Until Cheney followed in his footsteps, Aaron Burr was the last US Vice President to shoot a man. Perhaps not coincidentally, Burr was also the last Veep to be tried for treason against his country. It may be time for Cheney to follow in those footsteps, as well.
Mr. Cheney (click above for a series of Times articles) has shown a continuing contempt for the law, whether domestic or international, up to and now including the United States Constitution. Over the years, we have assumed that his agenda -- war, oil, profiteering in both; secrecy, torture, leaking the names of covert operatives -- simply reflected the priorities of the Bush Administration.
But now we're beginning to wonder.
New assessments and revelations depict a Vice President whose office pursues its own policy goals independtly of, and sometimes at cross-purposes with, the President. (See A WaPo think piece here: http://blog.washingtonpost.com/cheney/chapters/chapter_1/). This has been thrown into sharp relief by the VP's claim that he is not a part of the Executive Branch, and therefore not subject to an Executive Order which would require him to turn certain documents over to the national archives. That's right: Cheney doesn't think Bush is sufficiently secretive or unaccountable. So he's disobeying a direct order from the President, and concocting a novel (and ludicrous) legal justification for doing so.
No doubt coached by his legal Rasputin, David Addington, Cheney claims that the Vice-President, as president pro tem of the Senate, is part of the Legislative Branch. He had previously argued, of course, that as part of the Executive he was not required to respond to Congressional inquiries regarding the lobbyists who helped him make energy policy. So to whom does Cheney think he is accountable -- and by whom does he imagine that his treasonous and illegal pursuit of personal power can be checked or balanced?
The answer, of course, is Nobody.
There was a time when we considered impeaching Bush to be a reasonable course of action. But no longer. Horrible as it is to contemplate, Bush is the only thing protecting America -- and the world -- from the madness of Dick Cheney.