By G.W. Schulz
Jane Mayer’s exceptional profile of David Addington in the July 3 New Yorker admittedly confirms much of what we already knew about this presidential administration. But Addington for some time has managed somehow to fly below the radar despite his clear and aggressive leadership role among neoconservatives in the White House.
Addington is Dick Cheney’s chief-of-staff and, as Mayer notes, has been a principal architect of the Bush administration’s breathtaking drive to consolidate its power through a series of highly dubious constitutional interpretations that largely eschew the always sensitively balanced three branches of government in Washington.
I was born and raised in a red state (Oklahoma) and have always considered myself open-minded to points of view that were very different than my own. The conservatives I’ve maintained friendships with in the past have generally agreed with me on one thing at the end of the day – preserving the basic tenets of the Constitution and the balance of powers inherent in its construction is vitally important.
But as Mayer reveals, Addington, Cheney and others at the White House seem shamelessly driven toward stripping away congressional oversight (including scaling back key reforms established after the Nixon era, such as passage of the Freedom of Information Act and creation of the House and Senate intelligence committees) and the role of the Supreme Court in scrutinizing executive decision-making.
Here's a nice summary of Addington from the profile:
"In many ways, his influence in Washington defies conventional patterns. Addington doesn't serve the President directly. He has never run for elected office. Although he has been a government lawyer for his entire career, he has never worked in the Justice Department. He is a hawk on defense issues, but he has never served in the military."
But, allegedly, he carries a copy of the Constitution with him at all times.
During a recent trip to Washington, I attempted to visit the National Archives for a look at the Constitution. Sure it’s corny, but I get kinda sentimental about the First Amendment. Unfortunately, recent rainstorms on the East Coast had flooded the basement and they weren’t allowing anyone in. Ominous to say the least.