Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Be Careful What You Ask For

Watching Dick Cheney, the outgoing President in charge of Vice, yesterday, I thought of the story "The Monkey's Paw." You do have to be careful what you ask for because you just might get it.

Cheney is a legitimate ideologue. He is not someone whose beliefs change to suit his party's interest in the situation. As chair of the Vice Presidential search committee, he selected himself for one reason. Going back to his service for Richard Nixon, he was entirely convinced that the Founders' notion of the balance of powers had become unbalanced. He thought that the Presidency had become unconstitutionally weakened and he chose himself for the job not to be the most powerful veep, but to re-empower the Presidency.

And he did.

Bush was elected in 2000 in large part because the general sense was that there was no difference between the parties, the government was just running on auto-pilot, and it didn't matter who was the POTUS. Instead of a coin-flip between the frat boy/cowboy and the policy wonk, let's use the "who would I rather have a beer with" test. His regular vacations seemed no big deal because we elected him president not PRESIDENT.

But as a result of eight years of Cheney, the country had no doubt that it matters who is PRESIDENT. We wanted not only the new guy, we wanted the smart guy. We all know, without a doubt that we need a PRESIDENT.

Cheney tried to increase the strength of the Presidency through manufactured legal opinions and sleazy power grabs. And with that ill-gotten power they wrecked the joint. Now the country demand action and as a result of the will of the governed, the Presidency is stronger than it has been in decades.