It is a shame Vice President Cheney is not running for president to test his ideas on democracy with Republicans as well as Democrats and independents. He would be a disaster as a candidate.
Forget Cheney's dismal poll numbers based on popularity alone. Far more important, and even dangerous, are how he regards the Constitution, Congress, and virtually anyone who disagrees with him.
Cheney and his current chief of staff, David Addington, are on a two-man crusade to give the executive branch full sway on foreign policy, intelligence matters, treatment of prisoners, and spying on U.S. citizens. For starters, that's quite a list.
Remember that Cheney's former chief of staff, Scooter Libby, escaped prison only because President Bush stepped in to save him with clemency. Libby will surely be pardoned before Bush leaves office, making another black mark on Cheney's service.
For his part, Cheney has all but admitted that he and Addington are a wrecking crew to give the president more power. Those reporters who covered a different Cheney as chief of staff back in the Ford presidency had no idea he was harboring these hideous thoughts about government.
Cheney needs to be reminded that power was taken away from President Nixon because the White House and his administration were engaged in criminal activity to gain even more power. As Nixon's successor, a decent Jerry Ford suffered because of his predecessor's actions.
Journalists who have written about whether Cheney has lost any overpowering presence over Bush can shelve that notion. Cheney is still the main man despite Bush's firing of Cheney's pal Don Rumsfeld. Even now, Cheney tells friendly outlets like Fox TV that it was a mistake to dismiss Rumsfeld.
If Bush had any real gumption, he would summon Cheney into the Oval Office and privately tell him to shut up, that Bob Gates is in charge now at the Pentagon. Of course, Bush won't think of it.
Addington has played a decisive role in the notorious signing statements in which Bush signs a bill into law and then adds passages that he intends to disregard what he just signed. Addington, the real author of those statements, is called a brilliant man, but to what end?
There is no need to go over Cheney's lies and deceptions leading up to the war in Iraq. They are well documented.
For those of us who think he will still live in a democracy, January 20 of 2009 can't come fast enough. And those Republican presidential hopefuls who want to succeed Bush and Cheney had best be even more careful in the months ahead before bestowing any laurels on them.