The Obvious Irrelevancy of George W. Bush (Part of the "Motherfuckering of America" series):
Here some of the things President Bush has done in the last dozen days or so, according to the White House website:

The President of the United States, the Leader of the Free World, the Commander-in-Chief, the Chief Executive rededicated the Islamic Center of Washington, attended the annual White House Tee Ball Game, congratulated the Presidential Scholars, celebrated Black Music Month, met with the NCAA championship teams, attended the National Hispanic Prayer breakfast, and visited the Boys and Girls Club of Wichita, Kansas. This is not to mention the policy speeches and leader-greeting ceremonies, which seem a bit more useful. And it's not unusual or summertime fun. Choose any random month - say October 2005, and you'll find much the same schedule, although, of late, it's seemed a bit more hectic.

In other words, all the kinds of functions that one might expect a Vice President to take care of - making token appearances on behalf of the President - are now done by a man who ought not have that much free time in his schedule. It's not that a President shouldn't occasionally make the appearance at the Little League game. But roughly once every other day? Sometimes twice in a day? That seems, well, perhaps disproportionate to the position of the Presidency. George Bush seems less like our fearless leader and more like a bored, rich housewife trying to fill her time between doses of Xanax. Another Laura, pretty much.

Now, perhaps they weren't the completists that today's White House webmasters are, but a gander at, say, two and a half months of Bill Clinton's 1998 list of events and talks reveals something quite different. Lessee: on November 24, 1998, Clinton commemorated National Adoption Month. On October 21, 1998, he spoke at a Breast Cancer Awareness event. Beyond that, nothing listed about Clinton speaking at anything that wasn't directed related to a government entity or bill.

As Bruce Fein points out in his very cogent and convincing call for Vice President Dick Cheney's impeachment in Slate, this week's Washington Post series, among other sources, makes it clear that the President has ceded most of his duties as a leader to his Vice President, without following the Constitutional process for such a transfer as laid out in the 25th Amendment. The relevant section reads, "Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President." In other words, the President's gotta inform the Congress if he ain't gonna do the shit he oughta be doing as President. Not that the Constitution was ever an impediment to anything the White House has wanted to do. (One can imagine an argument that goes something like this: "In his role as Commander-in-Chief, if the President decides that the safety of Americans demands that he let Dick Cheney do the job of President..." You get the picture.)

Of course, one reason for vesting so much power in the Vice President's office is that, until now, Cheney's been able to operate under the radar, except when us wacked-out left-wing paranoiacs pointed it out. And, as has been revealed, Cheney's office has made the case that it is not subject to the same kind of scrutiny and oversight, and perhaps that works because, up until this administration, the focus of oversight has been the office of the President, not the office of the guy who's supposed to sit on the bench until he's needed to bat. The guy who should be sent out to attend tee ball games and celebrate Black Music Month. Although, really, the image of Cheney talking to children or listening to black music is more than chilling.

What this also means is that when world leaders and others make a show of talking to the President, the man who campaigned and was, more or less (less than more), elected, they're really not talking to the power in the administration. And that's another way in which this country's become a joke, another way we've been motherfuckered by them.

Sure, Bush could, in theory, say no to Cheney, but there's precious few examples of that. It's easier just to stumblefuck through to the end of his administration, knowing that, once again, he's the guy who has his job only because of who his Dad is, and, like the son who's forced to work in his father's hardware store for the summer, Dad just wants him to sit there and not break everything.