Richard Bruce Cheney: Now More Than Ever


The New York Sun goes where lesser neocon broadsheets do not dare.

Lawrence Kudlow wrote a column a while back saying he hoped President Bush asked Vice President Cheney to run for president in 2008.

Kudlow also wrote a column arguing that the stock market rises or falls based on whether we capture the assistants of top terrorists.

It was a fine idea then and it still is — not because the current field is particularly weak, but because Mr. Cheney is so much more experienced and shrewd a figure, one who could help settle some of the arguments about the Bush years in favor of Mr. Bush.

I like this definition of "experienced" and its complete disconnect from whether Cheney has been successful. If Cheney flirts with 10,000 women and gets rebuffed or slapped by 9,900 of them, he would be the most experienced lover of all time.

A White House aiming to get Mr. Cheney elected could also avoid some of the hazards that befall lame-ducks — drift, brain drain, irrelevance. Such a campaign might lift Mr. Cheney 's own standing in the polls.

There's actually been some polling done on this question. A mid-2005 Zogby poll asked how Cheney would fare in a GOP primary. He came in fifth, with 6 percent. A mid-2006 Gallup poll asked if Cheney would be an "acceptable" nominee, and 61 percent of Republicans said he wouldn't—the highest in the field, higher than even George Pataki. A Fox/Opinion Dynamics poll that tested Cheney against Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Al Gore had him losing to both by double digits.

But the biggest fault with the Sun's editorial—which could be the spark of a nationwide "Draft Dick" movement, who knows—is that the selection of a charmless technocratic VP who'd never run for president was one of the most agreeable things George Bush did in 2000. The usual presidential trick of choosing young, bright-future running mates who can run for president themselves has rotten consquences. The heir apparent demands a larger and larger political role as the terms wind on; his inevitability bleeds out the debate that's usually badly needed about the direction of the party after eight years in power. How much stronger would the Democrats have been in 2000 if, instead of Al Gore lumbering past a weak insurgent (Bill Bradley), the party had staged a brawl between the liberal, new Democrat and conservative wings? How much stronger is the GOP right now for the chance to dump the corpse of the Bush White House?