GOP to oust Cheney?

Yesterday, the Washington Post had an opinion piece titled "A GOP Plan To Oust Cheney", by Sally Quinn. While it highlights an interesting idea (a Republican revolt against Cheney), it consists solely of conjecture, hypotheticals and vague unsourced claims written in the passive voice, with the occasional personal attack (like a sarcastic reference to Cheney's lesbian daughter). But given Sally Quinn's position as a Washington socialite (daughter of an important general, married to the former editor of the Washington Post, has no accomplishments to speak of - as DC-establishment as you get), the article is pretty important. To me, it is a signal that the Washington establishment has finally completely rejected Cheney, and adopted Fred Thompson as their own - naturally, for reasons that have nothing to do with policy.

Quinn nominates Fred Thompson to replace Cheney because the Republican Party's top 3 2008 candidates are poor fits.
That leaves Fred Thompson. Everybody loves Fred. He has the healing qualities of Gerald Ford and the movie-star appeal of Ronald Reagan. He is relatively moderate on social issues. He has a reputation as a peacemaker and a compromiser. And he has a good sense of humor.
He could be just the partner to bring out Bush's better nature -- or at least be a sensible voice of reason. I could easily imagine him telling the president, "For God's sake, do not push that button!" -- a command I have a hard time hearing Cheney give.
The reasoning here is pretty ridiculous. Apparently Fred Thompson is qualified to be Vice President (and President, as Quinn states he should use the VP spot to run for President in 2008) not because of managerial skill, or intelligence, or judgment, and not because of any accomplishments he has to his name (he has none). Instead it is because he has "movie-star appeal", can tell a good joke, and because of what Sally Quinn can imagine him saying.

The most absurd thing about Quinn's endorsement of Fred Thompson is that, on the issues that Quinn states are alienating Republicans from Cheney (Iraq and Iran), there is no appreciable difference between Cheney and Thompson. According to Quinn,
As the reputed architect of the war in Iraq, Cheney is viewed as toxic.
Fred Thompson, March 2003, pre-OIF:
FRED THOMPSON, ACTOR: With all the criticism of our president's policy on Iraq lately, Americans might ask, What should we do with the inevitable prospect of nuclear weapons in the hands of a murderous and aggressive enemy? Can we afford to appease Saddam, kick the can down the road? Thank goodness we have a president with the courage to protect our country. And when people ask what has Saddam done to us, I ask, what had the 9/11 hijackers done to us -- before 9/11?
And now:
WALLACE: What would you do now in Iraq?
THOMPSON: I would do essentially what the president's doing.
Quinn says: the administration's leading proponent of an attack on Iran, [Cheney] is seen as dangerous.
Fred Thompson says:
"I think the bottom line with Iran is that nothing is going to change unless there is a regime change."
Sally Quinn belongs in a gossip column, not on the op-ed page.


subadei said...

No doubt Dick Cheney is the Bush administrations largest political liability. Sally Quinn could have written the same article, only put forth Caligula instead of Thompson as the new VP and it'd have still been a step up, in terms of political appeal.

That aside, Quinn seems a tad day late and dollar short. She should have written this article (with Rudy replacing F. Thompson) in '05. It would have, at least, contained some realistic quality then.

Adrian said...

With the timing issue I would agree with you, but Giuliani also has the same positions on Iraq and Iran as Fred Thompson and Dick Cheney.