According to Mr. Cheney, the office of the vice president is "not an entity within the Executive Branch." He said this to get out of having to comply with a presidential order (first signed by Bill Clinton in 1995 and later amended by George W. Bush) that established a uniform method of classified information security across the entire government. Basically, what Cheney didn't want was the National Archives having anything to do with how his particular office dealt with sensitive information.
Which branch of government does the VP's office belong to, then? God knows. It's not the Executive Branch, and since it's safe to assume that the national security directive probably also applies to the Legislative and Judicial branches, I'm thinking that in Cheney's mind, his office exists outside the U.S. Government... which actually makes sense, given the way he's behaved over the course of his political career.
The Vice President presides over the Senate. He casts the deciding vote in a 50-50 tie. He interprets Senate rules. He appoints Senators to various independent commissions.
The Vice President's only statutory duties outside the Senate are to serve on the National Security Council, sit on the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian, and name five cadets to the U.S. Military Academies. Any other function of the Vice President is strictly the choice of the President.
He wants it both ways. He claims to be a member of the executive branch when he wants to invoke executive priviledge when Congress wants him to testify on a matter. But when there is are rules governing the executive branch, he claims that he's not part of that branch either.
He isn't elected so he can't be in the Senate. He only presides over it and casts the tie breaking vote (as said before). Meanwhile, he doesn't have any constitutional power in the executive branch. He is an appointee of the president and that is where he gets whatever power he might have. In my view, that puts him in the executive branch.
Lincoln sent his vp home. That is how important the vice presidency is. Only with Cheney has the VP become something of importance. In the past it has only been used as a diplomatic tool or for the VPs own little projects.
Only in Bush's gov't can the VP claim confidentiality on certain documents. What kind of shit is that?
Techinically you do cast separate votes for President and Vice President. It's just gotten so lately since the conventions are party based and nominees are selected by them they're usually of the same party.
So it is possible to have a president from one party and a vice president another, or a different one from the same party than intended after the coronation in the convention. It's all happened before.