I’ve written before — here and here — about Cheney’s assumption of Vice-Presidential powers that were not only unprecedented but which, according to Law Professor Glenn Reynolds a/k/a Instapundit, may very well be unconstitutional. So, in some respect, the news that Cheney was giving direct orders to the CIA to withhold information from the people’s representatives in direct violation of the law isn’t all that surprising. The fact that it’s not surprising, though, shouldn’t making any less shocking.I am with those who believe the Vice President's place is in the Senate, unless and until the President is incapacitated. The ability of the Vice President to smoothly assume the office of President is facilitated both by his being in the loop (see Vice President Harry Truman and nuclear weapons) and by his distance from the President (compare the transition of Vice President Gerald Ford compared with what it might have been with someone who was as deeply involved in the "plumbers" as was President Nixon).
The original has several embedded links
One of the things I would do if I could, would be to change the process by which Vice Presidential candidates run for office. That is to say, I would separate the President and the Vice President on the ballot. That would increase the workload on the voter—having to make an additional mark, but I think it would be worth it. And, I think it would be consistent with the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution. Being elected in his or her own right would give the Vice President a certain Independence, which might help identify the fact that he or she is not the "Assistant President," but rather is part of the operation of the US Senate and available to fill in for ceremonial purposes from time to time and as President when the President is incapacitated (see the Twenty-Fifth Amendment).
I would hope that such a move would also return us to the time when the Vice President was nominated by the Party Convention and not just handed to the Convention by the Presidential Nominee. I am saying, I would like to see a second horse race. An open convention. In 2008 we might have seen the Democratic Convention nominate Senator Clinton for VP, rather that Senator Biden. The only down side to that would be if President Obama had then nominated Senator Biden to be Secretary of State
It is to be acknowledges that candidates in the past have had great power over who was nominated, although they sometimes exercised it in an indirection way, as with President Franklin Roosevelt's famous comment, "Clear it with Sidney." The Sidney in this case was labor leader Sidney Hillman, who was opposed to the nomination of James F. Byrnes, of South Carolina, to replace Henry Wallace on the ticket for the fourth election.
The result of this change might be that the American People, in their wisdom, might elect a President from one party and a VP from another. So be it. It is the right of the People to pick their leaders.
Regards — Cliff
♠ Hat tip to the Instapundit.
♥ Does anyone even use "flap" these days?