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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Cheney Go Home

Take the hint,Dick

Bush's third term

April 23, 2006

Administration initiated last week will re-energize his listless presidency, he's bound to be disappointed. A far more audacious makeover is needed — one that sends Vice President Dick Cheney into early retirement.

Second terms are notoriously difficult for presidents. For President Bush, it has been disastrous. His swaggering November 2004 news conference — at which he bragged "I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it" — seems from another era. Whatever political capital existed he has squandered with the Iraq war, the Valerie Plame leak inquiry and his ill-advised plan to partly privatize Social Security. His one victory — getting two reliable conservative jurists on the U.S. Supreme Court — is no doubt an enduring one. But there's nothing else.

Hence the yearning for a fresh start, the illusion of a third term. Ronald Reagan, another president hobbled by a second-term scandal, did manage to jump-start his presidency in its last years by bringing new players into his inner circle and engaging in ambitious arms-reduction talks with the Soviets.

Alas, Bush doesn't seem inclined to be that bold. The president has named a new chief of staff and budget director, but this is a merely a case of old loyalists getting new titles. The White House also sent much-pummeled press secretary Scott McClellan packing and, in what seems more like truth in packaging than a real change, relieved arch-political operator Karl Rove of his responsibilities for domestic policy.

It's expected that other heads will soon roll from the Cabinet Room — but not that of seemingly fireproof Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. The ax is rumored to fall on Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, considered a lackluster evangelist for the president's economic policies.


Yes, that means dismissing Rumsfeld. The secretary should go not because he has been criticized by a group of retired generals but because he embodies the smugness and inability to acknowledge error that has characterized both the Iraq war and the wider war on terrorism. Rumsfeld has been the pinched public face of an administration that has cut legal and humanitarian corners in dealing with people — including U.S. citizens — suspected of involvement with terrorists.

Suppose Bush didn't stop there. Suppose he also asked Cheney, his mentor and friend but an even more polarizing figure than Rumsfeld, to step down.

We know the objections. The vice president is not a mere presidential appointee but an elected constitutional officer. In choosing a replacement, Bush might be pressured to predetermine the outcome of the 2008 Republican presidential race by anointing one would-be successor over another. Throwing Cheney overboard would be an implicit repudiation of the excessively hawkish foreign policy with which the vice president, even more than Rumsfeld, has been associated.

Unlike most vice presidents, Cheney does not aspire to be president, and he is the consummate Bush loyalist. He would not be giving up a political birthright by agreeing to retire (citing health reasons or a concern about the publicity surrounding the trial of his former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby). And the problem of taking sides in the 2008 election is easily solved. Bush could nominate as Cheney's successor an elder party statesman — Bob Dole, anyone? — with no interest in the 2008 nomination.

We even have an answer to the complaint that in jettisoning Cheney, Bush would be repudiating his own record. The truth is that the president, however grudgingly, has recognized that he and the administration made mistakes in the run-up to the war in Iraq and in its aftermath. He has not confessed that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake, but he has acknowledged with increasing explicitness that he was wrong to believe that Saddam Hussein harbored weapons of mass destruction..


Having changed his tune, the president should also think about changing the company he keeps — big time, as Dick Cheney would say.

And in more wishful thinking.....................

Cheney is Bush's albatross. He hangs from his neck and Bush, in need of daddy and mommy figures, keeps these people around, even when they ensure his legacy willbe between Grant and Buchanan.

I believe two things: one, Cheney's health is worse than we think. That whole quail hunting incident hung on Cheney's poor physical health. His inappropriate dress at Auschwitz, his use of a cane, Cheney is not a well man.

two: Bush is mentally fragile. He lives in a bubble because he cannot confront unpleasant facts. If pushed hard enough by events, he's going to crack. While I wouldn't bet on impeachment, which I think is certain if the GOP loses as badly as predicted in November, I don't see him lasting the year, much less his full term. Why? I don't think he can handle the mental stress of overt failure. If Iraq falls apart,Congress stops acting like a rubber stamp, Bush, who has been shielded from failure and it's consequences, his entire life, cannot handle it. Which is why he has his mommies. I think Josh Bolten is going to get a rather nasty surprise when he tries to dump Harriet Miers.

Bush came in shady and will go out ugly and it won't be in January,2009 unless he's luckier than he's ever been in his life. Bush has never finished anything he started. He either walked away, got bailed out or just stop showing up. Why should this be any different

posted by Steve @ 4:05:00 PM

4:05:00 PM

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