Replacing Cheney With A VP Who Can Run As the Incumbent May Be the GOP's Only Hope
By Jon Ponder on 11/26/2007, 3:34pm PT  

Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

Cable newsers are ga-ga over breaking news that Dick Cheney's doctors discovered that he had an irregular heartbeat today:

"During examination he was incidentally found to have an irregular heartbeat, which on further testing was determined to be atrial fibrillation, an abnormal rhythm involving the upper chambers of the heart," said spokeswoman Megan Mitchell.

She said Cheney would go to the hospital later Monday for further evaluation. She said that if necessary, he would be receive cardioversion, a procedure that involves the delivery of an electric impulse to the heart.

Under normal circumstances, it wouldn't seem odd that a vice president's health problem might be discovered "incidentally" --- or that his spokeswoman is, well, speaking about it. But this is Dick Cheney. And it brings us to a question: Is this story real, or could it be a fabrication meant to set the stage for Cheney's resignation?

Before you dismiss the latter as speculation from a conspiracy nut whose tin-foil hat is on too tight, consider this:

  • Cheney and Bush created an incredibly elaborate and entirely false rationale for taking the country to war --- a massive misinformation campaign that completely snookered the corporate media and a majority of the public and that has yet to be sussed out. Faking news of an irregular heartbeat in order to shuffle Cheney off the stage quietly is child's play by comparison.
  • It's a damn good excuse. The standard remedy for heart ailments like atrial fibrillation is to reduce stress. The only practicable way for a sitting vice president to reduce stress is to resign.
  • With Cheney out of the way, a new vice president could run for president with all the campaign advantages of the incumbency, especially including the ability to manufacture events and control the flow of news.

And the motivations for moving Cheney out under false pretenses are manifold:

Both Cheney and Bush are undoubtedly desperate to keep the presidency in the hands of their allies. There probably aren't enough shredders in the world to destroy all the evidence of criminal acts they've perpetrated against this great nation. Whatever they have done will become immediately known to the next president, who, if he or she is a Democrat, could decide to seek justice.

The next president will also have the option of opening up the presidential records of the George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan administrations --- records that were supposed to be unsealed in 2004 but that George W. Bush embargoed indefinitely. (There was wide speculation that these records show that Bush Sr. was not "out of the loop" on Oliver North's illegal sales of weapons to Iranians, as he claimed at the time.)

Finally, if it were to happen that Bush and Cheney were impeached together --- say for lying to prosecutors about their roles in covering up their conspiracy to reveal the secret identity of CIA agent Valerie Wilson --- the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, would become president. If Cheney retires and is replaced now, the presidency will stay in the hands of the GOP until January 2009, at least.

Yes, it all sounds far-fetched but the Cheney-Bush team has defied the natural laws of politics from day one. From their theft in plain sight of Florida's Electoral College votes in 2000 to their cynical manipulation of the country's nationalism after the 9/11 attacks --- to botching the invasion and occupation of Iraq, to the bizarre incompetence and brazen indifference they displayed during Katrina, to their apparent pride in betraying a CIA program that tracked weapons of mass destruction and on and on --- Cheney and Bush have managed to cling to power under circumstances that would have driven normal presidents out of office or at least permanently into the rose garden.

At some point the normal rules of gravity in party politics have to kick in. For starters, the GOP powers-that-be must by now be near the limit of their tolerance for the damage being done to their party by Dick Cheney and George Bush. If so, the time to demand a remedy is now. We are approaching the final moments of the eleventh hour before votes are cast in the 2008 primaries.

Normal people often overlook how hierarchical Republicans are by nature. They prefer to anoint their candidates in an orderly way: In the absence of a sitting vice president, as George H.W. Bush was to Reagan in 1992, a senior statesman is anointed, as Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole was in 1996 --- or, better yet, they can satisfy their aristocratic yearnings by anointing the son of a former president, as they did the current Bush in 2000.

This year, in the absence of a clear choice, Republicans find themselves facing a roster of unacceptable candidates: a philandering liberal, a Mormon, an aging warrior who's considered insufficiently doctrinaire, a lazy television actor, a former preacher with a weak record as governor of Arkansas and a Libertarian kook.

The strain of this disorderliness must be tormenting the GOP power base. And all of it could be wiped away in a simple fiat --- the replacement of Dick Cheney with a new vice president whom they could anoint right away to become Bush's successor.

So who might fit the bill --- who could be counted on to beat the Democrats next November and keep the Bush family secrets for at least four more years?

Only one name comes to mind. He is experienced and available, and tanned and rested --- and his name is Jeb.