Cheney Might Resign … But He Probably Won’t
Congressional Quarterly’s Craig Crawford appeared on “Hardball” yesterday speculating that Dick Cheney might “head for the hills” soon. Think Progress has the video and a partial transcript.
CRAWFORD: I still wonder if he stays in this administration for the full term here. I really wonder if Rumsfeld’s leaving is just the beginning.
MATTHEWS: Well, who is showing up with the Ryder truck at his home. Who’s gonna get him out?
CRAWFORD: He has to make the choice himself. He can’t be fired, technically, under the Constitution.
MATTHEWS: Why would he leave?
HARWOOD: As Bill Clinton once said, the Constitution makes him relevant for at least the two years. I don’t think he will go anywhere.
CRAWFORD: My point is I don’t know why he’d want to stick around.
MATTHEWS: He has assumed an awful lot of authority under this President.
CRAWFORD: I know, and that authority is waning, if not gone. And my point is why would he want to stick around in this environment? He might just choose to leave.
MATTHEWS: Let me check this. I rarely do this on the show. Are you teasing? Are you — do you actually think there’s a reasonable plausible case for this Vice President to give up all the power he enjoys as the President’s first counsel?
CRAWFORD: Not if he doesn’t enjoy it anymore. I mean all I’m seeing is the man getting isolated more and more. This seems to be his most vulnerable position in the entire Bush administration.
If Cheney was going to step down, he’d have done it before the 2004 elections when it mattered that he was unpopular. At this point, what advantage does anyone gain from him giving up the office to which he was elected? And who leaves on a down note by choice? Much better to ride it out and try to get the popularity numbers up.
As to having fun, now’s Cheney’s chance. He gets to battle against a Democratic Congress. While less satisfying from a policy standpoint, it’s a lot more enjoyable to spar with the opposition party than deal with interparty squabbling.
Matt Yglesias notes that pundits often propose politically or practically unviable solutions so that, when the chosen policy fails, they can claim “if only they’d followed my advice” we’d have been successful. Crawford is engaging in another time-honored practice of pundits and prognosticators: predicting something so implausible that virtually no one else with any name recognition is saying the same thing. If it doesn’t happen, there’s no real consequence. But, if you happen to get it right, you’re a genius.