    Any questions?

  28. 39

    Dan Rather spews:

    George says:

    Roger Rabbit. Who’s pay-roll are you on????????????

    06/24/2007 at 5:34 pm

    Roger Rabbit says:

    @35 I’m not paid by anyone. My only motivation is patriotism and love of my country.

    06/24/2007 at 5:47 pm
    Don’t let him fool ya. Rabbit was one of those governmental leech lawyers. He has a vested interest in the government extorting money from taxpayers.

  29. 40

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @39 Yes, I’m a lawyer, and I worked for the government. My job was to enforce the laws, and I worked hard at it. You got a problem with my being paid for that work?

  30. 41

    Yer Killin Me spews:

    Doofus has a problem all right. I don’t know what his problem is, but I’ll bet it’s hard to pronounce.

  31. 45

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The Washington Post began a 4-part series on Dick Cheney today.

    “Sunday: Part 1 Working in the Background

    A master of bureaucracy and detail, Cheney exerts most of his influence out of public view.

    Monday: Part 2 Wars and Interrogations

    Convinced that the ‘war on terror’ required ‘robust interrogations’ of captured suspects, Dick Cheney pressed the Bush administration to carve out exceptions to the Geneva Conventions.

    Tuesday: Part 3 Dominating Budget Decisions

    Working behind the scenes, Dick Cheney has made himself the dominant voice on tax and spending policy, outmaneuvering rivals for the president’s ear.

    Wednesday: Part 4 Environmental Policy

    Dick Cheney steered some of the Bush administration’s most important environmental decisions — easing air pollution controls, opening public parks to snowmobiles and diverting river water from threatened salmon.”


  32. 48

    Yer Killin Me spews:


    Close, but not quite. It’s the Latin term for recto-cranial inversion, i.e. having one’s head up one’s ass.

  33. 51


    A Challenge to Thehim

    The poor guy who followed lee on KIRO was utterly nonplussed at Lee’s claim to be a libertarian. I actully agree … my ancestor was the GREAT libertarian and Lee is no Thom Jeff.

    Someone needs to give Lee a dictionary so he can look up the word “libertarian.” On epace to startg may be with the defintion used by the Libertarian Party of the US:

    What is a Libertarian?

    Let’s start with Webster’s definition:

    Libertarian: A person who upholds the principles of individual liberty especially of thought and action. Capitalized: a member of a political party advocating libertarian principles.

    Libertarians believe in, and pursue, personal freedom while maintaining personal responsibility. The Libertarian Party itself serves a much larger pro-liberty community with the specific mission of electing Libertarians to public office.

    Libertarians strongly oppose any government interfering in their personal, family and business decisions. Essentially, we believe all Americans should be free to live their lives and pursue their interests as they see fit as long as they do no harm to another.

    In a nutshell, we are advocates for a smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom.”

    Seems to me that my great ancestor was a true liberaltarian, even to the point of feelign the governement should not nterfere with his freedom to own slaves. Ol’ Massr Thomas also opposed the formation of large corporations and surely would not have agreed with Lee on single payer medicine.

    I guess modern liberalstarians have very different ideas about slavery and Federal taxes and big corporations.

    Good news, there is a test: Librtarian Test

    My results: 18 this makes me a “a soft-core libertarian. With effort, I may harden and become pure.”

    Lee .. ready to take the challenge?

  34. 52

    Broadway Joe spews:

    Honestly, that’s a stupid test. I figured that when I answered only 8 of 64 questions ‘yes’, I wasn’t going to score too highly (11). The way things look to me, and I didn’t need this test to shape my opinion, ‘libertarian’ is just another word for ‘anarchist’.

  35. 53

    RightEqualsStupid spews:

    When Dickless Cheney had his chance to fight for America’s freedoms, he asked for and received six different free – passes – he wanted to defer his service because he had “other priorities.” Yeah, like hiding under his mother’s skirt while real men went to fight in his place. Not only is he a traitor, he’s a coward.

  36. 54

    Ron Holland spews:

    Cheney acts as if he is above the law.

    Dick Cheney is the power behind the throne. Of course, he and Bush believe they are exempt from Presidential Executive Orders.

    Still, Presidential Executive Orders during the War on Terror can be used by the executive branch to further destroy the Constitution and our liberties.

    Read the Final Presidential Executive Order from the online book, “The Swiss Preserve Solution” at http:// http://www.swissconfederationi.....erve14.htm

  37. 55

    Thomas H Jefferson spews:

    Child Sex Scandal in Second Life

    Anonymous participants of second life are being investigated by German prosecutors for virtual child sex and distributing child pornography.

    Due to the difficulty of verifying players age, the so-called “age-play” has encouraged adult players, to dress up as children (buy skins) and offer sex for money.

    “We are trying to find out the identity of this person,” said Peter Vogt chief prosecutor against child pornography. In Germany, virtual child pornography is punishable by up to five years in prison. In the US it is not considered a crime.

    Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk

  38. 56

    Puddybud Who Left The Reservation spews:

    So Pellethead, If Dan Rather has erectile dysfunction, you must have Koro disease like Stupidman and Cluelessman?