Just how unexpected could any turn take in the conversation at the White House last week when Bush hosted Obama? Could they really have cut through the chattering background niceties? Is it possible they had a man-to-man meeting of minds? A heart-to-heart discussion on the state of state?
Perhaps it's a little like comparing the work that's cut-out for Obama with the unfinished business of Bush. If the cut-out was any more unfinished you could argue that Obama was stepping into fill an eight year vacancy. A leadership vacuum sounds less insulting than another W dress-down. That "giant sucking sound" that stuck in Ross Perot's ear flaps during Recession '91-'92 sounds warmer and more definitive than the deepening silence of our yet-to-be-determined great bottoming out of '09-'10.
It's certainly less presumptuous than the expectation of a natural order of things. Such a rationale rights the ship of state as a race from super sub-average back to average. That's when you add the possible worst presidency in history with the fervent hopes riding on one of the best. Factor the two together and we're just about even.
Our two party political brands abhor a big hoover as much as my two skittish indoor cats. We've had Big Hoover leadership for the last eight years. We could count on it for tight-lipped, unquestioning loyalty to unwavering unilateralism. I mean what's there not to count on? But the secretive sauce is ripe for dipping. All we have to go on are the signing statements and Presidential orders. We're clueless about the unsigned declarations. But we know that the back legal channels are the shadowy work of non-fiction's grimmest of plot lines. Yes, the world is a dangerous place. But it's picnic time for sunbathing pigs compared to the darker recesses of the rogue government that's been running the show. I'm referring to the office of the Vice President.
Soon after the state heads locked handshakes the real pocket change was riding on Biden when Cheney invited him down into his bunker with a view. They drew the drapes and Joe began to dream:
* What would honestly happen if business as usual one day one meant that the Commander-in-Veep receded back into the Rose Garden bushes?
* What powers would be spilled on the lap of lady liberty if an Obama Administration re-embraced a Constitution made expendable by a time of two wars, no-bid contracts, and the mercenaries that flew under flags of their own profiteering?
* In addition to taking on the economy, health care, energy, and global warming, what if Obama took back the Constitution?
That sounds big -- bigger than the Department of Justice. Kinda like social justice -- no? That sounds like the wiretaps being rolled back to the post-Watergate barricades that Cheney fought so hard to crash. Surely they won't erode any further? Joe, wake up!
But is this an offer Obama really can't refuse? Particularly if it diminishes the reach of his own presidency? Especially if it marginalizes his nonpartisan unity platform? It will be a fascination to see how this plays out. Personally, I'll be watching through the lens of Joe the Biden. He loves the Senate as dearly as Cheney despises it.
- Marc Solomon
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