Back when he was Vice President Cheney’s legal adviser and chief of staff, David Addington was a shadowy figure, someone who rarely if ever spoke to the press — and certainly not for quotation. In 2006, U.S. News and World Report called him “the most powerful man you’ve never heard of.”
But that was then.
Addington, said to have been a force behind some of Cheney’s and the Bush administration’s greatest hits — no warrants needed for National Security Agency eavesdropping on Americans, military commissions rather than civil courts for terrorists or the claim that Cheney, since he technically presides over the Senate (one of the Framers first successful jobs programs) was not a member of the executive branch, has been coming out of the shadows.
Addington, who runs a policy shop at the Heritage Foundation, also championed a larger presidential legislative imprint through a huge increase in presidential “signing statements.” He’s been doing television for some time, but got high visibility when he popped up on television in November to ask a question during a GOP presidential candidates debate.
Then last weekend he was quoted in the New York Times opposing President Obama’s recess appointments.
“I’m kind of surprised he did it,” Addington said, “because more so than most presidents, this guy has a personal ability to assess the constitutional implications,” he said, given Obama’s having taught constitutional law. “It’s flabbergasting and, to be honest, a little chilling.”
“Chilling.” Not bad. Remember, in this town, the better the quote, the more you get quoted.