December 23, 2005

Dick Cheney's imperial presidency

George W. Bush has quipped several times during his political career that it would be so much easier to govern in a dictatorship. Apparently he never told his vice president that this was a joke.

Before 9/11, Mr. Cheney was trying to undermine the institutional and legal structure of multilateral foreign policy: he championed the abrogation of the Antiballistic Missile Treaty with Moscow in order to build an antimissile shield that doesn't work but makes military contactors rich.

Early in his tenure, Mr. Cheney, who - ahem - "quit" as chief executive of Halliburton to run with Smarty McGeniusson in 2000, gathered his energy industry cronies at secret meetings in Washington to rewrite energy policy to their specifications. Mr. Chicanery offered the usual excuses about the need to get candid advice on important matters, and the courts, sadly, bought it. But the task force was not an exercise in diverse views. The Dick gathered people who agreed with him, and allowed them to write national policy for an industry in which he had recently amassed a fortune...

- from here. Mostly.