Thursday, February 16, 2006

Is This The End of Zombie Cheney?

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?

Discuss.

15 comments:

glenda said...

nice writing. Glenda

S.W. Anderson said...

You didn't mention the elephant in the room (pun intended), John McCain. Bush may not have in love in his heart for the guy, but he owes McCain and everyone knows it.

In his heart, I suspect Bush would like to see his good buddy from Texas (whose names escapes me just now) or brother Jeb go for it. Or, maybe, Karl Rove, if for no other reason than to twist the knife in the gut of those of us who've resented Bush's every second as president.

If Bush wanted (gack, choke, corf) to turn over a new leaf (deep breath), reach out to moderates and attempt some decent governing for a change, he'd tap David Gergen.

However, I'm not sure Gergen would want to get mixed up with Bush & Co. He may have had enough secret passageway crawling in the Nixon White House.

For a fairly noncontroversial placeholder who probably would not want to run for president, Alan Simpson would fill the bill.

Otto Man said...

All Barney jokes aside, I think even the GOP would balk at Jeb! or Rove.

Gergen has always been a behind-the-scenes guy, and a bipartisan one at that. His candidacy might be DOA as well.

Someone like Alan Simpson would be an intriguing choice. Replace one crusty old Wyoming guy with another...

McCain is an interesting possibility, but I'm not sure if there's enough good will between him and the Bushies. Plus, his strongest asset is his reputation as a maverick and an outsider, and wedding himself to the Bush administration would kill that.

However, there's another maverick who's intriguing -- Guiliani. He's widely popular with the Republican base and moderates would love him. That said, the Religious Right would probably have a conniption fit if Bush made a pro-choice, pro-gay rights guy his #2.

Again, I can't see a choice that would fly with the congressional GOP and the core constituencies in equal measure.

Tokyo Joe said...

My money's on Condi. it's just the sort of move that the Bush admin would love to trot out to show that they don't hate minorities. Besides that, having Condi run in '08 would be huge for the reps. Not only would they have someone who tows the complany line, but they could counter all that "evil white" party sterotype by putting up the first black woman endoresed by a major political party (their slogan could be "try and top that you hippie dity bags".

But actually I like the idea of McCain. Even as OM pointed out that he considers himself an outsider, I think the Bushies would consider this the best way to bring him into the fold. It's not like anyone would ever turn down that job offer and it's another get setup for the '08 (their slogan could be "Just try and find a better war hero now, biatch".

Thrillhous said...

I'm wondering, will Bush really have much kingmaking power? It might just be a blip, but there's been a few instances of what might almost be called oversight from congress lately, like with the NSA hearings (which may get shut down - jerks) and the house Katrina report. It could be that the GOP strategy for '08 is to distance themselves Bush-Cheney.

I also think Cheney's resigning would speed up Dubya's transition into lame duckhood. By the time people had finished obsessing over the new VP, the '08 campaign would be underway and Bush would already be backgrounded.

Otto Man said...

I think you're right that Bush would go into lameduckdom, Thrillhous, but the Condi pick could be a way to cement some sort of legacy for him that doesn't involve the word "clusterfuck."

As Joe notes, she'd be a huge asset for PR and image-making. She'd be a huge "first" and Bush wants to do that. He won't get to put Gonzales on the SC, so this would work.

I'm not sure if she'd win in '08, though. I think the Dems should remind people of her great work with the August '01 PDB every single second of the day. And she might not make it through the primaries. When you've got a party that includes some hard-core racists and misogynists, a black woman with no political background might not be a safe bet.

S.W. Anderson said...

Ask yourself, where would the GOP be in '08 with several Southern states sitting that one out?

I would like to think that wouldn't happen, but something tells me it would happen. Yes, Rice would pick up a lot of African American votes across the South, traditional party ties notwithstanding. I doubt there would be enough to win most of those states.

S.W. Anderson said...

Regarding McCain, I don't think his being considered a maverick wins him any points with most Republicans. Where it does win him points, probably, is among right-leaning independents.

I watched McCain in 2000 and in some ways admired him. At the same time, I saw something that was off putting.

At times he seemed as though he was, through strong self-discipline, holding in check a need or desire to blow up. I'm not kidding or being sarcastic. It was like he was seething inside, while maintaining his cool outside through sheer force of will.

On one hand, I have to respect that. On the other, as I said, it's off putting.

alex supertramp said...

i don't liken to what many refer to as 'news' and as a general rule defer to the good old 'ignorance is bliss' adage, but (realizing this is a purely speculative post) what grounds is anyone basing the call for Cheney's step-down?

alex supertramp said...

oh - for the record - I read the link, and still don't get the outrage or concern (relative to every single action taken by the administration to this point).... but while we are on the subject, The Rock would be awesome - especially if reprising his role as a joe don baker knock off in Walking Tall -- and that way Johnny Knoxville could reprise his role as The Ringer and fit right in with the Administration, perhaps, dare I say it - be the first jackass in office ---oh wait, too late....

InanimateCarbonRod said...

I remember lots of calls for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation. How did that one work out?

For the record, I vote that Cheney's replacement should be Alan Keyes. Stories of him shooting someone in the face would be a slow news day.

Otto Man said...

I've seen references to "Should X Step Down?" so far for Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Gonzales. I doubt anything comes of these, but simply asking those questions puts them on the defensive. And hopefully spreads to their boss.

Thrillhous said...

I hear you, Alex, on how overblown the "My friend shot me in the face and all I got was this heart attack-causing shrapnel" story is. Took us to war on dubious intel? Move on. Spying in contravention of laws and constitution? Boring! VP has a hunting accident? It's all scandal, all the time, baby!

Which isn't to say that Cheney and co. are good guys in all this; cheney's standard "screw the media and the public I'm supposed to serve" tactics have made things so much worse than they had to be.

Thrillhous said...

I keep forgetting to say this, OM. Great reference with that title.

Otto Man said...

Thank you, thank you. I do what I can.