Sunday, October 25, 2009

Biden 'Following Cheney'

What has emerged after nine months in office, Mr. Baumgartner and others agreed, is a powerful version of the vice presidency that bears its most striking, if unlikely, resemblance to the one that immediately preceded it - that of Republican Dick Cheney.

In short order, Mr. Biden has, like Mr. Cheney, turned the office into a central hub for a dizzying array of political and policy decisions, ranging from advising President Obama on Iraq and his Supreme Court pick to helping devise strategy on the economic recovery, on relations with Russia and, most recently, on the approach to war in Afghanistan.

Call it "Cheney Lite" - a vice presidency that has retained much of the power, while so far escaping the role of lightning rod for partisan critics and avoiding any whiff of ambiguity about who is really running the country. Much like the man who came before him, Mr. Biden has dipped repeatedly into a deep reserve of Washington experience to help the president push his policies.

"I would say that Dick Cheney and Joe Biden have brought the vice presidency to a new level," said Les Gelb, the former president of the Council on Foreign Relations and a close friend of Mr. Biden. "It's unusual for vice presidents to play as big a role as Cheney did for Bush, or that Biden is playing for Obama."

Biden, of course, called Dick Cheney "one of the most dangerous vice presidents we've had." And now he's following in his footsteps.

Rule number one: politicians lie. If a politician is talking, s/he's lying.

Repealing the 17th Amendment would give us one branch of the legislature without ridiculous political posturing, and make it more difficult for lying politicians to centralize power.

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