Good Riddance

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December 21, 2008 2:00 p.m.

The only mild consolation to be found in Vice President Cheney’s latest round of anti-constitutional ridiculousness is the thought that we’ll be rid of him in about a month. Cheney said today that if Joe Biden “wants to diminish the office of the vice president, that’s obviously his call.” But let’s be really frank on this one. The vice president has no substantial powers at all. None. He or she can break ties in the senate. They have the key role of succession. And as a practical matter they can play an important role as the president’s partner — the chief executive’s inability to fire the VP serving as a benign form of independence within the White House, in terms of giving advice . But the very fact that we can even be having a conversation about the prerogative powers of the vice presidency is a testament to the world of Alice in Wonderland constitutionalism that has been a hallmark of Cheney’s time in office.

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