(Cross-posted at Daily Kos, my blog and My Left Wing.)
My last post was generally about the ratcheting-up of defensive rhetoric by the President in two recently-delivered speeches (on Veteran’s Day and on a stopover in Alaska). Vice President Dick Cheney’s speech last night, then, wasn’t shocking given the new “strategy” to defend the war in Iraq. The “strategy” seems to be:
- Deny and decry the allegation of misleading America into war.
- Claim that a Congressional investigation cleared the Administration of manipulating intelligence – be sure not to mention that the investigation itself was about whether or not the Administration pressured intelligence analysts and agents to deliver specific content – the current allegations are about whether that intelligence was misused.
- Attack specifically the Democrats who voted for the Iraq war authorization.
Now that that recap is out of the way, I caught something a bit curious in Cheney’s remarks at the Frontiers of Freedom Institute 2005 Ronald Reagan Gala last night. Read on.
First, if you’re interested, the full text of the speech can be found here. Here’s the comment that caught my eye:
But in the last several weeks we have seen a wild departure from that tradition [of truthfulness and good faith]. And the suggestion that’s been made by some U.S. senators that the President of the United States or any member of this administration purposely misled the American people on pre-war intelligence is one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city.
My emphasis added. Now – a little over a week ago I commented in this diary on Daily Kos. My comment was this:
Well, in the downstream of that exchange (and it was WAY heated – CNN and MSNBC covered it extensively) questions were repeatedly asked and not answered as to whether or not the Vice President’s office is a part of the Administration.
Is there any precedent for this?
I was referencing a White House press briefing (the subject of the diary). The response to that comment came from Federalist X and was, in part, as follows:
the VP is actually NOT a member of the executive office. look at the constitution. he’s an officer of the senate. his constitutional power, to preside over the senate, is found ONLY in the article I (i.e., the legislature).
presidents have moved around this by granting officer commissions to the VPs staff, eg. libby was an officer of the executive branch AND the VP’s office. but the VP’s office, constitutionally at least, is a part of the LEGISLATURE.
Do you see where I’m going with this? Cheney denies that anyone in the Administration misled the American people. Cheney, Constitutionally speaking, is not a member of the Administration.
Bush commented on Cheney’s speech in this article in The Washington Post:
“I agree with the vice president,” Bush said Thursday in South Korea when asked about Cheney’s remarks. “I think people ought to be allowed to ask questions. It is irresponsible to say that I deliberately misled the American people.
“What bothers me is when people are irresponsibly using their positions and playing politics,” Bush added. “That’s exactly what is taking place in America.”
My emphasis added. It’s entirely possible that, on a technicality, the President is telling the truth and the Vice President is telling the truth while giving himself legal cover. The fact that it could have been the Vice President misleading America, in turn, gives the Administration cover.
I suppose it depends on what the meaning of the word “IS” is, though.