...Article II enumerates the powers and responsibilities of the president, including the obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. A special presidential oath is prescribed. Section 3 of the 25th Amendment provides a method for the president to yield his office to the vice president, when "he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office." There is no other constitutional provision for transferring presidential powers to the vice president.
Yet without making a written transmittal to Congress, President Bush has ceded vast domains of his powers to Vice President Cheney by mutual understanding that circumvents the 25th Amendment. This constitutional provision assures that the public and Congress know who is exercising the powers of the presidency and who should be held responsible for successes or failures. The Bush-Cheney dispensation blurs political accountability by continually hiding the real decision-maker under presidential skirts.
So it's not as strong as case as Cheney say, giving secrets away to the Iranians. But then, breaches of Constitutional duty rarely are.
How exactly did we get to this point anyway? Via Balkinization, here's Publius at Obsidian Wings:
It’s pretty simple. When you elect someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing, you’re essentially electing someone else to be president. Kerry and Gore had their flaws, but they would have been the Deciders. They certainly would not have tolerated a lawless, out-of-control operation such as Cheney’s Office. At the very least, they would have, you know, been aware of the debates and had some pre-existing knowledge to inform their judgment. Bush, by contrast, was simply no match for Cheney and Rumsfeld’s decades of experience. Thus, the failure that is Cheney is not merely an individual failure on the part of Bush. Cheney is an institutional failure -- a failure of our political system. That’s the key to understand. The rise of Cheney is itself an indictment of our political institutions and culture.
Don't look at me. I'm blaming voters who don't know or are too lazy to explore the difference between words and deeds.
And now, back to Fein for this amusing quote from John Adams:
The nation's first vice president, John Adams, bemoaned: "My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived; and as I can do neither good nor evil, I must be borne away by others and meet common fate."
Of course under Cheney's Imperial Vice-Presidency the situation is turned on its head. Instead, we are borne away by the good or evil (mostly evil) that Cheney does.