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Republicans' Cheney Problem
Townhall.com ^ | February 20, 2007 | Bruce Bartlett

Posted on 02/20/2007 8:54:38 PM PST by Irish Rose

Republicans' Cheney Problem

By Bruce Bartlett

It is becoming increasingly clear that the Republican Party has a huge problem going into 2008. Usually, it has a clear frontrunner going into the process who is broadly acceptable to most Republicans. But in this election cycle, that is not true. The race is wide open and it is hard to predict who will be left standing when the last primary vote is cast.

One thing that can be predicted is that a great many Republicans will be dissatisfied with their party's presidential nominee. It won't matter who among those currently running ends up with the nomination, because, in my opinion, none have the capacity to unite the party or to stimulate the kind of intense support a nominee needs to win the general election.

Moreover, I think the Democrats will be united around their candidate, whoever it is. They have been out of the White House for a long time and feel, rightly or wrongly, that the last two elections were stolen from them. They won't let that happen again. Nor do I think it is likely that the Democrats will run three historically awful campaigns in a row. They are due for a rebound.

One thing that could have changed things for the better, from the Republican point of view, is if it had a sitting vice president who was a candidate. That person would at least be the prohibitive favorite for the nomination. While this is no guarantee of success in the general election, it can be very helpful. For example, it is doubtful that George H.W. Bush would have been elected in 1988 otherwise.

That the Republicans do not have a sitting vice president running for the presidential nomination in 2008 is entirely George W. Bush's doing. In 2004, he decided that he would rather have a vice president who would never question him than one who could carry on his legacy. As Bush explained in a Feb. 12, 2007 interview on C-SPAN:

"From my perspective, it is good not to have a vice president running for president. Can you imagine somebody out there running and all of a sudden saying, 'Well, I wouldn't have done it exactly that way.' When things got difficult, like they are in Iraq, I told the president that he should have done it this way. He chose another way.' In other words, there would be the tendency for a candidate who was associated with the president to feel like they needed to distance themselves during the tough moments, like right now, and that would create instability inside the administration."

Most presidents have not looked at it this way. They usually have wanted a vice president who could succeed them, to carry on and defend their policies and, perhaps, protect them and their supporters from retaliation from a political rival or a president from another party. Rather than giving the vice president an incentive to distance himself from the president, the necessity of having his endorsement has forced vice presidents to defend his policies even when he would have preferred to go in a different direction. Think of Hubert Humphrey in 1968. He probably would have opposed Lyndon Johnson's Vietnam policy if he hadn't been the vice president.

Another virtue of having a vice president with ambitions of his own is that he is the only senior White House official in a position to resist the sycophancy that always surrounds the president. This is important because presidents live in a bubble, surrounded by people who owe their power and position solely to him. They are loath to be seen as "out of the loop" or to read news stories about their imminent departure, when they had no such plans. This tends to make the White House staff highly responsive to the president's wants, biases and whims.

Once into a second term, the vice president cannot be fired and his own ambitions will encourage him to pressure the president into adopting policies and taking positions that will be popular with voters. Since presidents cannot run for a third term, they would otherwise be totally impervious to public opinion. If a vice president hopes to be elected president himself, he has a strong incentive to advise the president to adopt policies that will make it easier for him to win.

For these reasons, I think Dick Cheney's lack of ambition for the presidency has been more of a handicap to Bush than the blessing he sees it as. It has fostered insularity at the White House and closed off an important avenue of influence to the president that has encouraged him to take a "go it alone" attitude, which is bad both for the country and the Republican Party.


TOPICS: Editorial; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2008; 2bad; 2frail; 2old; brucebartlett; bush; cheney; duncanhunter
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Have at it, folks - 2008, President Bush, Dick Cheney, the vice presidency and presidency in general.
1 posted on 02/20/2007 8:54:39 PM PST by Irish Rose
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To: Irish Rose

Interesting article. Not sure I fully agree with its conclusion however.


2 posted on 02/20/2007 8:58:50 PM PST by KantianBurke
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To: Irish Rose
www.GoHunter08.com
3 posted on 02/20/2007 9:00:19 PM PST by BlueOneGolf (The 2nd Amendment...America's ORIGINAL Homeland Security! http://www.ar15.com)
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To: Irish Rose

It has fostered insularity at the White House and closed off an important avenue of influence to the president that has encouraged him to take a "go it alone" attitude, which is bad both for the country and the Republican Party.


What's the alternative, consulting al quedas ally, the democrat party?


4 posted on 02/20/2007 9:00:27 PM PST by JohnLongIsland
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To: Irish Rose
IIRC, Cheney lobbied hard for Paul O'Neil at Treasury. Bad move. Not a fan of tax cuts. In addition was bailed out by as CEO of Alcoa when Bill Clinton brokered a deal between Alcoa and Marc Rich to allow Alcoa to get raw materials at reasonable prices when no body else could get product period.

I believe O'Neil was an early off the record source for anti-Bush stories early in the administration.

5 posted on 02/20/2007 9:00:53 PM PST by gov_bean_ counter ( Who is the Democrat's George Galloway?)
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To: Irish Rose

I've been saying that Bush should ask Cheney to resign for health reasons and nominate Duncan Hunter for VP. Even if DH doesn't get ratified, the publicity will put him in tier1, and Bush manages to give the party a clear direction. It would be an appointment worth more than the supreme court.


6 posted on 02/20/2007 9:01:14 PM PST by Kevmo (The first labor of Huntercles: Defeating the 3-headed RINO)
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To: Irish Rose
OOPS!! Fixed it!

www.GoHunter08.com

7 posted on 02/20/2007 9:01:54 PM PST by BlueOneGolf (The 2nd Amendment...America's ORIGINAL Homeland Security! http://www.ar15.com)
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To: gov_bean_ counter

I'm pretty certain O'Neill wrote a negative book about the Bush Administration after he was fired. You're right, bad move.


8 posted on 02/20/2007 9:02:54 PM PST by Irish Rose (Will work for chocolate.)
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To: Irish Rose

First of all...the wackos in the USA hate Cheney more than they do Bush...

Second of all...anyone that Bush would want to be in Cheney's place wouldn't make anyone happy anyway.

Have you read the threads around here??? Bush is about as popular on FR as Hillary on most of them.


9 posted on 02/20/2007 9:03:36 PM PST by Txsleuth
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To: Irish Rose

The whole Bush entourage needs to go.


10 posted on 02/20/2007 9:04:46 PM PST by DTogo (I haven't left the GOP, the GOP left me.)
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To: Irish Rose
Usually, it has a clear frontrunner going into the process

That's just plain MSM speak trying to invent news. If there is a 'clear frontrunner' why bother to even hold the primaries?

It's not even March 2007 fer' Pete's sake.

11 posted on 02/20/2007 9:05:45 PM PST by quantim (Do not underestimate the evilness of the 'soccer mom.')
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To: Kevmo
Bush should ask Cheney to resign

The dems would parlay that into an admission of guiltiness regardless of reason, it would be disastrous.

12 posted on 02/20/2007 9:07:58 PM PST by quantim (Do not underestimate the evilness of the 'soccer mom.')
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To: Irish Rose
Republican Party has a huge problem going into 2008. Usually, it has a clear frontrunner

Duncan Hunter. Problem solved. Clear enough to me. RINO's don't count.

13 posted on 02/20/2007 9:08:06 PM PST by FreePoster
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To: quantim

I say, let them parlay. Cheney would get to go home early & get some good fishing in.


14 posted on 02/20/2007 9:09:38 PM PST by Kevmo (The first labor of Huntercles: Defeating the 3-headed RINO)
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To: Kevmo
Gloves off for a moment?

Rightly or Wrongly the last thing a candidate would want to be right now is associated very closely with the President. Weather it be Hunter or Giuliani etc., it would give them unnecessary baggage and limit there Independence.
15 posted on 02/20/2007 9:09:48 PM PST by spikeytx86 (Pray for Democrats for they have been brainwashed by their fruity little club.)
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To: Kevmo

Wow. Now that's a thought! Not sure what the redification process is, or what else is entailed. But isn't the President pretty much in charge of who he appoints?


16 posted on 02/20/2007 9:12:52 PM PST by gidget7 (2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:)
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To: spikeytx86

The last 2 years of the VP position in a 2-term administration is spent running his own agenda anyways. Hunter needs the exposure; Bush needs to be able to say he didn't leave the party in a lurch. Cheney needs a rest. We need some clarity. And the MSM needs a good reason to run some stories & sell newspapers.


17 posted on 02/20/2007 9:13:22 PM PST by Kevmo (The first labor of Huntercles: Defeating the 3-headed RINO)
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To: gidget7

The President can nominate whomever he wants, but there's some kind of ratification process in terms of a vote by the senate.


18 posted on 02/20/2007 9:14:19 PM PST by Kevmo (The first labor of Huntercles: Defeating the 3-headed RINO)
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To: spikeytx86

OK I must confess you have a point there!


19 posted on 02/20/2007 9:14:48 PM PST by gidget7 (2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:)
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To: Irish Rose

It just goes to show, it's always sumpthin!


20 posted on 02/20/2007 9:15:28 PM PST by Bean Counter (Reading the Columbian so that you don't have to...)
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To: Kevmo; spikeytx86

Thanks. spikeytx86 does have a point. I have encouraged folks I know to write the RNC and the NRCC, and tell them in plain English, no more money until they start promoting or supporting Hunter. If they don't, our contributions will go directly to the Hunter campaign.


21 posted on 02/20/2007 9:17:12 PM PST by gidget7 (2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:)
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To: gidget7

I think if you sign up with the GOP website you'll automatically be targeted with phone solicitations, where you can say exactly that.


22 posted on 02/20/2007 9:18:47 PM PST by Kevmo (The first labor of Huntercles: Defeating the 3-headed RINO)
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To: spikeytx86
Am I the only one around here that thinks the Bush Adm. has done a good job?

This president has done some good things that just about everyone forgets.

He's had no help from democrats and not much help from the stupid Republicans.

He has kept this country safe from another terrorist attack and he certainly has been a million times better than Clinton's.

How quickly we forget what the Clinton's did to this country.

Sheesh

23 posted on 02/20/2007 9:18:56 PM PST by BARLF
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To: BARLF

I believe I stated rightly or wrongly. It matters little what we think, but what the people in general think. And well they do not think very highly of GWB.


24 posted on 02/20/2007 9:21:08 PM PST by spikeytx86 (Pray for Democrats for they have been brainwashed by their fruity little club.)
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To: Irish Rose
Folks, name a vice president in recent times, regardless of party, who got elected president as an incumbent veep. Poppy Bush is it.
25 posted on 02/20/2007 9:22:58 PM PST by RichInOC ("Out! Out!"--St. Dogbert)
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To: Kevmo
Yes you will and I have. :) I also get many requests for contributions in the mail. I returned the last one with a letter explaining why there was no contribution.
26 posted on 02/20/2007 9:24:38 PM PST by gidget7 (2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:)
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To: BARLF
No you are by no means the only one!!

Most here feel the same way, it's just that those who don't, are the ones who tend to be the most vocal.
27 posted on 02/20/2007 9:25:58 PM PST by gidget7 (2Th 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:)
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To: Kevmo
That is absolutely ridiculous. Laughable even. That move would be so blatantly obvious and heavy handed, the press and primary voters would rebel and decimate Hunter or anyone else with this lamest of moves.

You have a very tin ear.

28 posted on 02/20/2007 9:26:14 PM PST by Dave W
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To: BARLF

No, you're not the only one. I think GWB has done a reasonably good job. Economy has been humming along, we haven't had a lot of terrorist attacks. I think he stumbled on immigration and winning the peace in Iraq, but he has certainly pursued solutions -- I just don't agree with them.


29 posted on 02/20/2007 9:27:19 PM PST by Kevmo (The first labor of Huntercles: Defeating the 3-headed RINO)
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To: RichInOC

And look who was incumbent president - Ronald Reagan, so popular he had crushed his last opponent in a 49-state landslide.


30 posted on 02/20/2007 9:32:37 PM PST by Irish Rose (Will work for chocolate.)
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To: Txsleuth
Post #9 posted on 02/20/2007 9:03:36 PM PST by Txsleuth: Have you read the threads around here??? Bush is about as popular on FR as Hillary on most of them.

Post #10 posted on 02/20/2007 9:04:46 PM PST by DTogo: The whole Bush entourage needs to go.

Point made and verified! LOL

31 posted on 02/20/2007 9:40:12 PM PST by etlib (No creature without tentacles has ever developed true intelligence)
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To: BARLF
Am I the only one around here that thinks the Bush Adm. has done a good job?

No, you aren't the only one. But who can figure out the priorities of the detractors. I could swear, reading the Rudy threads, that the most important issues to many people here are guns, gays and abortion. That yardstick, however, gets tossed when it comes to measuring the President and it's replaced with one marked with spending, the November elections, immigration, etc.

32 posted on 02/20/2007 9:43:24 PM PST by Dolphy
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To: Irish Rose
As they say in college football, "when you have two starting quarterback, you have no starting quarterback." Incredibly, every candidate in the top-tier is uniquely flawed--it's going to be incredibly hard for any one them to unite the party. I predict it is going to be a historical slug-fest.

Rudy, McCain, Newt, and Mitt are going to be the only choices. The early primary means that those with money are the only ones who are going to be viable. Newt stating that we will wait to the fall to decide is killing the 2nd tier candidates; Newt is freezing the field of lesser competitors making it difficult for them to raise money and to get traction.

Rudy does well because of McCain collapse. The better Rudy does the worse McCain will do and Rudy is golden on the WOT issue. Also, the better Newt does, the worse Romney will do and that is why I think Mitt is doing early advertisement because he knows Newt is going to wait--Mitt's only hope is to get some traction early.

With that being said, I don't see any of these candidates uniting the party. I would hope Mitt does it, but I think I see Mitt has an extra burden placed on him--all politicians flip flop, but if you don't like a politician for other reasons (religion), you just are even more eager to emphasize this symptom of all politicians (come on, he ran for Massachussets! You have to make some distasteful concessions to win!). Rudy's liberal positions will hurt him with Social Conservatives. McCain will never reconcile himself with the activist base. And finally Newt, while looked at favorably, is burdened unfairly by the media image and some hard to explain in the sound-bite era of personal-life issues. Yikes!

Personally, I think Mitt's issues are the easiest to overcome, because I think historically if one flips to the positions that the base wants they have always forgiven and accepted those kinds of changes.
33 posted on 02/20/2007 9:52:30 PM PST by nowandlater
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To: Irish Rose

Cheney 2008


34 posted on 02/20/2007 9:56:04 PM PST by Ronaldus Magnus
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To: nowandlater

Rudy is golden on the WOT issue.
***Rudy doesn't get it. The WOT issue is becoming linked to illegal immigration as a security threat, and Rudy is soft on illegal aliens, among other things.


35 posted on 02/20/2007 9:57:54 PM PST by Kevmo (The first labor of Huntercles: Defeating the 3-headed RINO)
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To: nowandlater

Brilliant analysis.


36 posted on 02/20/2007 9:59:00 PM PST by Dave W
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To: Kevmo
I used to contribute >$500 a year to the RNC. No longer. They are a total waste of my money due to their incompetency, and they are gutless wonders.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

37 posted on 02/20/2007 9:59:50 PM PST by Cobra64 (www.BulletBras.net)
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To: gidget7
My only criticism of W is not enforcing the immigration laws which:

--- Allows an avenue for terrorists to walk across our borders

---Cost the taxpayers billions of dollars

The other issue is not vetoeing tremendous spending bills.

38 posted on 02/20/2007 10:06:25 PM PST by Cobra64 (www.BulletBras.net)
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To: Irish Rose
One big problem with this entire line of thought is that part of the reason President Bush could be elected is that Dick Cheney didn't drive away Republican voters. Many of us don't want the party to become what Rudy Giuliani or John McCain would make it. If someone like one of them had been the Vice-President, maybe President Bush wouldn't have won in 2000 or 2004. We could unite to win then because we didn't have to face this debate at that time.

Another big problem with this line of thought is the mistaken belief that a tough primary hurts a candidate. The truth is that the most successful candidates in the general election often come from tough primaries. The last really big primary comeback was in 1992 when Bill Clinton absorbed some early losses to win the nomination. That hard-fought primary gave the Democrats eight years in the White House. Before that, one of the biggest primary comebacks was in 1980 when Ronald Reagan came back after losing early primaries. He went on to a big win that kept the Republicans in the White House for 12 years and arguably for 20 of the last 28 years.

The problem for the Republicans will not be a tough primary. The problem will only be the failure to find a good candidate. I haven't seen a candidate who shows that strength, but having a weak candidate as the heir apparent in the V.P. position wouldn't solve the problem either.

Bill

39 posted on 02/20/2007 10:07:13 PM PST by WFTR (Liberty isn't for cowards)
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To: Irish Rose

President Dick Cheney ... It works for me!


40 posted on 02/20/2007 10:14:16 PM PST by WOSG (The 4-fold path to save America - Think right, act right, speak right, vote right!)
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To: Dave W

At this point we can afford to be blatantly obvious. It would be easy to avoid the heavy handedness allegations because even Saturday Night Live gets chuckles with Dick Cheney having a heart attack after every meeting -- I'm surprised he made it this far. If he has no dog in the hunt, then let someone put in their dog.


41 posted on 02/20/2007 10:36:32 PM PST by Kevmo (The first labor of Huntercles: Defeating the 3-headed RINO)
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To: Kevmo

Wait, what, the WOT is "becoming" linked to illegal immigration?!! It is already DIRECTLY linked. Not this current administration nor the next one will understand that. They will ALL act tough against terrorism, but probably no politician truly means it. We still haven't won the War on Drugs. It's been a couple of decades and a few trillion dollars. Yet, we haven't made any progress in that war. POLITICS!


42 posted on 02/20/2007 10:36:35 PM PST by TheLebowskiDude
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To: TheLebowskiDude


Wait, what, the WOT is "becoming" linked to illegal immigration?!! It is already DIRECTLY linked. Not this current administration nor the next one will understand that. They will ALL act tough against terrorism, but probably no politician truly means it.

***We have a candidate who has some true grit on these items, as well as depth on other issues. Check out Duncan Hunter.

http://www.gohunter08.com/


43 posted on 02/20/2007 10:42:36 PM PST by Kevmo (The first labor of Huntercles: Defeating the 3-headed RINO)
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To: BARLF

Put me down as one that agrees with you.

This man has been attacked from day one, each and EVERY day. The lib Traitors, backed up by MSM, have done a good job of bringing him down.

Unfortunately, many of those that once backed him have bought off on the media propaganda and now stand ready to stab him the back....even if it brings this country down. I have nothing but disgust for those craven lickspittles.

While I do disagree with some of his decisions, I believe that he has worked his rear off for people that don't deserve the effort.



I will back President Bush until the sun burns out.


44 posted on 02/20/2007 11:00:24 PM PST by Gator113
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To: BARLF

I think it depends on what you're smoking...


45 posted on 02/20/2007 11:07:39 PM PST by streetpreacher (What if you're wrong?)
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To: Kevmo

Majority vote is required in both the House and Senate to confirm a VPOTUS.


46 posted on 02/20/2007 11:29:01 PM PST by RWR8189 (Support the Republican Study Committee)
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To: gidget7

Congressman don't have any chance of being elected president so Hunter is dead on arrival !


47 posted on 02/20/2007 11:44:31 PM PST by america-rules
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To: Irish Rose

To write an article about Cheney not being a candidate in 2008 and failing to make even a passing mention that his health may be a factor in the non-candidacy is simply amazing.


48 posted on 02/20/2007 11:45:17 PM PST by Dahoser (Never question Mr. Nibbles!)
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To: Irish Rose
This writer starts with a fallacious assumption that Cheney is a "Yes" man and that all Presidential cabinets are filled with "Yes" men who fear losing their positions.

I think this is incorrect. The President is the captain of a team. He puts that team together. He picks people who can get done what he asks them to (with some attention being paid to the network of each appointee), who generally agree with his policies, and who, when they disagree, do so in a way that perfects a plan, not countermands it.

This is far different from "yesmanism" which is nothing more than the pretension of sycophants going along with what they may think is wrong and doing so mainly for their own benefit.

I don't think Cheney is a Yesman and I disagree with the writer's conclusion, which is a veiled attack on the President. I think Bush has cared too much about including his political opponents in his decisions and in the execution of those decisions, that they saw this as a weakness, and like the hyenas they are, they swarmed in on him when they smelled blood.
49 posted on 02/20/2007 11:57:26 PM PST by Ghost of Philip Marlowe (Liberals are blind. They are the dupes of Leftists who know exactly what they're doing.)
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To: All

Why are there so many whiny wimps crying about a contested primary? I wasn't alive in 1980, but from what I know, it was a bitter fight between Reagan and Bush and probably a few others. And we came out better for it.


50 posted on 02/21/2007 12:00:15 AM PST by Democratshavenobrains
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