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For want of a bucket

The office of the Vice-President is an odd thing. It's sometimes seen as an afterthought, one that the Founding Fathers didn't give much attention to. Originally, it was given to the candidate who placed second for president (a very poor notion that was quickly rectified -- can one imagine how things would have been the last few years with Vice-President Gore and Vice-President Kerry?), and the sole Constitutional power given exclusively to the Vice-President is to preside over the Senate -- a chore the veep often passes on, letting the Senate choose its own presiding officer. Other than that, he is pretty much expected to sit around and make sure the President is still alive and fit.

Presidents have often tried to find other duties for their veeps, to varying degrees of success. Kennedy used Lyndon Johnson's legislative prowess to handle relations with Congress (which also kept him out of their hair). Johnson used the office to geld one of his rivals.

President George W. Bush used the opportunity to choose his vice-president as a way of locking in a senior advisor into a very prominent position, yet one with few demands of its own. Dick Cheney has been a valued right hand to him, taking on additional responsibilities and duties as they have been offered over the years.

Which is why this story in today's Boston Globe struck me as "much ado about nothing."

The gist of the story seems to be that an aide to Cheney has been reviewing and annotating legislation passed by Congress before it reaches the president's desk for signing (Bush has yet to veto a single bill), offering thoughts and observations. The comments of Mr. David Addington have mostly revolved around the notion of presidential power, and how these bills might infringe or affect those powers.

As I pointed out, the link between the Vice President and Congress is deeply embedded in the Constitution -- the veep has absolutely no specific duties or powers related to the Executive Branch at all, but solely in the Legislative Branch. In theory, every single bill Congress passes has to go past him, as it must pass the Senate, which he presides over. So the idea that the Vice President has absolutely nothing to do with legislation is absurd on its face.

By extension, the idea that the Vice President should have a staff member whose duties are to review legislation, and then report to the President, strikes me as entirely logical and sensible. Nobody -- not even evil vice-presidents with historical ties to big oil and the demonic Halliburton, with a history of shooting lawyers -- can be an expert on anything. Hiring specialists and bringing in experts is the time-honored solution.

Finally, it's worthwhile that Mr. Addington has absolutely no formal power. President Bush can choose to accept or reject anything he says. Bush is the one who is ultimately accountable for his own actions.

John Nance Garner, one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's vice-presidents, once described the job as "an office not worth a bucket of warm spit" (legend has it that history has cleaned up Garner's word choice, as it is rumored that he referred to a different bodily fluid). Bush has apparently found a few good uses for that bucket, and this is just one more of them.

But that doesn't keep folks like the Boston Globe from finding new and fresh ways to be outraged.

Comments (21)

I for one have Bush fatique... (Below threshold)

I for one have Bush fatique. I am fatiqued at having a new scandal or story demeaning our President thrown at me everyday. MSN give it a rest! He won.

I voted for Bush but do not care for many of the things he has done or some of his policies. (Immigration reform) and would say so if polled. That would make me one of the 55 + percent that would be shown as diapproving of his performance. But having said that what they don't understand is I would vote for a dead dog on the republican side before I would vote for anyone that is a member of the Democratic party.

I have heard many times, "I don't vote for a party, I vote for the man". Well if you have noticed all the Dem's speak with one voice and it is not one that seems to uphold the spirit of our Nation or one that sounds like it has my best interest or protection at heart.

Any way I ramble, my point is these kind of stories are sickining and have turned me and millios or others away from traditional "journalism".

Sorry but can't seem to pos... (Below threshold)

Sorry but can't seem to post without a typo.


Dear brother UncleZeb,... (Below threshold)

Dear brother UncleZeb,

Bush won, because he tricked the innocent people of America. He tricked into making them belive that he is a good person who will protect them from evil. People need to learn that HE created the evil. He created people like Osama to make normal Americans live in fear.

It is a very bad thing to do. I am sure once you learn the truth you feel truly liberated and will contribute to our world and live in peace.
May Allah Bless You my dear friend.

He created people like O... (Below threshold)

He created people like Osama to make normal Americans live in fear.

MU, just FYI: tinfoil actually makes the mind0-control rays more effective. The evil conspirators put out the lie that wearing tinfoil hats would protect you.

I have a question for the G... (Below threshold)

I have a question for the Glob and the rest of the very liberal MSM. What did algore as Vice-President do, besides take expensive junkets and attend the funerals of defunct dictators?

It seems to me all that he did was brag about how he invented the internet and single-handily stop the criminal capitalists by negoitating the Kyoto Treaty, which his boss refused to sign and the Senate refused to ratify.

I think that the reporters and the editors at the Glob could use a refresher course in basic Jr High civics. Oh that is right, the Constitution does not apply to the MSM and the Democratic party

Don't forget, he also manag... (Below threshold)

Don't forget, he also managed to rent quite a bit of prime whitehouse real-estate.

As for this dick cheney thing: I love it. Specifically, I love how the media alternates between Rumsfeld/Bush/Cheney/Rove on a weekly basis.

MU, I enjoyed your sarcasm ... (Below threshold)

MU, I enjoyed your sarcasm and quick wit. Obviously anyone as smart as you could not be a Dem.

P.S. I actually had a liberal friend use that condecending logic on me. How arrogant.

MUnityI was not tr... (Below threshold)


I was not tricked into voting for anybody? and Bush did not create anybody for He is not GOD!
Bush created the Evil? how was this done? did He show up in the Garden of Eden and stick an apple in Eves mouth or what? You need to get a grip..

I love how the media alt... (Below threshold)

I love how the media alternates between Rumsfeld/Bush/Cheney/Rove on a weekly basis.

You forgot to add Tom Delay to the list of most hated Republicans

Tom delay is small fry. Aft... (Below threshold)

Tom delay is small fry. After all... he has yet to be hitlered to my knowledge.

To be fair to Al Gore (who ... (Below threshold)

To be fair to Al Gore (who I voted for in 2000 but would not vote for again based on his post-election meltdown), Clinton put him in charge of the federal government downsizing and streamlining, which I think was fairly successful.

Actually Muslim Unity I vot... (Below threshold)

Actually Muslim Unity I voted for Bush in the hopes that he would kill people like you in stupendous, awe inspiring numbers. Apparently not having done so is why he has fallen so low in the polls.

Clinton put him in charg... (Below threshold)

Clinton put him in charge of the federal government downsizing and streamlining, which I think was fairly successful.

Only if you consider downsizing the military a good idea.

Gore achieved practically every dollar of downsizing through cutting the military.

And at the same time manage... (Below threshold)

And at the same time managed to downsize some missle technology to China..

And for the record let Me b... (Below threshold)

And for the record let Me beat the MSM and say that any Hurricanes or other world disasters this year are all Bush's fault! there its official, the die is cast!

Cheneys contributions are minimal..Rove though hmmm?

Re: executive review of leg... (Below threshold)

Re: executive review of legislation. Is overdue.

There's been a steady erosion of executive powers since LBJ. One measure of congressional meddling is the sheer size of budgets in raw pages of paper (dictation to the executive). The DoD budget has grown from 10 pages in the 1960s to nearly 1,000 today. Ditto with the number of lawyers employed by the executive agencies to keep congress happy. As well as the number of semi-permanent Congressional staff that now treat these departments as their own fiefdoms. To say nothing of regulation and legal judgments that further limit the executive's prerogatives as defined in the Constitution.

One of the reasons for the failures that led to 9-11 is congressional meddling in the executive. We've turned what was a supposed independent branch of government, capable of exercising their own intellect and judgment in meeting challenges to the country into assembly line workers running lowest-common-denominator processes defined by congress.

Someone recommended cutting their pay and sending them home. With a three month regular session every other year. Can't happen too soon.

Else, if we-the-people really want a parliamentary system, we should amend the Constitution. Else we will continue to get the worst of both systems.

Amen to those words of wisd... (Below threshold)

Amen to those words of wisdom!

The current Veep carries on... (Below threshold)

The current Veep carries one similar quality to Cactus Jack, which is a tendency to speak his mind when he gets torqued about something, whether it be to the press or to members of the, er, Loyal Opposition.

Back in the 1930s, such conduct was thought to be colorful, quaint. In the 2000s, it is considered by the MSM to border on hate speech.

We need more of Cactus Jack and less of John F. Kerry* in the Democratic Party, if only to make them a suitable alternative to the GOP.

(*) John F. Kerry gallantly served in Vietnam, proving himself to be a gen-yoo-ine hero, all-round good guy and stud muffin extraordinaire. After all, the NYT says so, so it must be true. This knowledge is seared, seared, into my memory.

Wait a minute... you mean ... (Below threshold)

Wait a minute... you mean Cheney WASN'T selected to demonstrate the superior manliness of conservative men?

No, that was Rmsfeld. Who w... (Below threshold)

No, that was Rmsfeld. Who was SELECTED, NOT ELECTED!


IPEACH ABRAMHOFF!~... (Below threshold)







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