A GOP Plot to Oust Cheney
WaPo’s Sally Quinn conjures a plan among Republican leaders in the Congress to replace Vice President Cheney with Fred Thompson.
The big question right now among Republicans is how to remove Vice President Cheney from office. Even before this week’s blockbuster series in The Post, discontent in Republican ranks was rising.
Who are these Republicans for whom this is a big question? None are mentioned.
As the reputed architect of the war in Iraq, Cheney is viewed as toxic, and as the administration’s leading proponent of an attack on Iran, he is seen as dangerous. As long as he remains vice president, according to this thinking, he has the potential to drag down every member of the party — including the presidential nominee — in next year’s elections.
There’s not much doubt that Cheney is “viewed as toxic” and that there are plenty of Republicans who would like to be shed of that baggage. George W. Bush, however, does not seem to be among them.
Removing a sitting vice president is not easy, but this may be the moment. I remember Barry Goldwater sitting in my parents’ living room in 1973, in the last days of Watergate, debating whether to lead a group of senior Republicans to the White House to tell President Nixon he had to go. His hesitation was that he felt loyalty to the president and the party. But in the end he felt a greater loyalty to his country, and he went to the White House.
Today, another group of party elders, led by Sen. John Warner of Virginia, could well do the same. They could act out of concern for our country’s plummeting reputation throughout the world, particularly in the Middle East.
Well, sure, they could. In the case of Goldwater, though, it was rather obvious that the person in question had committed serious crimes and had just been ordered by a unanimous Supreme Court to hand over the smoking gun. That’s just not the case with Cheney.
After mulling over the possible replacements, she settles on a choice:
That leaves Fred Thompson. Everybody loves Fred. He has the healing qualities of Gerald Ford and the movie-star appeal of Ronald Reagan. He is relatively moderate on social issues. He has a reputation as a peacemaker and a compromiser. And he has a good sense of humor.
He could be just the partner to bring out Bush’s better nature — or at least be a sensible voice of reason. I could easily imagine him telling the president, “For God’s sake, do not push that button!” — a command I have a hard time hearing Cheney give.
Not only that, Thompson would give the Republicans a platform for running for the presidency — and the president a way out of Iraq without looking like he’s backing down. Bush would be left in better shape on the war and be able to concentrate on AIDS and the environment in hopes of salvaging his legacy.
Likable or no, how does installing Fred Thompson as veep make it easier to get out of Iraq? “No, I’m not backing down — just listening to good ol’ Fred!” And, please, does Quinn really think Bush is going to “concentrate on AIDS and the environment” if he suddenly managed to get out of Iraq?
This has to be the dumbest thing I’ve seen from a major journalist in quite some time.