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October 04, 2008


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Mark Geduldig-Yatrofsky

Senator Biden made my eyebrows arch when he stated "Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that's the Executive Branch." In fact, Article II establishes the executive branch, outlining the responsibilities of the President and recognizing the Vice President as her/his stand-in when the President is unable to fulfill her/his role. First defined in the Constitution, right in Article I, was the legislature, which the founders considered the primary branch of government. The Vice President also receives mention in that article as the presiding officer of the Senate. My disagreement with Vice President Cheney is not his definition of his office as a hybrid (that term has become the "sea change" of the current decade) position with one foot in the legislature and the other in the executive, but the notion that it constitutes a "fourth branch" of the federal government. Surely, Mr. Cheney has operated as a law unto himself, frequently disregarding the Constitution, a modus operandi that derives from what the late J. William Fulbright called "the arrogance of power" rather than any defined authority within the foundational document of our democratic republic. Although I prefer Senator Biden and his top-of-the-ticket running mate to Governor Palin and hers, I feel compelled to call his gaff what it is.


You are absolutely right (and my 5th grade teacher, Mr. Wollman, would be disappointed in me). I went back to Daniel's teacher for corrections in content rather than just sentence structure and principles. You get an A+.

Mark Geduldig-Yatrofsky

Ah, but I committed a gaffe of my own in misspelling the term as "gaff." My deepest apologies to Mr. Webster and Mr. OED (as in Oxford English Dictionary).

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