February 27, 2006


Cheney seen retiring after midterm elections (Insight, 2/27/06)

Vice President Dick Cheney is expected to retire within a year.

Senior GOP sources envision the retirement of Mr. Cheney in 2007, months after the congressional elections.

No president has ever come to office with a clearer idea of what he wanted to achieve than George W. Bush and one key part of his program is a permanent Republican majority. In 2000 he chose a vp who was actually capable of running the government should that become necessary, but who wasn't capable of succeeeding him and locking down the legacy. That meant that Mr. Cheney would leave at some point before the 2008 presidential election cycle began to be replaced by an annointed successor.

Mr. Bush would have liked to do something revolutionary, like appoint Condi Rice, but she's not interested in running for the presidency, so he patched things up with John McCain who can so easily win the presidency in his own right that it will greatly expand Republican majorities in the House and Senate. Oddly enough, the one thing that could keep Mr. Cheney in office until Innauguration Day '09, contra this silly story, is that the President wouldn't want to embarrass someone who's served him so loyally and well.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 27, 2006 4:16 PM

The weakness of the McCain for Cheney move is that it depends on a more robust Republican margin of control in the Senate than is likely to exist after the mid term elections. Either the Republicans need to have at least 55 members as at present or have already lost control of the Senate for the plan to make sense.

I think that the most likely outcome is a Senate with 50 to 52 Republicans. At that level the appointment of a Democratic replacement for McCain would either cost the Republicant the power to organize the Senate or set up another potential Jeffords switch (Chaffee/Collins/Snowe).

Posted by: Earl Sutherland at February 27, 2006 4:44 PM

Cheney's retirement has been rumoured since 2001 - I'll believe it when I see it.

Earl - you're predicting a 3 to 5 seat loss for the GOP in the Senate in the fall. Given that the Dems are defending more seats and have more seats in play (i.e. MD, FL, NJ) than the GOP most estimates put the Senate at +/-1 right now. Not to mention a) the GOP money advantage currently and b) the improving economy which should help the GOP. To lose 3-5 the GOP would have to have a huge negative hit before the elections.

As for McCain it isn't clear he would be helped getting the VP nod. The MSM would squawk that he was just campaigning and not doing the VP job.

Posted by: AWW at February 27, 2006 4:49 PM

McCain would be the only person who could be hurt by becoming VP. A Cheney resignation at this point could only be aimed at keeping the nomination from McCain.

Posted by: David Cohen at February 27, 2006 4:50 PM


Let's not be silly. If he's a sitting VP and inheritor of the Bush machine he's even more of a lock for the nomination.

Posted by: oj at February 27, 2006 4:54 PM

"Oddly enough, the one thing that could keep Mr. Cheney in office until Innauguration Day '09, contra this silly story, is that the President wouldn't want to embarrass someone who's served him so loyally and well."

Wait a second!

A note of caution?

Can this be the same Orrin Judd who's been prediciting Cheney's imminent retirement since at least February of 2001?

And David is exactly right. McCain is hurt by accepting the VP. He can then no longer position himself as the maverick outsider.

Nope, if Cheney retires it means Condi's running.

Posted by: H.D. Miller at February 27, 2006 4:57 PM

Even candidates as weak as GHW Bush and Al Gore won as sitting vps.

Posted by: oj at February 27, 2006 5:00 PM


I'm a conservative, so my "imminent" is more expansive than some folks. For example, full liberal democracy is imminent in China and Iran, but that just means by around 2010.

Posted by: oj at February 27, 2006 5:03 PM

Pennsylvania, Ohio, Montana, maybe Rhode Island, and perhaps Missouri.

I also think the Republicant will lose eight house seats.

I certainly hope I'm wrong. Buth even a perfomance this bad would be better than the second term - mid term histroic average.

Posted by: Earl Sutherland at February 27, 2006 5:10 PM

Before you make McCain the VP, remember that Arizona has a Democratic governor; and McCain is running for reelection in 2006.

Posted by: Brandon at February 27, 2006 5:21 PM

Saw this first on drudge. Went to the DC Examiner web site to find the actual story. Seems appropriate.

The president's 'strategery'

Posted by: mc at February 27, 2006 5:47 PM

Not McCain . . . Condi!

Posted by: Mike Morley at February 27, 2006 6:02 PM

David's right. Yet I find it curious that he neglected to add his strange conviction that McCain isn't running in '08...

Posted by: b at February 27, 2006 6:08 PM

McCain doesn't want to be president for exactly the same reasons he doesn't want to be vice president.

Posted by: David Cohen at February 27, 2006 6:14 PM

No one ever hurt their chances of becoming president by becoming vp and it locks up the nomination in nearly all cases--Nixon, Humphrey, Mondale, Bush, Gore...

Posted by: oj at February 27, 2006 6:14 PM

David: Of course he wants to be President. Every American does. I recall your claim that he can't explain WHY he wants to be President, but I've never seen anything to make me doubt his desire, or the desire of a sizeable majority to vote for him

Posted by: b at February 27, 2006 6:28 PM

And, "To continue the Ownership Society and Liberty's Century" does the thinking for him.

Posted by: oj at February 27, 2006 7:40 PM

OJ - David made my point (that McCain's maverick status would dissapear if he was VP).

Earl - without getting into a specific race by race analysis I think the Dems are so weak on defense and other issues and the economy is doing well that the GOP will avoid the typical mid-term losses. Didn't happen in '02, won't happen in '06.

Posted by: AWW at February 27, 2006 8:25 PM


So he loses the shtick he's tryied to ride to the presidency unsuccessfully by becoming a dead cert lock for the presidency. Seems a decent trade-off, no?

Posted by: oj at February 27, 2006 8:33 PM


I don't know about other states, but DeWine is not going to lose in Ohio. His opponent, Sherrod Brown, is another liberal Dem Congressman from Northeast Ohio, with a long history of voting to cut defense and intelligence budgets. This species does not resonate in the rest of the state. After being tied or trailing much of last year, latest polls show DeWine opening 9-12 point leads over Brown.

Posted by: sam at February 27, 2006 8:49 PM


Are you saying Humphrey would have lost bigger in 1968 had he not been V-P? I don't think so.

You know he would have won had the election been a week later. An energetic Humphrey from Labor Day through Halloween would have forced Nixon to campaign, and it might have been 1960 all over again, except with a more decisive Democratic victory. Wallace would have been less of a factor as well.

And Mondale was tainted by the Carter presidency - remember all the cartoons about the loneliness of the long-distance front runner? Had Mondale been an outsider, Gary Hart never would have been a factor in 1984, and the stuff about being the toady of the 'special interests' wouildn't have stuck.

You overlook the negatives associated with being V-P: Nixon suffered from Ike's age and the recession in 58-59, Humphrey from Vietnam, Mondale from Carter, and Gore from Clinton (who, despite your admiration, was not well-liked). Oddly enough, George HW Bush was the one recent V-P who made his own mark and won big. His 1988 tack on conservatism worked well, and had he been as determined as his son, he would have been re-elected easily.

David's first comment about McCain is spot on. And becoming V-P through the back door is not going to help him the way it would for someone like Condi Rice.

Posted by: jim hamlen at February 27, 2006 10:53 PM

OJ: Being VP gets him the nomination, but you've been telling us for years now that he has the nomination wrapped up since the Reps are a hierarchical party. Being VP only hurts McCain in the general election because his whole schtick is that he's not a party-line guy.

Posted by: David Cohen at February 27, 2006 11:24 PM


"Being VP gets him the nomination" Precisely.

Posted by: oj at February 28, 2006 7:17 AM


Yes, Humphrey could not have come so close to beating Nixon in '68 had he not been vp.

Posted by: oj at February 28, 2006 7:21 AM

Wrong, buckaroo. A full-spirited Democratic campaign in 1968, with Wallace somewhat marginalized, and the Dems win. In retrospect, the only reason they didn't beat Nixon was their deflation after RFK was murdered, and the percolating middle-class discontentment with the war.

Posted by: jim hamlen at February 28, 2006 8:14 AM

The middle class supported the war. Nixon almost lost by not saying anything about anything. In such a race the incumbent has the advantage.

Posted by: oj at February 28, 2006 8:24 AM

I don't remember it well (being just a yout'), but I think by late 1968 "Peace with Honor" was the buzzword. That doesn't equate with supporting the war. I think by then the middle-class was just beginning to cotton onto what was really happening, in Vietnam, in Congress, and with the anti-war movement.

Shooting the protestors was one thing, but continuing the war ad nauseum was another. People were disenchanted by the time of the '68 election, which is one big reason why Nixon won. But if Humphrey could have run as an 'outsider', he would have won. But your point about Nixon's nothingness is well taken - for all that happened in the nation between 1965 and 1968, the major candidates did not have anything to say, which is why Wallace did so well.

Posted by: jim hamlen at February 28, 2006 10:55 AM

Wallace did well by running as the conservative. But by election day Humphrey was to Nixon's Left on the war.

Posted by: oj at February 28, 2006 11:32 AM

Johnson succeeded in making Humphrey act the fool. He looked addled and indecisive allowing the rioting to go on right outside the Democratic convention. By election day, he was an object of pity.

Even so, I voted for him so much did I dislike Nixon, the closet socialist. I also voted for McGovern for the same reason. They were so weak and ineffective that they could do little harm.

Posted by: erp at February 28, 2006 7:24 PM


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