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The International Writers Magazine

Song of a Dying Whale
James Campion

How A Decomposing Beached Sea Mammal Came To Bury A Presidency

"Why did the president of the United States today interfere in a legal trial and do something he found deeply distasteful and hurtful? Three explanations. One, the war party, the neo-cons, demanded it as the price of staying behind him. Two, the vice president of the United States went in and called in all of his chits for his buddy. Three, the president or somebody in there feels that Scooter Libby behind bars is a walking time bomb."
- Pat Buchanan

While I am of the opinion that the law is bullshit (please refer to two of the past three entries to this space for ample proof) I am a sucker for the U.S. Constitution. It is the only part of this boondoggle democracy that separates the American people from being completely screwed by its government.  In it, the vice presidency was originally framed as the second-leading receiver of votes in a general election. In other words, if things were not amended in 1804, John Kerry would be our vice president today, and not Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney, who has been allowed to infect every part of the fantastically bungled presidency of George W. Bush.

But, alas, the advent of party politics diminished the roll of the vice president, reducing the office to pretty much nothing; nothing and the occasional crumb as president of the senate, which is maybe a two to three day a year gig.

To put it more directly, these past six years of twisted machinations emanating from the vice president's office, from advocating war on a whim to the financing, running and clean-up of the thing through his buddies and jacking around the CIA to cover it up, is not only highly irregular, but downright stupid, which goes a long way to crushing these crazed leftist fantasies of a conniving, evil Boy President.

The Dick Cheney power-grab intimidation weight-throwing extravaganza has gotten so out of hand that not even the most ardent supporters of the now sadly debunked Bush-Is-In-Charge theory have to run for cover. If Captain Shoo-In had been anything but a vacuous walking suit, the rogue nature of the state department, secretary of defense, and especially the vice president would not have sunk his legacy in a sea of "old men clumsily attempting to capture the glory days" blunders.

Cheney is by definition of the constitution and the framework of our government an insignificant lump of flesh waiting for the president to die or the senate to be tied on some bill. His is a job best described as beached whale, but through some incredible malfeasance of reason he has been allowed to not only rule, but rule with mind-bending haphazard dumbness.

John Adams was our first vice president. He deemed the position as "the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived." Thomas R. Marshall, who served under Woodrow Wilson, once mused; "Once there were two brothers. One went away to sea; the other was elected vice president. And nothing was heard of either of them again." When the animated statesman, Daniel Webster was offered a place on Zachary Taylor's ticket, he declined, saying; "I do not intend to be buried until I am dead." And before quitting in disgust, John Nance Garner, FDR's first vice president, aptly described the position as not being "worth a pitcher of warm piss".

So how is it that a slowly decomposing Washington lifer like Dick Cheney has survived long enough to become one of the most vocal, influential, vilified, dastardly, inept, and unilaterally unlucky men to ever hold the vice presidency? How did a relatively innocuous Bush Sr. cabinet member, who left politics a bitter and beaten man, morph into the most powerful vice president since another Dick ran the coma that was the Eisenhower administration?

There is only one answer: The president, completely overwhelmed and weakly qualified, allows it.

The second those towers fell in Manhattan on 9/11, Cheney has been an utter disaster for this absentee president. Somewhere between the Halliburton mess, the fiasco over "enriched uranium from Africa", and a host of misnomers on the war as in "We will be welcomed as liberators" and "The insurgency is in its last throes", to this ill-conceived Scooter Libby nonsense, the shooting of a man and covering it up, and now these bevy of "top secret" documents his office is hiding, Junior has allowed a man with no power nor a precedence for the claiming of power to hammerlock his authority and run the White House into the ground.

The president's commuting of Libby's sentence this past week is further evidence he has no say in his own administration. There is no good reason on the heels of having his immigration legislation summarily squashed by the right wing of congress, after it was openly derided by every conservative mouthpiece living, to hand out a gift like this. It is especially troubling when you consider Bush has been on record as loathing the commuting or pardoning of more questionable and harsher sentences while governor of Texas, and, most telling, became a viable candidate for president by running on some corny "restoring dignity to the presidency" hoo-ha.

No, Libby avoids prison to halt further legal battles and a final humiliation for this sad-sack second term. It is also not coincidental that Libby was not granted a complete pardon, which keeps him from having to testify in the pending civil trial by Ambassador Joe Wilson. If Libby were imprisoned, he's likely to squeal. If he were a free man, he could be subpoenaed and squeal. So the commuting of his sentence makes it patently obvious a deal was struck to have him take a bullet for the shenanigans of his boss, Dick Cheney. The trial was a fraud, taxpayer money was wasted, and the law...everyone say it with BULLSHIT.

But there is always the Constitution, and if this milquetoast Congress could grow some stones, we might have ourselves the kind of lengthy and painful investigations that will all but cripple this already hemorrhaging swindle of a presidency.
© James Campion July 2007

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