In all of the mockery, post debate punditry and mocking, there is a very important point that I haven’t seen explored nearly as much as it should – and that is the issue of the unitary executive theory that the Bush/Cheney administration has pushed beyond all levels of reality and legality.
The other night in the debate, Palin basically agreed with the excessive power of the Vice President’s office, and expressed support for continuing these policies under a McCain administration.
Why is this important, other than the basic premise of an Executive Branch running wild and running roughshod over the Legislative Branch – including all of the Executive Orders issued by Bush, the secrecy asserted by the current administration, the signing statements, the “I’ll hold my breath unless I get whatever I want” mentality? Well, we know that Palin just so happens to be under investigation for abusing her power as Governor of Alaska, and has already set a precedent for this dangerous behavior.
Not withstanding the fact that Cheney has a lower favorability rating than the devil himself, it is a dangerous view of the Vice President’s office and the view of how the Legislative Branch is supposed to balance out the Executive Branch (except for the past eight years, of course). Yet, Palin said the following last night (emphasis mine):
IFILL: Governor, you mentioned a moment ago the constitution might give the vice president more power than it has in the past. Do you believe as Vice President Cheney does, that the Executive Branch does not hold complete sway over the office of the vice presidency, that it it is also a member of the Legislative Branch?
PALIN: Well, our founding fathers were very wise there in allowing through the Constitution much flexibility there in the office of the vice president. And we will do what is best for the American people in tapping into that position and ushering in an agenda that is supportive and cooperative with the president’s agenda in that position. Yeah, so I do agree with him that we have a lot of flexibility in there, and we’ll do what we have to do to administer very appropriately the plans that are needed for this nation. And it is my executive experience that is partly to be attributed to my pick as V.P. with McCain, not only as a governor, but earlier on as a mayor, as an oil and gas regulator, as a business owner. It is those years of experience on an executive level that will be put to good use in the White House also.
To make matters worse, she draws on her
abusing power “experience” as Governor to support her position.
Biden, in contrast, indicated that Cheney is the most dangerous Vice President in history, and being one who comes from the Legislative Branch, knows how much meddling and strongarming this current Executive Branch did when it came to neutering the Legislative Branch and process.
We may make fun of Palin – and sometimes it is for very good reason. However, she has had a taste of power; whether it be as Mayor or as Governor, even for a relatively short period of time. And she made it perfectly clear last night what she would intend to do with the power entrusted to the Vice President if McCain was to be elected – or even moreso if she were to become President.
This country couldn’t afford that with a Vice President like Cheney, who at least thought about and planned his actions (no matter how illegal or misguided or dangerous). With Palin, who seems to take pride in being clueless about pesky facts and rules and laws, it would be just as dangerous, if not more so.
Last night, Sarah Palin not only agreed with the unitary executive theory, but all but told the nation that she would wholeheartedly continue it if she were to be the Vice President.
For that, she should be called “McCain’s Cheney”. All of the power and vindictiveness, but with less foresight.