Dick Cheney has his own special way of dealing with the rules that apply to everyone else, said USA Today in an editorial. 'œHe just ignores them.' In just the latest example of a long series of 'œarrogant' decisions, Cheney is refusing to obey President Bush's Executive Order 12958, which compels White House personnel to regularly inform the National Archives about material they've classified. Newly released documents show that Cheney's office is claiming that he's not an 'œentity within the executive branch' and so is not governed by Bush's order. Since the vice president also serves as president of the Senate, Cheney argues, he belongs to neither the executive branch nor the legislative'”and thus is not bound by the rules of either.

Even for our famously secretive vice president, said Maureen Dowd in The New York Times, this is a breathtaking, 'œnew level of gall.' Not only is he saying he's above the law, but that he functions on 'œhis own dark planet'”a separate entity from the White House.' The man is beyond parody, said Aziz Huq in The Nation. To keep the public from knowing what he's doing behind the scenes, Cheney has made 'œextravagantly petty claims of secrecy.' Claiming executive privilege, he's refused to let Congress or the public know what energy-industry and Christian right figures he's met with in shaping the administration's policies. Then, when the federal Information Security Oversight Office tried to get him to obey Executive Order 12958, he tried to abolish that agency. 'œIf it weren't so frightening, the irony would be delicious.'

There's a method to Cheney's madness, said Barton Gellman and Jo Becker in The Washington Post. By remaining completely behind the scenes while exerting enormous influence over President Bush, Cheney has made himself the most powerful vice president in history. It was Cheney who decided that the Geneva Conventions should not apply to captured terrorists, instituted interrogation tactics that many consider torture, and insisted that the administration could monitor phone calls and e-mails without warrants. Yet for all the policy that flows across his desk, 'œalmost nothing flows out.' Cheney won't reveal the size, much less the names, of his staff. Cheney also stamps everyday documents Treated As: Top Secret/SCI and locks most of his paperwork in 'œman-size Mosler safes.'

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Jonah Goldberg

National Review Online

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The Washington Post

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The New Republic

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