February 27, 2006

"Big Time" To Retire Next Year? Don't Bet On It.

In what is obviously a trial balloon being floated by some Senior GOP operatives, there is speculation in Insight Magazine - the companion to the Washington Times - that the VP will be "persuaded to step down" after the mid-term elections because he is viewed in some circles as a liability to the President.

OK, a liability to what? Bush's reelection? Obviously not.

Here's all you need to know about this story:

The sources reported a growing rift between the president and vice president as well as their staffs. They cited Mr. Cheney's failure to immediately tell the president of the accidental shooting of the vice president's hunting colleague earlier this month. The White House didn't learn of the incident until 18 hours later.

Mr. Cheney's next crisis could take place by the end of the year, the sources said. They said the White House was expecting Mr. Cheney to defend himself against charges from his former chief of staff, Lewis Libby, that the vice president ordered him to relay classified information. Such a charge could lead to a congressional investigation and even impeachment proceedings.

"Nothing will happen until after the congressional elections," a GOP source said. "After that, there will be significant changes in the administration and Cheney will probably be part of that."

The money quote there is "as well as their staffs". That's really what it's about. Cheney has been a trusted advisor to the President since the announcement that he was to be Bush's VP candidate. Nothing has changed in that respect. The President is excruciatingly loyal to his inner circle, as long as they reciprocate. Nothing Cheney has done can be charactarized as disloyalty to Bush personally.

What you're seeing here is a minor turf war between staffers who think they have more influence than they really do. And the people driving this are those hot shots who would hope to be on the staff of whomever would be Cheney's replacement - giving them an inside track to the Oval Office in 2008.

If anyone is not going to be around anymore after the 2006 elections, it'll probably be that "GOP source" quoted above. Because what he or she did - off-the-record rumor-mongering - is exactly the kind of thing that would get you kicked out of this White House. This little parlor-game speculation will persist for the next year or so, it's come up before. But as Cheney has said he "serves at the pleasure of the President", not some little piss-ant staffer who dislikes him.

Rest assured, Cheney will be Vice-President until Innauguration Day 2009 - much to the consternation of those who see him as the "Anti-Christ".

Posted by: Gary at 04:55 PM | Comments (14) | Add Comment
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1 This is a shrewd move by the Republicans and bad news for Democrats. Whoever is chosen to replace Cheney will be much better situated to defeat the next Democratic Presidential candidate than any conceivable Republican otherwise would have been. I am surprised the pundits are fixating on this angle.

Posted by: Luke Lea at February 27, 2006 08:40 PM (p5iRa)

2 New poll numbers today - Bush sets record low. There is no GOP frontrunner for 2008. If the 2006 elections go sour watch for Cheney to take early retirement. Bush won't want to a lame duck for his last two years. What else can he do to look like he is doing something?

Posted by: save_the_rustbelt at February 27, 2006 09:42 PM (kdsAK)

3 Actually there is a front runner thus far - John McCain. He handily beats any Democrat - including Hillary - in every head to head match-up poll. But that's beside the point. Bush knew when he chose Cheney that Cheney wasn't going to run. In fact, nobody from his administration will likely run. Rice has said no as well. He is giving the GOP a gift: The chance for a healthy competition among a new batch of Republicans - none of whom can be painted with any negatives from this administration. The field is pretty full, too. My personal choice would be Sen. George Allen of VA. What do the Democrats have? Hillary, past losers (Gore, Kerry, Dean), left-wing Senators like Russ Feingold and former Gov. Mark Warner who won't get any support from the moonbat base. And HRC isn't about to let her one chance slip by. She'll destroy the competition and get destroyed in the general election. And Bush will be back on his ranch. And Cheney will be home in Wyoming. And they'll both be laughing about the whole thing.

Posted by: Gary at February 27, 2006 10:24 PM (IGv1j)

4 Fascist swine Cheney is history. So is Karl Rove. By the way. Tomorrow is my birthday, and I already got a present I've been waiting for since...forEVAH. And that is Bush's numbers. Finally down to 34 percent. I say, about time. (No, I'm not going to tell you how old I am. But I will share with you that every single one of my childhood tormentors/abusers is now either DEAD or in an insititution for the criminally insane, or prison.) Bottom line: He who laughs last, laughs best. The days of the Republican fascist swine are numbered. I can feel the earth moving beneath my feet. John Palcewski http://www.palcewski.com/

Posted by: John Palcewski at February 28, 2006 02:40 AM (7AXdx)

5 John, you forgot you meds again. You should probably double the dose next time to make up for it.

Posted by: Gary at February 28, 2006 07:05 AM (IGv1j)

6 I agree with you Gary. The chances of Cheney retiring are very slim.

Posted by: the Ugly American at February 28, 2006 11:12 AM (TEE0r)

7 The powers of the undead are loosed on the earth. There's no stopping the bionic man. If Cheney didn't exist and somebody wrote a book or screenplay depicting a vice-president who pulls all the strings, lives underground in an undisclosed location, travels with an ambulance and a team of medics, finds recreation in driving to a "hunting" location and blowing away hundreds of cage-raised quail, shoots somebody in the face then blames the victim, etc. etc., it would be considered too farfetched. The truth is really stranger than fiction.

Posted by: Randy at February 28, 2006 11:52 AM (XruVB)

8 This is a shrewd move by the Republicans and bad news for Democrats. Whoever is chosen to replace Cheney will be much better situated to defeat the next Democratic Presidential candidate than any conceivable Republican otherwise would have been. - What have you been smoking? No one in their right mind would want to bring themselves closer to Dubya if they have a remote chance in 2008. -RP

Posted by: Richard Perle at February 28, 2006 05:21 PM (BxYE5)

9 'But as Cheney has said he "serves at the pleasure of the President", not some little piss-ant staffer who dislikes him.' I'd like to see the source for this quote. If he really said that he serves at the pleasure of the President, it shows a profound ignorance of the nature of his office. Does he really not understand that he was elected to it?

Posted by: turningfool at March 01, 2006 01:04 PM (x/2qm)

10 Actually, Cheney has said this many times - every time they speculate that he'll retire. Here is one instance in particular: http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/1002/102102nj1.htm Scroll to the end: "In August [2002], Cheney said publicly that he's quite ready to run again with Bush - provided Bush wants him to. This was widely seen as an effort to quell worries about his health. But earlier in the summer, in a quiet moment in his office, Cheney was asked the same question. "Like everybody else," he said, "I serve at the pleasure of the president." If you do a google search on that quote you'll find it's been said by many administration officials including Colin Powell and Andy Card. I think he understands full well that he was elected to the office of VP. But nobody voted for the bottom of that ticket. Bush is the boss and he runs that administration. Cheney stays or goes on Bush's say-so. Spiro Agnew resigned the Vice-Presidency in 1973. You don't think that wasn't Nixon's call?

Posted by: Gary at March 01, 2006 01:49 PM (PLHs9)

11 Anyone who thinks Dubya's gonna dump Dick doesn't understand what is going on in the White House and Congress. This isn't partisan power politics anymore. Dubya got past 2004 so politically, he is in "What? Me worry?" mode. Dub and Dick are out to change the "soul" of the US Government. Those two feel they have a free hand to fundamentally change the role of the presidency into a much more powerful and autonomous entity. And they are garroting the two party system and any opposition to do it. The next two years may very well result in a significant Constitutional crisis. To some this will be the taking back of government from the "L" folks. To others, what is left of the democracy bequethed by the Founding Parents is in significant jeopardy of becoming a nationalist fascist state. Scary times when the guys on top don't give a damn about what people think about what they are doing and don't have to worry about retribution from the ballot box. :shock:

Posted by: zippy at March 01, 2006 02:03 PM (OxI/Y)

12 The only way Cheney will step down is if he is indicted by Fitzpatrick. Other than that, Bush is nominally in charge - but Cheney is basically running the country in it's day-to-day details. Bush wouldn't even speak to the 9/11 comission without him. Cheney's possibly the most powerful veep in history, and there's no way he'd give that up.

Posted by: jim at March 01, 2006 05:55 PM (hqYD2)

13 Gary, I was pointing to the distinction between an elected official like Cheney, who the President does not have a legal power to fire, and appointed officials such as Powell and Card, who he does have the legal power to fire. The phrase "I serve at the pleasure of the President," popularized on the West Wing, has been previously applied only to those who the President can hire and fire at will. Of course the reality of it may be that the Pres can successfully press a VP to resign, but if the VP were to refuse, the Pres does not have the power to fire him. There have been past presidents who would have liked to get rid of their VP's, but were unable to do so. The phrase is badly and misleadingly used by Mr. Cheney, in a way that is contrary to law. Perhaps it's more of a semantic point than one about current power relations. My own prediction: Cheney resigns soon after the November elections, claiming health reasons. Dubya appoints Jeb. The Bushies don't want McCain; they do want to continue their dynasty.

Posted by: turningfool at March 01, 2006 09:33 PM (x/2qm)

14 turnignfool: Just confirms what a psychologist speculated a month or so ago about Dubya's personality. For lack of a better concept descriptor, he has the ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in political matters because of his singular focus. I don't think the Conservatives would accept a Bush III. What's the old 'ism-Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, Shame on me. Certainly, the Democrats would not take that passively. And given the the manner through which a tenuous Bush victory in 04 after a non-victory in 2000 was achieved, I don't think Jeb could garner the support of that fragile coalition, or maybe fortuitious crossing of stars, the Dubya had. Besides that Fitzerald is after his folks in Ohio. I don't think there are that many votes in Ohio to steal......

Posted by: zippy at March 02, 2006 10:09 AM (akHM/)

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