Talking with reporters on Air Force Two as he flew from Pakistan to Oman, Mr. Cheney spoke in far broader terms about the effort to expand the powers of the executive than President Bush did on Monday during an hourlong news conference.
"I believe in a strong, robust executive authority, and I think that the world we live in demands it," said Mr. Cheney, who was in many ways the intellectual instigator of the rapid expansion of presidential authority as soon as Mr. Bush took office.
Imagine that. Mister Bush is a baby step away from being a supreme dictator, and Mister Cheney wants to expand his authority.
Mr. Cheney directly linked the effort to bolster the president's wartime authority to the nation's safety since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
"You know," he said, "it's not an accident that we haven't been hit in four years."
No, it's not an accident. We haven't been hit in four years because al Qaeda leadership knows that to hit us would be the worst possible strategic mistake it could make. Those guys are a lot smarter than to do something that would get America all riled up and lined up behind Mister Bush again.
After Americans watched the Homeland Security apparatus fail miserably during Katrina, does Cheney honestly expect us to believe that Mister Bush is the one who's keeping us safe?
After expressing respect for the powers of Congress, Mr. Cheney told reporters, "But I do believe that especially in the day and age we live in, the nature of the threats we face, the president of the United States needs to have his constitutional powers unimpaired, if you will, in terms of the conduct of national security policy."
Needs to have his constitutional powers unimpaired. Do you think Cheney's ever read the Constitution? Here's what article II section 2 cites as the President's constitutional powers:
The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.
He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.
The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.
That's all, folks. Any other claims of "constitutional presidential powers" are just that: claims.
"Watergate and a lot of the things around Watergate and Vietnam both during the 70's served, I think, to erode the authority I think the president needs to be effective, especially in the national security area," Mr. Cheney said.
Watergate and Vietnam served to illustrate why we needed to erode the President's authority--erode it back to what the Constitution allows.