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Dick Cheney: Picking Palin For VP Was A Mistake

Former Vice-President Dick Cheney spoke with ABC’s Jonathan Karl in the first interview since his heart transplant, and had some advice for Mitt Romney on picking a Vice-President that boils down to don’t do what John McCain did:

Dick Cheney has some advice for Mitt Romney on choosing a running mate:  Don’t pick another Sarah Palin.

In his first interview since receiving a heart transplant in March, Cheney told ABC News, that John McCain’s decision to pick Palin as his running mate in 2008 was “a mistake” —  one that it is important from Romney not to repeat.

It’s subject on which Cheney has some unique experience.  He helped Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush lead their vice presidential searches and, of course, served as vice president for eight years.  He’s also privately offered some advice to both Romney and Beth Myers, who is leading Romney’s search for a runningmate, on the process.

Cheney would not comment on what he told Romney and Myers, but he was harsh in his assessment of McCain’s decision to pick Palin.

“That one,” Cheney said, “I don’t think was well handled.”

“The test to get on that small list has to be, ‘Is this person capable of being president of the United States?'”

Cheney believes Sarah Palin failed that test.

“I like Governor Palin. I’ve met her. I know her. She - attractive candidate. But based on her background, she’d only been governor for, what, two years. I don’t think she passed that test…of being ready to take over. And I think that was a mistake.”

Cheney is right, of course, and I suspect that most mainline conservatives and Republicans agree with him now, and became ever more doubtful of Palin’s fitness for office as the 2008 campaign went on. She gave a great speech, that someone else wrote, at the 2008 Republican Convention but the idea that she would have been capable of taking over for McCain if he had been elected President and died or become disabled was laughable from the beginning. The only people who still don’t seem able to acknowledge that are the increasingly shrinking core of Palinistas who bizarrely continue to believe she can do no wrong.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Arm The Homeless says:

    New this Fall: ‘War Criminals Say the Darn’dest Things”

    Although, seeing home video of Pinochet getting a swift-one to the junk and exclaiming, “mi madre va a ser molesto acerca de esto”, would definitely check one off on my Bucket List

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 6

  2. Liberal Capitalist says:

    … in other surprising news: sun rises in the east.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  3. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Dick Cheney: Picking Palin For VP Was A Mistake

    In related news, the sun rises in the east, the earth is shaped like a sphere, and bears do indeed shit in the woods.

    Geez, Republicans can be masters of the obvious.

    In any event, concerning Romney’s veep choices there are so many obvious and viable candidates (e.g., Portman, Rubio, McDonnell, Kasich, Toomey, Walker, Johnson, Sandoval, etc.) it would take ineptitude of staggering proportions to mess it up. Therefore I believe there’s a 50/50 chance that Romney will mess it up and will pick someone who either (1) hails from a state that’s not even in play, or (2) previously retired from politics, or (3) likely or perhaps even probably would subtract net votes from Romney’s final tally. Or perhaps even all of the above.

    We’ll find out soon enough. It’ll be interesting. Perhaps like a train wreck.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  4. al-Ameda says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    In any event, concerning Romney’s veep choices there are so many obvious and viable candidates (e.g., Portman, Rubio, McDonnell, Kasich, Toomey, Walker, Johnson, Sandoval, etc.) it would take ineptitude of staggering proportions to mess it up.

    I see only 3 there that make sense – Portman and Kasich (Ohio twins), and Toomey (he would be Ryan-approved).

    If I was selecting I’d go with Toomey.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. Arm The Homeless says:

    @al-Ameda:
    “If I was selecting I’d go with Toomey.”

    Makes sense. But it’s starting to smell an awful lot like Mittens is going to need a ‘Shake Things Up” moment.

    His base will demand red meat. They will demand a pitbull. Portman or Toomey doesn’t scream, “Go for the jugular!”

    I think he asks Bolton. He is a crazy bellicose hawk, but the Reason crowd love his disdain for the UN.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  6. merl says:

    I think McCain dodged a bullet by losing. Palin would have strangled him in his sleep so she could be President

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4

  7. PJ says:

    Not a surprise that the GOP elite will jettison Palin before the November election, they all had no problems with her and her crazy attacks on Democrats, but she would be a major liability in the last months of the election, shudder the thought of her speaking at the Convention.
    Only questions is if they will be able to make her shut up (I presume giving the grifter money will be key here), and if they will suffer from Palinistas demanding that she should not be silenced.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  8. al-Ameda says:

    @Arm The Homeless:

    I think he asks Bolton. He is a crazy bellicose hawk, but the Reason crowd love his disdain for the UN.

    All John Bolton does is double down on the Angry White Male Vote. It’s hard to see why Romney would select Bolton, he brings nothing else to the table.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  9. James in LA says:

    Seat grand juries today. They got Pinochet ‘ere the end.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  10. DRS says:

    He’s never yet done anything that shows he really understands how to stroke the redmeat base – almost everything he does to appeal to them just seems to get their collective back up even more. So if he tries to do this, he’ll whiff it by picking some kind of George Allen clone who thinks chewing and spitting tobacco shows “authenticity” when most people just think it’s phonyness.

    If I had to pick someone, I’d say Portman. No particular stand-out reason, just a guess. But whoever he does pick, the red-meaters will immediately decide that Rubio was Their Man All Along and kick up a fuss about him not getting the nod.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Smooth Jazz says:

    “Cheney is right, of course, and I suspect that most mainline conservatives and Republicans agree with him now, and became ever more doubtful of Palin’s fitness for office as the 2008 campaign went on.”

    Breaking News from that left wing hack, Doug Mataconis, masquerading as a moderate blogger: I HATE GOV PALIN. Forget what Dick Cheney says; He’s from a bygone era and his ilk never appreciated Gov Palin anyway. Here are the facts, notwithstanding what the beltway echo chamber and left wing bloggers like Doug say: When Gov Palin was chosen, she energized McCain’s campaign, and they sugred ahead of the community organizer in chief.

    When the financial crisis hit in Sep 2012, McCain stumbled and never recovered. Trying to blame Gov Palin for McCain’s lack of execution is a fools errand, especially given the fact that we now know the media tanked for Obama. In retrospect, we now know Obama was a failure, and Gov Palin couldn’t have done much worse as President. This President has failed Doug, and turns out was in WAY over his head. You and the rest of the Liberal echo chamber hoisted an unprepared idealogue on the rest of the country in 2008. Gov Palin is no longer relevant in this discussion and was better prepared than the clown foisted on us.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 19

  12. Tillman says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Excellent work there, beat him by nine minutes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  13. bandit says:

    Not for her.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. Tillman says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: Yeah, I agree, plenty of viable candidates.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. de stijl says:

    @merl:

    I think McCain dodged a bullet by losing. Palin would have strangled him in his sleep so she could be President

    And then quit six months later to pursue a career in public “speaking” and a slot on Big Brother.

    To this day, her bizarro, deranged, bat-sh!t bonkers retirement “speech” still cracks me up until I remember that she could easily have been a heartbeat away from the big chair.

    That Bill Kristol remains employed is shocking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  16. PGlenn says:

    McCain ran a poor campaign. Plus, he had the odds stacked against him given the economy and the media’s “hope and change” swoon. Palin did not cost McCain the election.

    As it turned out, The One flunked and is every day still flunking Cheney’s leadership “test”:

    Is this person capable of being president of the United States?

    No, obviously he wasn’t and isn’t.

    . . . only been governor [or Senator voting "present"] for, what, two years . . . [not] ready to take over. And I think that was a mistake.

    Yes, electing him was a huge mistake.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 14

  17. Arm The Homeless says:

    @al-Ameda: Mittens won’t light his hair on fire. Who is going to assuage the not-insignificant libertarian tea-partiers?

    He is obviously still concerned about his base. Nate Silver has made the point that Portman or Kasich, or even Paul Ryan doesn’t actually help in their respective home states. Toomey might provide a shot in the arm in PA, especially with the voter ID issue bound to be opaque through Nov. But I don’t think another NE Republican is what the base needs to actuate their blood-rage. Lord knows Mittens isn’t going to be that catalyst.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  18. al-Ameda says:

    @Smooth Jazz:

    When the financial crisis hit in Sep 2012, McCain stumbled and never recovered. Trying to blame Gov Palin for McCain’s lack of execution is a fools errand, especially given the fact that we now know the media tanked for Obama.

    Just so you know, September 2012 has not happened yet.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  19. PGlenn says:

    Smooth Jazz, I agree with several of your points concerning Obama/Palin (and, actually, my comment at 12:06 appears to be redudant now that I went back and read your comment); however, it’s unfair to call Mataconis a “left wing hack.” He’s definitely not a hack and he’s not that left-wing.

    No question, the progressive readers/commenters at this site would vehemently disagree with your characterization.

    My very incomplete appraisal of Mataconis (I read this site only intermittently) is that he leans a bit “liberaltarian” at times, but at other times leans a bit libertarian-right. I very much appreciate reading his often well thought out and well-supported views, even if I disgree with him sometimes.

    My biggest beef with his version of libertarianism is that he either doesn’t seem much of a consequentialist or his consequentialism is beholden to progressive sensibilities.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  20. labman57 says:

    The sound that you are hearing is the result of the Palin fawners’ heads exploding.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  21. CSK says:

    @labman57:

    Go take a look at Conservatives4Palin.com some time. They all but pray to her. They DO think that she’s God’s emissary on earth, and that if we’re worthy, she’ll lead us out of the darkness and into the light. They also think she’ll be nominated by acclaim at the Republican convention and go onto to beat Obama 70-30.

    People loved John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama–all charismatic interviews. But none of them, as far as I know, was actually worshiped. Palin’s acolytes are scary. Fortunately they appear to be dwindling in number.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  22. CSK says:

    I meant to say “individual,” not “interviews.” Does the mere act of writing or talking about Palin reduce one to word salad?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  23. Tano says:

    Palin did not cost McCain the election.

    True, he was destined to lose in any case. She probably was a final nail in the coffin though.

    When Gov Palin was chosen, she energized McCain’s campaign, and they sugred ahead of the community organizer in chief.
    When the financial crisis hit in Sep 2012, McCain stumbled and never recovered

    Thats funny. How you conveniently forget the evolution of public opinion regarding Palin. Yes, she energized the convention by being chosen, and by reading her speech very well. They got a bounce in the poll. What caused the bounce to dissapate though, (aside from the fact that such bounces always dissipate) was the interviews and the general process of getting to actually know her. The ticket went back down in the polls as opinion of Palin went down.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  24. David says:

    I love it when the deranged right comes out and call Doug a liberal or a progressive. On social issues, he does trend a bit to the left (see same sex marriage), but when it comes to economic and foreign policy he is well to the right of center. While I agree with him on the same sex marriage issue, I almost never agree, and often am dead set against his economic policies. And his “both sides do it” analysis when the republicans pull a major gaff is as expected as it is irritating.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  25. Xerxes says:

    So now Dick Cheney has credibility with progressives because he bashed Sarah Palin. The dude is a WAR CRIMINAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anyone who disagrees can go fornicate themselves with an iron stick!

    Oh, PS, Palin was a mistake for McCain 2008 but not the reason he lost. He lost the moment Lehman Brothers was shut down.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. An Interested Party says:

    I think he asks Bolton.

    Oh, now that would be so incredibly delicious…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  27. Liberal Capitalist says:

    You know…

    Now that it looks like Cheney is a RINO, we see the right push further and further to the cliff…

    … of nominating Bishop Willard.

    While we are being told that Palin was not ready, we must turn a blind eye to the all-but-completed ROMNEY nomination.

    Suited uniquely for American president, because::

    1) He is a business leader that does not wish questions about his business experience, and will not share his financials.

    2) He is a former governor that formatted / destroyed hard drives to ensure privacy on leaving the position.

    3) He ran an Olympics, promising transparency, and then shredded documents when it was over.

    4) His team criticized the current Administration foreign policy, yet Willard blows it on several levels in London… and then follows it up with a secretive fundraiser in Israel (and his team on three occasions continued discussing the Soviet threat… gone now for 20+ years.)

    So, we have a guy more paranoid than Nixon, with a habit for lying through his teeth, yet the GOP will likely nominate him as their candidate.

    Seriously… WTF.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  28. Franklin says:

    Dick Cheney: Picking Palin For VP Was A Mistake

    Me: Picking Cheney for VP Was A Mistake

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0