Well, this is just dumb.
Mondale says Cheney changing role of VP
By JEFF BARNARD
The Associated Press
5/4/2004, 9:01 a.m. CT
SELMA, Ore. (AP) -- Former Vice President Walter F. Mondale said Sunday that the strong role Vice President Dick Cheney has taken in the White House is changing the way government and politics work.
"This is going to be an issue in the campaign, and it will be an issue for political scientists," Mondale said in an interview following a press conference. "This is starting to bend the political process." [...]
Oh my. This is TERRIBLE! We can't have Vice Presidents doing anything but walking the dog and sitting impassively in the big high chair in the Senate!
Mondale noted in a press conference that he was the first vice president to take a strong role in the executive branch, and said every vice president since has built on that model.
Yes, I remember when the world was enthralled by the stunning Vice-Presidential strongman Fritz Mondale. Anyway, as long as he was the first strong veep, and everyone else has built on his ruggedly powerful pioneering efforts, it must be okay, right?
Cheney, however, has taken the power of the office to a new level, operating, in effect, with his own National Security Council, Mondale said.
"The vice president has been very direct with other officers in pursuing what he thinks is the right course in national security and other areas," Mondale said. "What I think is wrong with that, is when others hear him talk like that they think the president is behind it. So it sort of chills the kind of vibrant discussion that we need for an open, balanced operation of the federal government.
Oh, I guess not. Hmm, it almost seems like this is not an objective, rational disagreement on the proper role of the Vice President, but rather a general bit of rather petty partisan snipery.
Yeah, I know, silly me.
"Carter would never have tolerated me doing that, --
Hmmm. Maybe Mr. Carter is smarter than I ever gave him credit for being.
-- and most presidents wouldn't tolerate, because it undermines the capacity of the president to hear it." [...]
Hmm. Maybe so, maybe not. But I really doubt Mr. Cheney acts without having the President's approval. Mondale's conspiracy-tinged maunderings don't serve him well, and make him appear more like a jealous kid complaining that the principal is playing favorites.
Then again, given this longish article in the Atlantic Monthly
from January 1983, you kinda figure it might even be worse than that:
[...] Mondale's first run at the presidency came in 1974, and it didn't last long. Like a car trying to start on a cold Minnesota morning, his campaign heaved and jerked and rattled, then expired, motionless. Mondale made his now-famous sheepish apology: "I don't think anyone should be President who is not willing to go through fire," he said. "Basically, I found that I did not have the overwhelming desire to be President which is essential for the kind of campaign that is required." Political professionals were vastly amused by the affair, and wrote Mondale off.
But Mondale was not finished; nor was he turning against politics. His 1974 campaign failed not because he experienced some metaphysical crisis but because his political timing and strategy weren't right. In 1974, Mondale now concedes, he had no particular program in mind, no clear objective for the country, and no specific notion of how to administer the presidency?just a general conviction that he could represent liberalism. [...]
The next important moment in Mondale's career, friends close to him say, came in the summer of 1976, when Carter was auditioning candidates for Vice President. One of Mondale's aides, Richard Moe, had predicted far in advance that Carter would need a northern liberal to balance his ticket, and had been preparing his boss to maneuver for the chance. Mondale ultimately threw himself at Carter, and his dignity was tested when Carter put off his decision to the last possible instant. In a suite in New York's Carlyle Hotel on the morning when Carter was supposed to announce his choice, Mondale, who had no idea what Carter would do, kept picking up the phone to make sure it was working. Afterward, friends say, he resolved never to be in this subservient position again?and the only way to ensure that he wouldn't be was to have the nomination himself. [...]