My own rambling thoughts on the dangers - political and constitutional - of a two-headed executive can be read here. Today, Garry Wills provides a deeper analysis, one that goes back to the Founders and their legitimate worries about accountability without a, ahem, unitary executive. He fears that Bill Clinton could become Hillary's Dick Cheney - but worse, in fact, since at least Cheney was on the ballot and in some sense accountable to the public directly. Money quote:
No other vice president in our history has taken on so many presidential prerogatives, with so few checks. He is an example of the very thing James Wilson was trying to prevent by having one locus of authority in the executive. The attempt to escape single responsibility was perfectly exemplified when his counsel argued that Mr. Cheney was not subject to executive rules because he was also part of the legislature.
We have seen in this campaign how former President Clinton rushes to the defense of presidential candidate Clinton. Will that pattern of protection be continued into the new presidency, with not only his defending her but also her defending whatever he might do in his energetic way while she’s in office? It seems likely. And at a time when we should be trying to return to the single-executive system the Constitution prescribes, it does not seem to be a good idea to put another co-president in the White House.
Can we all agree on that?