Friday, June 29, 2007

On The Fourth Branch

That would be Dick Cheney. It's now acceptable to notice how he has amassed power out of all proportion to the actual role of the Vice President and how he uses secrecy and the refusal to acknowledge laws to go on holding it. Acceptable, because David Broder wrote a column on the topic:

Cheney, as described in a breathtakingly detailed series in The Post this week by reporters Barton Gellman and Jo Becker, is something else.

What they discovered, in a year of work that reveals more about the inner workings of this White House than any previous reporting, is a vice president who used the broad authority given him by a complaisant chief executive to bend the decision-making process to his own ends and purposes, often overriding Cabinet officers and other executive branch officials along the way.

Cheney used his years of experience, as a former White House chief of staff, as the secretary of defense and as the House Republican whip -- and all the savvy that moved him into those positions -- to amass power and use it in the Bush administration. He was more than a match for the newcomers to the White House, and he outfoxed even the veterans of past administrations when it came to the bureaucratic wars.

As Josh Marshall notes, most of this is not new for those who read progressive and liberal blogs. It is the mainstream media which has been finally given the green light to go after Cheney. It could be too late, of course.

Why did it take so long for Cheney to be properly criticized? Opinions vary (as they say), but my guess is that fear and proximity to the government have their role to play. Also that "he-said-she-said" schtick which means that Cheney could control the debate in many venues.

By the way, read the series Broder mentions. It's good reporting.