The best argument for wishing Dubya a long and happy life is Dick Cheney. Even the staid old New York Times seems to have realised what a menace the man is — as shown by an extraordinary editorial entitled “Mr. Cheney’s Imperial Presidency”. Excerpt:
Virtually from the time he chose himself to be Mr. Bush’s running mate in 2000, Dick Cheney has spearheaded an extraordinary expansion of the powers of the presidency – from writing energy policy behind closed doors with oil executives to abrogating longstanding treaties and using the 9/11 attacks as a pretext to invade Iraq, scrap the Geneva Conventions and spy on American citizens.
It was a chance Mr. Cheney seems to have been dreaming about for decades. Most Americans looked at wrenching events like the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal and the Iran-contra debacle and worried that the presidency had become too powerful, secretive and dismissive. Mr. Cheney looked at the same events and fretted that the presidency was not powerful enough, and too vulnerable to inspection and calls for accountability.
The president “needs to have his constitutional powers unimpaired, if you will, in terms of the conduct of national security policy,” Mr. Cheney said this week as he tried to stifle the outcry over a domestic spying program that Mr. Bush authorized after the 9/11 attacks.
Before 9/11, Mr. Cheney was trying to undermine the institutional and legal structure of multilateral foreign policy: he championed the abrogation of the Antiballistic Missile Treaty with Moscow in order to build an antimissile shield that doesn’t work but makes military contractors rich. Early in his tenure, Mr. Cheney, who quit as chief executive of Halliburton to run with Mr. Bush in 2000, gathered his energy industry cronies at secret meetings in Washington to rewrite energy policy to their specifications. Mr. Cheney offered the usual excuses about the need to get candid advice on important matters, and the courts, sadly, bought it. But the task force was not an exercise in diverse views. Mr. Cheney gathered people who agreed with him, and allowed them to write national policy for an industry in which he had recently amassed a fortune.
So those who think Dubya is evil/stupid/incompetent might console themselves with the thought: at least Dick Cheney isn’t president.