Another Republican Who Speaks For Me

3 comments March 22nd, 2008at 04:05pm Posted by Eli

First Lincoln Chafee, now Mickey Edwards:

I do not blame Dick Cheney for George W. Bush’s transgressions; the president needs no prompting to wrap himself in the cloak of a modern-day king. Nor do I believe that the vice president so enthusiastically supports the Iraq war out of a loyalty to the oil industry that his former employer serves. By all accounts, Cheney’s belief in “the military option” and the principle of president-as-decider predates his affiliation with Halliburton.

What, then, is the straw that causes me to finally consign a man I served with in the House Republican leadership to the category of “those about whom we should be greatly concerned”?

It is Cheney’s all-too-revealing conversation this week with ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz. On Wednesday, reminded of the public’s disapproval of the war in Iraq, now five years old, the vice president shrugged off that fact (and thus, the people themselves) with a one-word answer: “So?”

“So,” Mr. Vice President?

Policy, Cheney went on to say, should not be tailored to fit fluctuations in the public attitudes. If there is one thing public attitudes have not been doing, however, it is fluctuating: Resistance to the Bush administration’s Iraq policy has been widespread, entrenched and consistent. Whether public opinion is right or wrong, it is not to be cavalierly dismissed.

(…) The decision to go to war… — to send young Americans off to battle, knowing that some will die — is the single most difficult choice any public official can be called upon to make. That is precisely why the nation’s Founders, aware of the deadly wars of Europe, deliberately withheld from the executive branch the power to engage in war unless such action was expressly approved by the people themselves, through their representatives in Congress.

Cheney told Raddatz that American war policy should not be affected by the views of the people. But that is precisely whose views should matter: It is the people who should decide whether the nation shall go to war. That is not a radical, or liberal, or unpatriotic idea. It is the very heart of America’s constitutional system.

In Europe, before America’s founding, there were rulers and their subjects. The Founders decided that in the United States there would be not subjects but citizens. Rulers tell their subjects what to do, but citizens tell their government what to do.

If Dick Cheney believes, as he obviously does, that the war in Iraq is vital to American interests, it is his job, and that of President Bush, to make the case with sufficient proof to win the necessary public support.

That is the difference between a strong president (one who leads) and a strong presidency (one in which ultimate power resides in the hands of a single person). Bush is officially America’s “head of state,” but he is not the head of government; he is the head of one branch of our government, and it’s not the branch that decides on war and peace.

When the vice president dismisses public opposition to war with a simple “So?” he violates the single most important element in the American system of government: Here, the people rule.

Amen to that. Bush and Cheney have completely forgotten – or completely dismissed – the Constitution’s fundamental premise, which is that the president is not the king or the boss of all Americans, but rather the other way ’round. And look at how well that’s worked out for us.

(h/t dakine)

Entry Filed under: Bush,Cheney,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Iraq,Politics,Polls,Republicans,War


  • 1. Cujo359  |  March 22nd, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    One of my objections to the Iraq War at its outset was that I didn’t think the American public would support the war if they knew that there were no WMD and no AQ in Iraq. That prediction, of course, has been borne out.

    The reason I thought it was important was that I’ve never seen a successful effort in a major war that wasn’t supported by the American people. In the end Vietnam wasn’t, nor were some of our earlier foreign adventures. Big wars require sacrifice of both people and money. A nation foolish enough to try is bound to fail if it cannot achieve its aims quickly.

    That Cheney dismisses this so readily shows not only how clueless he is about the subject, but also shows why he and Bush were foolish enough to start the war in the first place.

  • 2. Eli  |  March 22nd, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    They’re both very inept con men who never really thought through what would happen after the con was exposed.

    On the other hand, they probably figured that by the time everyone figured it out, they’d both be untouchable, and it looks like they were right.

    Kinda sucks for all their accomplices, though – they still have to worry about getting elected. About 30 of them have decided not to even try this year.

  • 3. woody  |  March 23rd, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Dick Cheney needs to be hung up by his two-foor-long schlong, and then get batted around like a fuuking pinata…

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