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.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Environment, Middle East, Supreme Court, The Presidency, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. davod says:

    Sally has her marching orders from the moonbat coalition.

  2. Michael says:

    With all this news about Fred Thompson, I’m beginning to wonder if there is any situation he’s unable to save with his miraculous TV persona.

    Surely if we made him the head of the NIH, he could easily cure both AIDS and Cancer. What with his movie-star appeal and sense of humor, those diseases wouldn’t stand a chance.

    Also, if the earth were ever threatened by an comet, his reputations as a peace maker and compromiser would be able to shatter the comet into a million harmless pieces mere seconds before it destroyed all life on earth. Plus it would let him reconcile with his estranged daughter. Wait, that’s not his daughter? That’s his wife? Go Fred!

    Seriously, did Quinn forget to mention that she’s writing the script for a new action-packed romantic dramedy instead of talking about reality?

  3. What?

    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?

    Yep. I agree. Its highly unlikely the idiot would become St George.

    Cronies, oil, money. Those are Bush’s priorities and not AIDS, the environment or the American people making less than seven figure incomes.

  4. Michael says:

    James, I can’t believe you left out this paragraph:

    The idea is to install a vice president who could beat the Democratic nominee in 2008. It’s unlikely that any of the top three Republican candidates — former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Sen. John McCain of Arizona or former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — would want the job, for fear that association with Bush’s war would be the kiss of death.

    Yeah, McCain sure is afraid of being associated with Bush’s war.

  5. Bithead says:

    If horses were wishes….

    (insert gratuitous comment about the back end of one being employed at the WaPo….)

  6. yetanotherjohn says:

    Sorry, but this doesn’t make sense unless you wanted to torpedo a Fred candidacy. While arguably a sitting VP is a good platform for campaigning for president, not this time. Any republican candidate is going to have a hard time in 2008 because of Bush’s unpopularity. Getting closer to Bush may help shore up the base, but won’t help with the rest of the country.

    All in all the writer of this article should be glad they are being paid by the MSM because they wouldn’t make it on a blog with this level of reasoning.

  7. Dave Schuler says:

    Entertaining as it would be to see Mr. Cheney presiding over his own impeachment proceedings (check the Constitution—he’d preside), the idea is enormously far-fetched. I have no doubt that Cheney could be impeached. That just requires a simple majority in the House and grounds for impeachment are whatever the House of Representatives think they are.

    His trial in the Senate would probably take longer than a weekend, however. Probably the remainder of Bush’s term, all the while casting mud on everyone involved in the trial.

    And why in the world would Fred Thompson take the job? The absolutely last thing in the world he needs is to be tarred by connection with the Bush Administration. Right now he’s in a nice, comfortable position: he’s a political insider who’s been out of Washington just long enough to run as an outsider. Is that perfect, or what? The more people complain about another actor running for office the better off he is.

  8. Michael says:

    All in all the writer of this article should be glad they are being paid by the MSM because they wouldn’t make it on a blog with this level of reasoning.

    What? You mean all this talk about how traditional MSM journalism is of a higher quality and professionalism than blogging is a lie? But the MSM tells me it’s true!

  9. This has to be the dumbest thing I’ve seen from a major journalist in quite some time.

    Hmm…, define major.

  10. James Joyner says:

    Hmm…, define major.

    Heh. Name brand journalists working for big name publications. Quinn certainly qualifies in that regard.

    And this isn’t just a dumb opinion piece, either, but wishful thinking disguised as reporting.

  11. soccer dad says:

    Didn’t she get her job by nepotism? Isn’t her real forte gossip?

    BTW, hasn’t Bono praised Bush already for his support of finding a cure for AIDS?

  12. markg8 says:

    Sally Quinn is the grand dame of the Washington cocktail party circuit, which in case you haven’t noticed has been dominated, like DC itself for years by Republicans. If she says Repubs are looking for a way to ease Dick out and replace him you can bet there’s some fire behind that smoke.

    She’s not talking about Republican party nonentities like rightwing bloggers or voters in her article. She’s talking about big money donors (see that article the other day about CEOs going to Hillary and Obama in droves?) and politicians who know they’ll drown if they keep standing on the deck of Captain Cheney’s USS Iraq yelling the ship isn’t sinking.

    With McConnell and Lugar making noises about pulling the plug on Dick’s favorite war he may not want to be around for the final act. OTH Cheney is a warrior and he’ll most likely fight til the last
    breath of the Republican party.

    And why wouldn’t Ol’ Fred wanna be Veep for a year and a half? It’s the closest he’s ever gonna get to the White House. And who knows, without Cheney to serve as the fire to Bush’s frying pan impeachment just might go forward and Ol’ Fred might even become president for a month or two.

    BTW where do I send my check for the Cheney Memorial? As a Dem I want him remembered for the centuries to come.

  13. Tano says:

    Dumb for so many reasons.

    Not the least of which is that the surest way to guarantee that Fred would not become the next president (a long shot to begin with), would be to pick him out of the field of candidates and put him in the vice-presidency. The bitterness and anger from the other candidates who would see this as a hugely unfair and inappropriate attempt by George Bush to choose his successor, would cause a coalescence of attacks against Fred that would torpedo his campaign. It would be ugly, and hugely entertaining.

  14. This is a sad excuse of a cocktail party conversation turning into an absurd op-ed. The conservative base loves Cheney. He’s driven the Left nuts and hasn’t appeared to back down. Notice no one is blaming Cheney for the poor politics around the immigration bill.

    Time to send Quinn back to the Style section where she belongs.

  15. Andy says:

    I think this column is pretty awesome, in that you can’t quite tell if it’s stupidity is driven by insane right wing or insane left wing beliefs.

  16. Quinn had to have been drinking a little too much when writing this. But if Cheney goes she’ll become the greatest political pundit of our time.