Dumping Dick

Rob Tagorda, Chris Lawrence, and Kevin Drum weigh the advisability and probability of Bush dumping Cheney from the 2004 ticket.

I largely agree with Kevin as to both issues:

Cheney is very popular with Bush’s conservative base, his “bad” image is only bad among liberals like me, and it’s awfully hard to get much traction in a campaign by attacking the vice president. . . .

The “it’s all about the oil” and anti-Halliburton crowd is already going to vote for Kerry (or Nader). Bush could put Hillary Clinton on the ticket as veep and not get their votes. Despite all the attention the issue gets, the vice presidency is seldom decisive in an election contest. I suppose, in a tight election, the possibility of a very popular native son helping carry a swing state is possible. But would adding Rudy Giuliani to the ticket really help Bush carry New York? Certainly, Condi Rice isn’t going to put him over the top in California.

FILED UNDER: 2004 Election, , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. I still don’t buy the “Cheney is popular with conservatives” argument. Sure, conservatives like him more than liberals do, but that’s because they like Republicans and the administration more than liberals do. Dan Quayle at least had the religious credentials to appeal to the socons; I don’t know of anything comparable from Cheney, whose reputation in Congress was as a pretty libertarian sort of guy. (Or am I missing something?)

  2. bryan says:

    Giuliani has way too much baggage to make the Bush ticket, especially after the very public divorce he just went through.

  3. James Joyner says:

    I think Cheney is popular with the base because he’s blunt and forthright, more so than because of his stands. He’s certainly not part of the religious right, but he’s a small-c conservative.

    I think 9/11 has overcome most of the baggage Giuliani had.

  4. jen says:

    I don’t know about Guiliani – I’d prefer to keep Cheney than have Bush switch to Guiliani.

  5. GP says:

    The religious conservatives would dump Bush immediately if Giuliani were on the ticket. This guy dressed in drag a number of times as mayor, lived with a gay male couple after his public and ugly divorce, he’s pro gay rights, pro abortion . . . One picture of Rudy in drag, and Dobson, Bill Graham Jr. and company will run for the hills.

    Normally VP bashing is not effective. But in this case, I think it will have some positive effect for democrats, and not just with Kerry’s faithful. One of the narrative threads Kerry will run on is that the Bush administration can’t be trusted (they say one thing and do another and they misconstrue facts for policy gain), and that the administration defines “public good” as what is good for big businesses and wealthy donors closely allied with the administration. Without debating the merits of these points, it is clear that a large portion of the public and the media believe these to be facts. And Cheney has been at the center of these controversies. Many of the WMD claims that are now being questioned were uttered by Cheney. Even yesterday in his interview, he was talking about the amazing job growth under the Bush administration. The guy seems to either live in an alternate reality, or uses words very loosely.

    And in an election that is shaping up to be about a minority of centrist voters in a small handful of states, this narrative thread using Cheney as part of the evidence may be successful to sour Bush’s image with some of these voters who aren’t tied to either candidate now.

    , that the democrats wiin this election simply because the democrats

  6. Moe Lane says:

    “Bush could put Hillary Clinton on the ticket as veep and not get their votes.”

    God, that’s one of those gloriously Bad Ideas that almost makes a freaky, Spock-has-a-beard sort of sense. Thanks. 🙂

  7. McGehee says:

    it’s awfully hard to get much traction in a campaign by attacking the vice president.

    Friend Drum is correct. But I suppose there aren’t many commenting here who remember the comparisons between Lloyd Bentsen and Dan Quayle.

    Frankly, when you’re attacking the running mate, you’re already out of ammo.