This morning, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert issued a call for Dick Cheney to resign.
While I'd love to see Cheney hounded from office and forced to reprise his film career as the Penguin, I'm not sure this would be a great development for the Democrats. The Republican-led Congress has shown a considerable amount of leeway in letting Bush pick his own appointments to the Cabinet and the Supreme Court, and you've got to think they'd let him appoint whoever he wanted here -- Barney, Harriet Miers, the Rock ....
As Tristero notes over at Digby's place, Bush could use the VP vacancy to anoint an heir apparent. Perhaps an administration insider like Condi Rice, or perhaps a Dubya clone like George Allen. (That possibility seems even more likely when you realize that Allen's re-election to the Senate is now in jeopardy, with James Webb in the race and Allen's support below 50%.) The new VP would become a frontrunner, and help avoid a prolonged primary fight on the Republican side. The Democrats would be in disarray, meanwhile, and unable to stand against the momentum.
Actually, I think such a scenario would cause more headaches for the Republicans than the Democrats. For one thing, picking a contender for the vacant VP spot would make the GOP consensus in Congress disappear, as rival camps in the Republican Party jockeyed for position. If the contender were installed, this pressure would only get worse. All the other Republican candidates would need to run against the administration, and that would likely lead the new VP to do likewise.
This is all speculation, of course. They'll only get the vice presidency away from Cheney when they pry it from his cold, dead hands.
But let's speculate anyway. Should Cheney resign? What would the impact be? Who would replace him? And who would the new VP shoot?