This past week or 10 days, as he looks forward to leaving office next month, Cheney has been appearing in different venues unapologetically defending his views and the actions of the Bush administration for the last eight years, pressing the notion of the "unitary executive". He claims it was wrong for the Supreme Court to allow Guantanamo detainees to be allowed to challenge their continuing detention without charge in US courtrooms (since the SC is the ultimate arbiter of such matters, this claim is wrong by definition). He claims the US has not tortured prisoners, while subsequently admitting to a major role in causing prisoners to be water-boarded.
One of his claims in the Wallace interview which has been the subject of outrage is the following:
"(The President) could launch a kind of devastating attack the world's never seen. He doesn't have to check with anybody. He doesn't have to call the Congress. He doesn't have to check with the courts. He has that authority because of the nature of the world we live in."
This looks worse than it is, since the preceding paragraph has generally been left out. Here is the comment again, in full:
"The president of the United States now for 50 years is followed at all times, 24 hours a day, by a military aide carrying a football that contains the nuclear codes that he would use and be authorized to use in the event of a nuclear attack on the United States.
He could launch a kind of devastating attack the world's never seen. He doesn't have to check with anybody. He doesn't have to call the Congress. He doesn't have to check with the courts. He has that authority because of the nature of the world we live in."
I think most people would agree that if our nation was hit with a massive nuclear attack there is not going to be time for Congress to meet before determining our response. However, this statement does do a lot to help explain Cheney's mindset - he's pushing the idea the nation has been in a constant state of emergency since 9/11, a state where the President essentially has ultimate power on all decisions.
This belief is, of course, horse shit.
The administration, largely at Cheney's urging, has consistently engaged in illegal activities, ranging from torture to illicit wiretaps. Cheney's recent appearances are almost brazenly daring his successor to do anything about these actions.
It's a challenge which must be accepted, or Biden will have been proven more correct than even he knew.