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Cheney WILL be replaced

via The Political Wire, I see there's another rumor that Cheney will be off the ticket, replaced with Rudy Giuliani.

One of my big things now is to avoid making predictions. But I think it is a very safe bet that Cheney will be booted from the ticket when Bush needs a boost. Continually affirming that he will be on the ticket is fine for now, it actually helps make it more of a news event when it happens. And it frees Bush to make news by going in whatever direction he wants for a replacement -- toward a less-polarizing figure if need be, or a woman, or a particular state if necessary.

Cheney's health is a perfect excuse. He can have his doctor say he's perfectly healthy but that he's advised against the stress of another four years. Cheney's never helped Bush electorally, and at this point, he himself is the source of so many of the administration's screw-ups and crimes that he certainly ought to be a negative.

As for the replacement, I've always thought it would be Senator Frist. He's a doctor, from a border state, he's got the record of accomplishment, breaking the gridlock in Congress (even if it's only been to pass horrible, disastrous legislation -- at least he gets something done!)

Giuliani is an interesting idea, and it would be another way to remind people of 9/11, and have a triumphal coronation at the New York convention. But with the right as angry as it is right now, I don't think they'll take that lying down. Plus, Giuliani is one of those people who shouldn't be vice president of anything.

Fortunately, Condoleeza Rice is too tainted by the Iraq scandals and Colin Powell is just counting the days until he can wash his hands of this administration.

The only caveat to this is whether the Bush crowd is really serious about grooming Jeb Bush for the presidency. I tend to look on those stories as skeptically as I look at the various Hilary Clinton schemes, which is to say, very skeptically. But if so, they won't want to set up Frist or someone like that as a potential rival.

Posted by Mark Schmitt on January 27, 2004 | Permalink


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This is facinating stuff, and finding here is one reason why this is quickly becoming my favorite blog to read...great job. My first thought is that I want to see Cheney as the Vice-Presidential candidate, but I don't want to see Cheney as Vice-President.

A switch would create a lot of uncertainty about what a second Bush term would look like, but it would still be very difficult for Bush to run away from his record.

I have always seen Cheney as the perfect VP for Bush because he is the placeholder for Jeb in 2008. However as that becomes more realistic you can see how Bush will have a harder time controlling his party without an heir apparent in the administration. There is an interesting question of political control or family goodwill at work here.

As for who is an acceptable replacement, Giuliani would be a very interesting choice, but I would bet that he has made a variety of statements that would really rub the GOP base the wrong way while trying to be liked by New Yorkers. If GWB is going to try to use Gay Marriage, Family Values, and Religion as major issues you have to think that there will be some uncomfortable questions for Rudy to answer.

In the end I would not put it past this adminstration to find someone popular, interesting yet unqualified and just put them up on the ticket knowing that person has no chance of winning a GOP primary race...anyone know JC Watts' phone number?

Posted by: Rich | Jan 27, 2004 8:28:34 PM

Giuliani would be out of his league in a national race. I'd love to see Bush run with him, but I can't imagine it happening for our host's stated reasons.

Tough call other than Frist, though. I have no idea. Sen. Warner? Owens of CO, though he might be strong in 08 for Jeb. Racicot?

I'm happy to run against any of 'em.

Posted by: Crab Nebula | Jan 27, 2004 10:57:22 PM

John Danforth?

The right wing of the party (through Rove) will never let it be Rudy. Frist makes more sense, particularly given his closeness to the President.

Posted by: Stuart | Jan 27, 2004 11:11:50 PM

Condi, Condi, Condi. Please let it be Condi.
Fortunately the only people who feel "Condoleeza Rice is too tainted by the Iraq scandals" are the people on the left who would never vote for Bush in the first place. She's intelligent, articulate and good looking but most importantly she's the type of conservative that reflects mainstream American values: Not too far right on the wrong issues, not too far left on the right ones. What's more she would give proof to the lie that the Republican Party is exclusionary. (As if looking at the Bush cabinet compared to that of Clinton isn't proof enough.)

Unfortunately I think your assesment is probably correct on Giulianni though. It's my understanding that he is already scheduled to be in Iowa this month (if he hasn't been already) to "speak" to some business organizations. I admire the man but would much prefer Condoleeza Rice over him or anyone else. Frankly "New York Republican" seems a bit of an oxymoran anyway (Jack Kemp excluded of course) but the ties to September 11th cannot be ignored and I'm certain it will be a deciding factor if Cheney does step aside.

BTW. Great site. Our politics don't match but I think our love of discussing them honestly does. I hope to return soon.

Posted by: Barnabas Sackett | Jan 28, 2004 8:47:45 AM

For some time now, I've wondered whether Cheney will be on the '04 ticket. He does have serious negatives, any of which could get much stronger in the next six months, and the health excuse is always available; who knows, it may even be real. And of course, he could remain on board as an "advisor," with a WH office just like Rove or Karen Hughes.

Giuliani will never be on a GOP ticket. The Republican party isn't going to anoint a pro-choice president or veep in the next five years, and after that Rudy will be too old. Same goes for Pataki, and for any current GOP woman.

Jeb's really not the problem here. I doubt that he's planning to be president in 2009, even though he'll have access to the formidable Bush political machine, and could well overcome a sitting veep. But if GWB wins, the prospect of him handing the WH keys to Jeb may be too dynastic for voters to swallow. And if GWB loses, Jeb is probably finished; there'll be little enthusiasm for risking another one-term Bush anytime soon. In any case, Jeb is only 51, young enough to be viable in '12 or '16. His quandary is what to do with himself until then.

Frist is the likely favorite, and Danforth's not out of the question, but there are lots of possibilities in the Senate. Allen of VA, Bond of MO, DeWine or Voinovich of OH, Graham of SC (if he can find a wife ASAP), even Santorum -- all these and more might be considered, depending on how Rove decides to play things. Among governors, I see no strong prospects. Owens has been thought of as a rising star, but very recently he's had unspecified but apparently quite serious problems with his marriage.

Posted by: penalcolony | Jan 28, 2004 9:21:33 AM

Barnabas, you have a very limited view of Rice, IMO.

What the Bush administration practices with regards to appointments like Rice is called "affirmative action". On paper she's reasonably qualified, but no more so than hundreds of others. They elevated her for symbolic and strategic reasons. She's an utter mediocrity, as her statements and actions prove.

Posted by: Crab Nebula | Jan 28, 2004 12:57:23 PM

I love it when Republicans point to Powell and Rice as "proof" of their party's openness to minorities.

Here's all the proof you need: The Republicans have not a single black elected official in the federal government. Not one.

The last one, J.C. Watts, retired, saying for the record as he went that his party was not in fact doing a very good job of being "inclusive."

Consider yourself checkmated.

Posted by: Jim J | Jan 28, 2004 3:36:27 PM

I love it that when the left disagree's with republican minorities they try to claim that they've gotten their positions through affirmative action or tokenism, not because they are qualified. I'm sure it makes it a whole lot of fun to be a black conservative only to have white liberals label you as an unqualified token, and black liberals an Uncle Tom. How "included" in the public forum they must feel.

To point out that there are zero black republicans elected to federal office as some sort of proof of a lack of support is absurd. The electoral process is completely different and infinitely more difficult for black conservatives. If they run in the Urban areas that are predominantly liberal in the first place, they would never win. If they run in the suburban areas they have just as difficult a time (depending on the suburb) and have to face "open minded" people like Crab who will assume they were either a token or a Tom.

Finally, consider yourself checkmated my friend because it is the Democratic Party - those stewards of the poor, the disenfranchised and the minorities - that proudly stand behind such healers of the racial divide as Robert Byrd and Fritz Hollings. Both ex Klansmen, both liberal democrats. So if you want to do some counting, count the number of Republican ex Klansmen: Zero. Is that to say all Democrats are racist? No. Am I saying no Republicans are racist? Certainly not. I'm simply pointing out the hipocrasy of the left in their constent portrayal of conservatives as knuckle-dragging racists. Legitimate, qualified conservative candidates come in all colors and creeds because and JC Watts, Condoleeza Rice, Clarence Thomas, Colin Powell DO prove it.

So add that to the long list of why Condi would be the perfect heir apparent to the Presidency. (Which is the topic at hand.)


Posted by: Barnabas Sackett | Jan 29, 2004 8:59:10 AM

Give it up, Barney -- or dream on, if you'd rather. Condi is indeed smart -- smart enough to know she's riding a tiger. In nearly every interview I've seen her give (the most recent being this morning's faceoff with Matt Lauer), her voice is all a-tremble. And Condi is mercenary, too. Come 01/20/05, she'll be off to the tall corporate/academic grass, and an even taller salary, never again to be seen in the WH, let alone the California governor's mansion.

Posted by: penalcolony | Jan 29, 2004 11:57:58 AM

I think you will be proved right about Cheney only if Bush continues to sag in the polls. But I have the feeling that Frist's performance in the Senate is not hugely admired in his Party, and that it will not be him. Bringing Giuliani in seems unlikely too because he is too moderate.
It will be a real bizzaro/wacko from the Right.

Posted by: Bob H | Jan 29, 2004 1:32:59 PM

Regarding Frist, I think he'd be a good option for Bush-- there is strong evidence that he really delivered the 2002 elections for Bush, he is perceived as a moderate, he's a doctor! (Not that his Hippocratic Oath has stopped him from signing off on this train wreck of a Medicare Bill.) On the other hand, (and when Lott stepped down, TNR wrote a good piece on this) the Repub Majority leader tends to take lots of heat for compromise and unpopular legislation, which makes Frist an invaluable lightning rod for criticism on the left and the right. Condi-- no way. The wingers-- Paul Weyreich, et. al, are very annoyed with Bush because of the Patriot Act, etc. I doubt they would sit back and let him nominate a woman. Bush now has little to lose by picking someone who is similar to him in his conservatism-- he believes that the country has shifted right, and Her Karl probably agrees.

I'd love to see GW nominate someone who is fairly credible in the Party-- Arlen Specter leaps to mind, but the stauch hardliners are already threatening to slip the fold. I'd look for Bush to leave his rising stars in place-- Romney, Frist, Coleman, Santorum, Barbour and go for the unexpected. Kay Bailey Hutchinson? another one of his father's recycled hacks? William Cohen?

The only positive thing about Rove is that he is never dull.

Posted by: Ellen Donovan | Jan 30, 2004 8:45:48 AM

It won't be Guiliani because he doesn't get to be St. Rudy until he slays the dragon - Hilary. If he beats her for US Senate in '06, then he'd be acceptable to, though not favored by, the right wing of the Party.

If Bush goes by geography, it'll be a midwesterner.

Posted by: Anthony | Jan 30, 2004 9:09:48 PM

George Sr.

Posted by: Neal | Feb 3, 2004 5:12:50 PM

Recent news seems to make ditching Cheney look more and more likely...but at the same time the health excuse is going to look less and less plausible.

Posted by: Rich | Feb 6, 2004 12:59:41 AM

About Giuliani: Apparently you guys don't realize that he actually lived with a gay couple for many months---if not over a year---during his marital troubles, when he was avoiding Gracie Mansion.
He is POISON to the right wing.

Posted by: marky | Feb 7, 2004 10:35:22 PM

Oh cmon. Knowing, working with and or living with gay people is not poison to the right wing. The inclination to raise taxes is poison to the right wing. I would argue that the marital problems he had would be more of a "poison" but only because the left would start screaming "hypocrisy" from day one.
The gay issue is only an issue to the right when it comes to advancing the "gay agenda" which itself is only problematic when the issue of gay marriage and "Heather has two Mommies" comes up. If being friends with gay people was an eliminating factor we ("the right") wouldn't have anyone to vote for.

Posted by: Barnabas Sackett | Feb 9, 2004 8:37:42 AM

Let me get this straight. We are talking about the same Rudy Giuiliani who is married three times, showed up to the Gay and Lesbian parade in drag, supports open borders, and supported ultra-liberal Mario Cuomo. He is poison to the party and the Democrats would have a field day with him. Cheney has bad health, and has said he supports gay unions because of his lesbian daughter, so, I don't see conservatives giving him a nod. It definitely wouldn't be 70 year old Rumsfeld or the most-hated John Ashcroft. And McCain would be way too old to be a good consideration. And I don't seriously see Jeb running. The only viable candidates I see are Powell or Rice.

Posted by: AD | Feb 13, 2004 2:57:07 AM

Bush should pick McCain. McCain could keep the Republicans in office for the next 12 years.

Posted by: Steve | Jun 16, 2004 6:17:11 PM

McCain announced right before the Democratic National Convention would steal Kerry's thunder, take away the power of Edwards' oratory and effectively wrap up the nomination for the Bush/McCain team. The only question is, "Would McCain compromise himself enough to accept?" He would have to swallow some pride, but it would give him a great shot in 2008. We'll see what happens.

Posted by: Mannix | Jul 7, 2004 1:42:09 AM


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