David Addington

The internecine fighting among conservatives over the Boehner plan has much of the same ideological and stylistic feel of a late 1960's feud pitting left-wing factions that favor immediate violence against those seeking more time to radicalize the masses. The less-extreme faction clearly has the better of the argument, yet the overwhelming impression is the sheer fanaticism of the whole political subculture.

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Angler: The Cheney Vice PresidencyBy Barton Gellman (Penguin Press, 384 pp., $27.95) As Americans prepare to choose a new president, it may seem a curious exercise to rehearse the manifest failures of the current one. But either Barack Obama or John McCain is going to be stuck with the burdensome legacy of the Bush years, and the rest of us will be too--possibly for a long time. The war in Iraq is still with us. So are Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. The Wall Street cataclysm will ramify, locally and globally, for many months, perhaps years.

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Yoo's On First

The House Judiciary Committee hearing with David Addington and John Yoo is proving to be exceptionally bitter and acrimonious even by House Judiciary Committee standards. If you're around C-SPAN, I recommend turning it on--this is entertaining stuff. Addington continually displays unveiled contempt for the members of the committee (I was about to say "thinly veiled," but even that would be too charitable). Yoo is slightly more polite, but no more helpful.

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So now David Addington, Cheney's chief of staff, is trying to back away from the claim that the vice-president is somehow outside the executive branch. He does, however, say that the order governing the handling of classified material was only supposed to apply to executive-branch "agencies" and not the vice-president. Of course, he doesn't point to any specific language here, but hey, who needs specific language? If anyone wants to get deep in the weeds, Jack Balkin has a lengthy explanation of why Addington's argument is preposterous.

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