I'm a sucker for this sort of prognostication
, even when it's not for somebody I despise like Dick Cheney. The basic rationale for Cheney to resign would be that the Libby conviction and associated scandal taint the administration, and Cheney's continued problems with his circulatory system offer an easy excuse. If Cheney's a liability, then forcing him into early retirement, the reasoning goes, would help rid the administration and the Republican party of excess baggage. The problem is that whether or not it would be in Cheney's health interest to resign, everybody would know that it's all about trying to save face for the White House.
But I'd be pretty surprised if it happened; Bush and Cheney are pretty darned stubborn. And it's not like Agnew's resignation (yes, I know it was an unrelated scandal) saved the Nixon administration. It would be a calculated risk on the Republicans' part, but it's hard not to see the Democrats relishing a "Vice President resigned in scandal" tag to hang on the Republicans in the election.
I'd suppose it's possible, but unless Cheney himself were indicted in a criminal investigation, I don't really see it happening. Maybe a 20% chance.
For the sake of argument, though, let's say he did resign. The big juicy question is who gets appointed Veep. I say it's Condoleezza Rice. As Mark Daniels says in the article I linked to above, putting somebody already running for President into the Veep's chair would rub a lot of people the wrong way, both within the GOP and outside of it. Appointing some old retired guy who basically wouldn't be doing anything besides taking up space might be the safe option, but it would hardly do anything to help the President, would belie any claims about Cheney's resignation being about health reasons, and would essentially mean that Bush would be flying solo. If Dick Cheney's pulling the strings at the White House, it'd be tough on the President to kick out Dick and say, "Congratulations, Dubya, you're on your own now!" With Rice he gets a trusted advisor who isn't entirely disliked by the American public and isn't likely to run for President, and as a bonus the Republicans get to pull a little bit of the rug out from the Democrats by appointing the first woman and the first black person to the Vice Presidency.
At this point, though, I don't think Cheney will resign.AND ALSO:
Ari Emanuel over at the Huffington Post (I must admit that I giggle inside when Taranto says "Puffington Host") predicted a couple weeks ago that Cheney will be out and Rice will be in
, along with a few other things. I think that his first two predictions are likely to be true (McCain* will not be the Republican nominee, Hillary will not be the Democratic nominee), but I'm still not sold on Cheney resigning. Remember how long it took for Rumsfeld to go?
*Who was it who first called McCain a MINO (Maverick in Name Only)? Ouch.
Somebody brings up the idea of Jeb as a Veep appointee. I suppose it's possible, but there's only so much nepotism people can stand (c.f. Hillary).
If Rice were to become V.P. (through whatever means), I'd still only give her maybe a 35% chance of even running for the nomination. I just don't think she's the type who'd want to run for office like that.
The third commenter on Emanuel's blog predicts that Al Gore will be drafted to run, will win the nomination, and will win the election. I doubt it; it would only happen if the Democratic frontrunners are all in serious trouble; he wouldn't run against Hillary and his newfound rockstar status doesn't beat Obama's. All it would do is drag up hoary old memories of the 2000 election. I do think he'd be a prime choice for a cabinet post, like Energy or Interior.