Giuliani Wants Cheney-Style Vice President

Giuliani Wants Cheney-Style Vice President Dick Cheney Cowboy Hat Photo “Would a Rudy Giuliani administration be populated with a cabinet of Republican rivals and a powerful, all-knowing vice president like Dick Cheney?” AP’s Beverley Wang guesses it might after hearing Giuliani’s answers to questions at a New Hampshire town hall meeting.

Giuliani pivoted from a question about potential picks for secretary of state to this: “Let me answer with the question of what you would look for in a vice president first — again without any presumption that I’m going to be the nominee.”

In an answer that mentioned Cheney more than once, Giuliani said, “A vice president has to be a partner in the administration. The vice president has to know everything that’s going on, just in case the vice president has to step in at a moment’s notice,” he said. He added that during a conversation with Cheney on Sept. 11, 2001, he felt the vice president “had a sense that he knew what he was doing.”

Following his train of thought to cabinet picks, Giuliani left the door open in his administration for rivals like McCain, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and others currently battling him for the Republican nomination.

While I agree with Steve Benen that “you don’t need yet another reason to reject the very idea of a Rudy Giuliani presidential administration,” it’s far from clear that this is one of them.

One can simultaneously believe that Dick Cheney was given too much power, that this administration overstepped its bounds, or even that this has been the worst presidency in the history of the known universe and still agree that “A vice president has to be a partner in the administration. The vice president has to know everything that’s going on, just in case the vice president has to step in at a moment’s notice.” Indeed, one would think that’s the very definition of a modern VP’s job.

Photo via Harry’s Place via Google.

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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.

Comments

  1. Paul says:

    Guliani is just talking the talk. Is there any real evidence to believe that Rudy would voluntarily let anyone have any power other than himself? Anyway, it now seems to be only an academic question as his candidacy appears to be doomed.

  2. yetanotherjohn says:

    So those who speak against this don’t want a VP capable of stepping into the top job at a moments notice?

  3. Bruce Moomaw says:

    The trouble is not that Giuliani thinks we should have “a VP who knows what’s going on”. The trouble is his bizarre belief that Cheney DID know what was going on.

  4. James Joyner says:

    The trouble is not that Giuliani thinks we should have “a VP who knows what’s going on”. The trouble is his bizarre belief that Cheney DID know what was going on.

    You don’t think he did? The Cheney meme has been that he’s some sort of evil puppetmaster; your contention is that he’s merely clueless?

  5. rodney dill says:

    I think the model of a VP that collaborates with and supports the goals of the President is a good model to aspire to. I think Bush/Cheney took the pairing in that direction. I see the biggest problem is the VP is someone who still aspires to be President some day and sees a need to distance himself from enough of the collateral crap that occurs to make this possible. Also the VP candidate is normally derived as as asset for ‘electability.’ (someone with at strong constituency that doesn’t overlap with the President wannabe). This doesn’t necessarily lead to a P and VP that can see eye to eye many topic of interest.

  6. Tano says:

    “The Cheney meme has been that he’s some sort of evil puppetmaster; your contention is that he’s merely clueless?”

    I think it pretty clear that he has been both.

  7. Bruce Moomaw says:

    ” The Cheney meme has been that he’s some sort of evil puppetmaster; your contention is that he’s merely clueless?”

    Actually, James, I think he’s both. My point was that — while Cheney’s certainly good at pulling strings (although this is only possible becaue Dubya WANTS his strings pulled) — he has turned out to be a startlingly, disastrously lousy international and military strategist, which is precisely how the Administration landed itself in such extremely hot water.

    And, by God, I genuinely think he’s evil — a tag I’m hesitant to hang on most American politicians of any ideology. That man makes my skin crawl.

  8. Mark Jaquith says:

    Note the obligatory unrelated 9/11 name drop.

    But seriously, having Rudy laud Dick Cheney, a man who once referred to himself as the Darth Vader of the Bush Administration, is a frightening event. Rudy wants to live the rest of his life basking in the immediately-post-9/11 world in which any executive branch activity is legal if it can vaguely be suggested that it is in the national security interest.

    And “[Cheney] had a sense that he knew what he was doing” ?! If you posit that his intentions were benevolent, then no, he hadn’t a clue what he was doing. And if his intentions were otherwise, do you really want to be endorsing him?