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Cheney '08!

Fred Barnes writes the article I've been waiting for for a long time. The argument from a conservative that Dick Cheney should run for president. But it's not actually the article I've been waiting for. Instead, it's a case on the merits for Cheney. That's fair enough, but it's less interesting than the purely tactical point that Bush is going to start suffering from crippling case of lame duck syndrome very soon unless he can at least implicitly designate a successor. You can't keep your ducks in a row if the only thing the ducks no for sure is that you won't be leading the pack for very long. Things will only get worse if various White House aides start peeling off to go work for rival primary candidates. Bush needs a successor and, realistically, Cheney is the only viable option.

February 28, 2005 | Permalink


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» A: The Secretary of State from New World Man - Matt? Matt's not here
Matthew Yglesias seems to have a question. You can't keep your ducks in a row if the only thing the ducks no [sic] for sure is that you won't be leading the pack for very long. Things will only get... [Read More]

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Tracked on Feb 28, 2005 11:13:00 PM


C'mon. The Repubs aren't going to nominate Cheney. In addition to the obvious questions about his health, Cheney is politically tone-deaf; the clothing flap at Auschwitz is the most recent example. Bush' political genius is that he gives a benevolent, good-ol'-boy veneer to malevolent policies. With Cheney, the malevolence is right there on the surface, for everyone to see. The Repubs are much too media-savvy to nominate someone who would play so badly on TV.

Posted by: Rebecca Allen, PhD | Feb 28, 2005 1:43:32 PM

It is just the opposite. The longer he doesn't show his cards the longer everyone stays in line. Man, you need to learn some poker! Late, late in the game: Rice/Cheney '08. Much better than one v.p. running. The Republican's will have (de facto) two v.p.'s running. Landslide. Also Cheney gets to do the I'm the FDR of Vice Presidents dance.

Posted by: Ito | Feb 28, 2005 1:44:15 PM

Hmm. I would think the three (or is it four now?) heart attacks might be something of a limitation.

What do you think of the Condi gossip?

Personally, I'd like to see the RNC regain their senses and put forth someone like Whitman.

Posted by: Ken | Feb 28, 2005 1:45:52 PM

The man's got a smile like he just bit the head off a kitten. I'd welcome a Cheney nomination!

Posted by: ScrewyRabbit | Feb 28, 2005 1:49:09 PM

Cheney ain't gonna happen. The logical successor is Jeb!

Posted by: Al | Feb 28, 2005 1:50:44 PM

The logical successor is Jeb!

Actually, the logical successors would be Jenna and Barbs (or what the heck their names are).

Posted by: abb1 | Feb 28, 2005 1:57:30 PM

Cheney's "have a beer with" factor is very low. I can't see him winning. They don't really have anyone to run. Frist is too weird. Condi, is, well, a single woman in her 50s. Too chilly as well. Jeb? Maybe. He's actually relatively smart and articulate, so he can't do the jes folks schtick like his brother. The economy is going roll over late 2005-2006 so I think the republicans actually aren't in very hot shape, electorally.

Posted by: Brian | Feb 28, 2005 1:57:50 PM

There seems to be a big movement on the conservative side of the blogosphere pushing the "Rice '08" angle. I don't know what Rice herself thinks of this, or whether she knows how to run for an elected office, but the rightist bloggers seem to love her.

Posted by: Julian Elson | Feb 28, 2005 2:00:34 PM

Moderates don't like Chenney. There is a reason grumpy old men aren't elected president.

Posted by: joe o | Feb 28, 2005 2:01:26 PM

Cheney's got years and years left in him. But even without Cheney as v.p. forever I stand by the point: Bush by holding his cards close actually keeps power, and in the end it is Condi. Done deal. The RNC is heating up the metal. Read over the State of the Union again. Look where Mehlman is spending his time. Heating it up and Dr. Rice is the hammer that is going to strike it while it is hot. Twenty percent of the African American vote and the Republicans are way over 300 electoral votes. Dr. Rice can double or even triple that and with everyone at her side keep all the gains in other demographics as well. It is the last nail in the coffin.

Posted by: Ito | Feb 28, 2005 2:01:50 PM

I hate to agree with Al on anything, but I'd say he's right -- it's Jeb.

I can just see the idiot Repub masses goo-gawing over the thought of 41, 43, AND 44 all being Bushes...

Posted by: ScrewyRabbit | Feb 28, 2005 2:02:57 PM

JEB is the obvious choice. Rice will lose the votes of the religious right for her social non-conservatism (i.e. abortion and gay rights).

Posted by: Glaivester | Feb 28, 2005 2:04:24 PM

Condi has no chance in the primaries; these are Republican primaries and she is black, remember? Jeb wins easily 'cause his wife is Mexican. OTOH, Cheney could ditch crazy Lynn and marry a Mexican lady too. I think he should.

Posted by: abb1 | Feb 28, 2005 2:04:33 PM

Isn't the current Rove plan to anoint Frist as the successor and move White House and BC04 staff to his office?

Posted by: niq | Feb 28, 2005 2:06:03 PM

What is with this last part from the Barnes' article:

"It would be out of character for Bush to leave the selection of his successor to chance or to the whims of presidential primaries."

Is this how the Republican nomination is awarded now?

Posted by: catfish | Feb 28, 2005 2:06:16 PM

Why is Cheney the only viable option? Can't Cheney "retire" due to health reasons so Bush can name a successor with two years to go before the nomination? In fact, I would think that dangling a possible two year presidential internship in front of a bunch of Republican senators and governors would garner more than a fair share of favors and support.

The only question is will being part of the Bush administration be a selling point two years from now? I'd say depending on the war and economic indicators, the VP slot may be filled by someone else midway through the Bush second term.

Posted by: Jason | Feb 28, 2005 2:07:59 PM


She is an absolutist on the second amendmant. And are you really sure what her positions are on abortion and gay rights? She can finesse them just as easily as Hillary can.


That is exactly why you guys are going to continue losing. She is black and that is exactly why she will win the primaries. Most of us who are Republicans take seriously the fact we are the party of Lincoln. We've been waiting for this for a long, long, long time. The few that don't have nowhere to go. Maybe they can join Sen. Byrd in West Virginia.

Jeb will never run. No one wants him to run.

Posted by: Ito | Feb 28, 2005 2:15:11 PM

Cheney certainly has the ambition. I never believed for a minute his claim that 2004 was his last campaign. I hope it happens.

Posted by: Bob H | Feb 28, 2005 2:20:59 PM

Enter the Frist!

Posted by: praktike | Feb 28, 2005 2:24:12 PM

Rice is a black woman who's fairly popular with the Republicans. The Religious Right isn't nearly as important a voting bloc as the African-American and Females blocs are.

She can also lie three different ways from Tuesday, and her ability to warp language is Clintonesque with an edge of malevolence.

So why wouldn't she be a shoe-in?

Posted by: Matt G. | Feb 28, 2005 2:25:48 PM

I admit to being amazed at the things at which the GOP faithful--and I emphasize "faithful"--will or won't be offended, but don't we think that a president being succeeded by his brother is a little too close to monarchy for even them? Besides, Jeb was rumoured to have his own "Bush Bulge" problem, and the inconvenient rising wasn't in the middle of his back. While I feel sure that a Democratic opponent might, or might not, use this information, I feel sure that Bill Frist, George Allen, Chuck Hegel, or Marc Racicot would quietly see that it was publicized in just the proper places. I bet on one of those four. (Suspicion: We've not heard the last of John Ashcroft as a presidential candidate--he ran for the 2000 nomination--if he's not named to the Supreme Court by 2004. He'd sew up the religious right, certainly, but who knows where he'd go from there.)

Cheney gets the support he does from the GOP political elite because he's a short-timer. His charm--perhaps the first and only time that noun will be associated with Cheney--is that he's not a succession obstacle to ambitious Republicans. If Bush tries to designate Cheney (or anyone else) as successor now, the other hopefuls will start an "every man for himself" frenzy that will cripple Bush. Conversely, after 2006, the non-Cheney unofficial presidential candidates will have spent two more years than Dick getting money and apparatus lined up, and pressure will build for Bush to start helping one or several of them along using Bush's more limited influence.

Posted by: Brian C.B. | Feb 28, 2005 2:27:20 PM

What do you think of the Condi gossip?

I swear that people who float this idea are just politically unaware of the nuts-and-bolts issues that go into campaigning. Who is Condi's trusted campaign staff that has been with her throughout her political career? Who makes up her core of loyal volunteers? Where are the people in her home state that are going to go to the mat for her? Political realities are such that one cannot run a presidential campaign ex nihilo. You need a built-in constituency and a party apparatus backing you up. That's why the 1980 political campaign of GHW Bush went nowhere, along with the 1988 campaigns of Al Haig and Dick Cheney's speculative presidential run in 1996 (or 2000? I don't remember, but he considered it, briefly). Also, keep in mind that the Republican strategy depends on having a candidate that gets right-wing evangelicals to turn out in droves for the candidate as "God's chosen candidate." If a Republican candidate can't do that, s/he's toast. I don't think that Rice would offend evangelicals, but she doesn't appeal to them, either.

The highly unlikely but none-the-less slightly-more-likely scenario is that Cheney resigns for "health reasons" and point appoints a new VP who acts as a successor.

In any case, I think that many Republicans are probably content to let a Democrat take over in 2009 and blame that Democrat for the damage caused by Bush's policies in order to pull off a win in 2012.

Posted by: Constantine | Feb 28, 2005 2:27:47 PM

Rice as VP.
she's not a politician. Has never run for anything. She is intelligent, but not a crowd pleaser. She has experience, but not the right kind of experience (i.e. governorship, congressman, giving motivating speeches to stadiums full of supporters, etc). Thus, she gets it as the VP choice. For pres, who knows? Maybe Jeb. Maybe someone else. Then, 8 years later, Rice runs for Pres.
In both cases, she brings at least 25% of the black vote, substantial numbers of other minorities and women.
Hillary appeals to the 35% of the Democrats who are Hollywood weirdos and California/New York degenerates. The Republicans get their normal 49/50%, then add 5% from the minority boost from Rice. The Democratic Party collapses.

Remember the 1950's when the Beats were a few nuts driving around in motorcycles and the Communists were a few nuts wandering around in New York City? That's the future of the current Democratic Party. Those nuts were in charge of the Democratic Party from 1968 until today. Either the Democratic Party dumps them (and they go back to being obscure nuts-though now centered in universities rather than in New York), or the Democratic Party disintegrates. In either case, the political conversation will be back to where it has been traditionally-between (what we call today) conservative Republicans (say, Nixon) and moderate Republicans (say, Kennedy).



Posted by: Steve | Feb 28, 2005 2:29:28 PM

Nominate Cheney. For God's sake, nominate Cheney.

Posted by: John Isbell | Feb 28, 2005 2:40:38 PM


"Who is Condi's trusted campaign staff that has been with her throughout her political career?" Rove, Rove, Rove and the Bushies. You do not see the big plan. It has all been leading to this. I don't buy the weighting until 2012 or 2016. No need to wait. Condi in an "I like Ike" like campaign in 2008.

Posted by: Ito | Feb 28, 2005 2:41:40 PM

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