Nancy's Purse
By: Mark W Adams

The first time I heard this idea was driving around town, listening to the Randi Rhodes show. A caller suggested that we defund the Office of Vice President, throw the old man out of the Naval Observatory and shut down his bullying ways.

It gave me a smile, one of those bits of schadenfreude that you get thinking about something deliciously too good to ever happen in real life.

Then real life called, and Congressman Rahm Emanuel sent this little idea out to people like ... Atrios:

Washington, D.C. House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel
issued the following statement regarding his amendment to cut funding
for the Office of the Vice President from the bill that funds the
executive branch. The legislation -- the Financial Services and General
Government Appropriations bill -- will be considered on the floor of
the House of Representatives next week.

"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. I have
worked closely with my colleagues on this amendment and will continue
to pursue this measure in the coming days."
(H.T.: Nick)

Now I'm sure I subconsciously dismissed the broohaha surrounding the absurd notion that Cheney's office is somehow an entity unto itself, a part of the legislative branch when convenient -- thus exempt from executive orders regulating all agencies within the executive branch, and the executive when it fits within his latest attempt to thumb his nose at our system of limited government with inconvenient notions like due process, oversight, checks and balances and the rule of law. I know I did because the very idea is legally absurd, and more importantly would undermine his entire argument before the Supreme Court which allowed him to keep his Energy Task Force shrouded in mystery -- a decision in which I allowed my legal training to overcome my usual partisanship.
He [Justice Scallia] made the point (which I agree with) that an executive department official should be free to get "informal" advice from anyone without that private individual being subject to a discovery request from the Sierra Club a year or so later.

More to the point, I thought it was wrong for the trial court to let Sierra win the case (get their smoking gun) without winning on the merits. The discovery order makes an end run around executive privilege, FACA and FOIA.

If this is allowed, the government would be forced to either invoke a privilege or national security --in court--in defense to any yahoo who has a grudge. The result would be that the experts out in the private sector would never be consulted again and only bureaucrats operating in a vacuum would decide what's best for us. Nightmare!
Clearly Scalia based his ruling (a foregone conclusion designed to protect his hunting buddy) on the notion that Cheney is a member of the executive branch. Of course, that was before Dick was exposed as a known lawyer hunter.

It's amusing to speculate what would happen when his staff is stripped of their security clearance. But that's really where this ends, our amusement and fodder for weekend blogging.

But no matter how ludicrous, transparently ridiculous and bizarre this little spin war has become, Cheney does whateverthehell Cheney wants to do.

Impeach the bastard and quit playing games. I don't find the fact that this horrible human is still running this country the least bit funny any more. Rahm can ask Nancy Pelosi to use the power of the purse to chastise the Vice President all he wants, but if they won't use it to save the lives of our men and women fighting in Iraq, why bother with this nonsense.

UPDATE: The Rude One lists Six Other Things Cheney's office is.

1 Comment:

G. A. Roach said...

It does give one that "warm fuzzy" feeling to think about it. It is truely sad that we gave Congress a mandate to stand up against this Administration and they can't seem to find the cajones to get the job done.