From the “Dog Bites Man” Files

Vice-President Dick Cheney told the editorial board of The New York Post (you didn’t think he’d be talking to the Nation did you?) that he disagreed with Congressional Great Leader Tom DeLay’s suggestions of “retribution” against the federal judges who refused to order reimposition of a feeding tube or other life-extending or saving measures for Terri Schiavo. (Perhaps, in my best “Hillary Clinton”, there are bridges to be built: even those of us who may have disagreed with the underlying decision to end Ms. Schiavo’s life by a fortnight’s dehydration and starvation still appreciate the agonizing work of the federal judges who had to weigh just the case in front of them without thinking about the global political implications; “us” in this case would not include the House Majority Leader, of course).
Cheney certainly recognizes where this could logically go; while the irritating District Judge James Whittemore was an appointee of the dreaded Bill Clinton, IIRC, Whittemore was confirmed by a Republican senate. Indeed, most of the judges who proceeded to affirm Judge Whittemore’s initial ruling were appointed by Republican Presidents, confirmed by Republican-controlled senates, or both. And worst of all, the buck-passers of last resort happen to be Cheney’s own buddies, including duck-hunting pal Nino Scalia and the rest of the crew to whom he not only owes his job in the first place, but owes the continued secrecy of his taxpayer funded meetings with oil and energy industry lobbyists to rewrite national energy policy in the interests of the… oil and energy industry… In short, Cheney sees the big picture, and he just isn’t happy with where the Sweet Land ‘Sterminator is going on this– if the lower court guy gets a vendetta, it won’t be long until Pinafore Commander Rehniquist and Ducky Nino and Clarence and Sandy and Tony and the Rest are targeted for… the Bug Man’s Paybacks. Most unbecoming. MOST unbecoming.
Must… be… careful… This could all be a Texas Two Step. It appears that Karl brought Dear Leader into this rather early, by having him fly back from his Endless Summer in Crawford to sign “Terri’s Dead Letter Law”, but then seems to have been largely quiet in the unsuccessful aftermath. Cheney often signals things from the top (the top being, of course… himself). In this case, Cheney tells us he has no intention of running for President in 2008, thereby confirming that he will wait in the wings and see if there is a clear frontrunner before deciding whether he will run or not, and further identifying himself with the corporate banditti wing of the Party rather than the Jesusland wing… as if there was any doubt of this to begin with.
Of course, it is unclear what this interesting notion about just how Great Leader even can retaliate against judges with life-time tenure (primary challenges are right out), how does this grandstanding effect “the nuclear option” of taking away the fillibuster option for judges… I could easily see DeLay’s blatherings backfiring on the Republicans…
Who knows? Let’s not discount the possibility that Tom is taking one for the team here: everyone at 1600 took a hit from recent events, including the President. It’s been a remarkable gift of Bush, Cheney, et al. to distance themselves from events for which they bear full and sole responsibility, and then to get away with it. While there’s always a possibility of an overplayed hand… let’s just say when playing poker with Dick Cheney, that’s not how you bet. These guys are up to something… their version of Texas Hold’em is a game the rest of us don’t want to play.