Skip to comments.Republicans' Cheney Problem
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.
Interesting article. Not sure I fully agree with its conclusion however.
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?
I believe O'Neil was an early off the record source for anti-Bush stories early in the administration.
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.
I'm pretty certain O'Neill wrote a negative book about the Bush Administration after he was fired. You're right, bad move.
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.
The whole Bush entourage needs to go.
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.
The dems would parlay that into an admission of guiltiness regardless of reason, it would be disastrous.
Duncan Hunter. Problem solved. Clear enough to me. RINO's don't count.
I say, let them parlay. Cheney would get to go home early & get some good fishing in.
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?
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.
The President can nominate whomever he wants, but there's some kind of ratification process in terms of a vote by the senate.
OK I must confess you have a point there!
It just goes to show, it's always sumpthin!
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.
I think if you sign up with the GOP website you'll automatically be targeted with phone solicitations, where you can say exactly that.
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.
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.
You have a very tin ear.
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.
And look who was incumbent president - Ronald Reagan, so popular he had crushed his last opponent in a 49-state landslide.
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
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.
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.
--- 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.
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.
President Dick Cheney ... It works for me!
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.
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!
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.
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.
I think it depends on what you're smoking...
Majority vote is required in both the House and Senate to confirm a VPOTUS.
Congressman don't have any chance of being elected president so Hunter is dead on arrival !
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.
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.