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Charlie Savage: The Cheney Project

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Rose Siding Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-10-07 08:24 PM
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Charlie Savage: The Cheney Project
The Globe's Savage, who shed so much light on Bush's underreported signing statements, begins his book tour with this post at a TPM sight. He'll also be writing at Salon. Interesting stuff.....

The Cheney Project

I kept digging more and learned that this agenda of concentrating more unchecked power in the White House was primarily coming out of Vice President Cheneys office -- and, on a day to day level, that it was the handiwork of Cheneys longtime aide David Addington. I also learned that it long predated 9/11, even though the war on terrorism was the justification most often offered for the push. Following the vice president's own advice to reporters interested in the warrantless wiretapping program, I dug up a copy of Cheney's old 1987 Iran-Contra report, blew the dust from its cover, and discovered that he had articulated a vision of nearly limitless commander-in-chief power two decades earlier.

The full sweep and implications of the administrations project came into sharp focus for me. Like many reporters, I had been focused in on a close-up of one or two controversies, but had been missing the broader context. Now, the camera had zoomed way out to bring the full panorama into view. Suddenly, what the Bush administration had been doing across a huge range of issues made much more sense not just the 9/11-related controversies, but Cheneys fight to keep his energy task force papers a secret, the attacks on open-government laws such as FOIA and the Presidential Records Act, the use of executive orders instead of legislation to push the faith-based initiative, the decision to pull out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty without consulting the Senate, the choices for Supreme Court nominations, unprecedented efforts to impose greater White House control over Justice Department lawyers and other executive branch bureaucrats, and many other things. These disparate controversies were all connected. The administration, from its very beginning, had set out to set precedents and take actions that would permanently expand presidential power for the long-term, even when such tactics brought them extra short-term difficulties. A quiet but sweeping constitutional revolution was well underway.

I kept asking the question why. What was driving Dick Cheney and the other presidentialists who were so relentlessly and systematically pushing this agenda, about which they had said nothing to voters when campaigning for the office? Where was this coming from? This question took me to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, where the National Archives houses a bookcase full of documents in gray boxes titled RICHARD CHENEY FILES. From that pile of memos, written when a 33-year-old Cheney had become the youngest White House chief of staff in history, the answers emerged........

It was clear that the signing statements story, as amazing as it was, was in fact just the proverbial tip of the iceberg one tactic among many toward achieving a hidden agenda 30 years in the making........

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