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June 26, 2007


Under the 25th Amendment, the prospective Vice-President must be confirmed by BOTH houses of Congress.

I don't know whether I like this theory better than the idea that the articles are meant to try to forestall war with Iran.

This isn't the country of my birth, childhood, adolescence or young adulthood. Those who will have to live in it for another 50 years better get cracking on putting a stop to this drift into fascism.

Thanks for spreading the word.

Those who will have to live in it for another 50 years better get cracking on putting a stop to this drift into fascism.

Um, thanks, Mimikatz. I think.

Though I gotta say I've never expected to live to old age.

EW - it's hard to keep up with you this morning! EPUd from downstairs:

Sally Quinn suggests that if Cheney is somehow bounced, Fred Thompson would be appointed vice president, because "everyone loves Fred". Uh huh. They seem to think that the Democrats would have to approve any replacement for Dick. I was struck by the following from Wikipedia on Spiro Agnew:

".....By mid-1971, Nixon concluded that Spiro Agnew was not "broad-gauged" enough for the vice-presidency. He constructed a scenario by which Agnew would resign, enabling Nixon to appoint Treasury Secretary John Connally as vice president under the provisions of the Twenty-fifth Amendment. [1] By appealing to southern Democrats, Connally would help Nixon create a political realignment, perhaps even replacing the Republican party with a new party that could unite all conservatives. Nixon rejoiced at news that the vice president, feeling sorry for himself, had talked about resigning to accept a lucrative offer in the private sector. Yet while Nixon excelled in daring, unexpected moves, he encountered some major obstacles to implementing this scheme.

John Connally was a Democrat, and his selection might offend both parties in Congress, which under the Twenty-fifth Amendment had to ratify the appointment of a new vice president. Even more problematic, John Connally did not want to be vice president. He considered it a "useless" job and felt he could be more effective as a cabinet member. Nixon responded that the relationship between the president and vice president depended entirely on the personalities of whoever held those positions, and he promised Connally they would make it a more meaningful job than ever in its history, even to the point of being "an alternate President." But Connally declined, never dreaming that the post would have made him president when Nixon was later forced to resign during the Watergate scandal."

If Dick were somehow made to disappear, what "Democrat" might be an appealing caretaker VP? Feel the Joementum anyone? :)

I'm not entirely sure that the Republicans would be willing to risk a serious confirmation battle, even if Cheney were to simply drop dead as opposed to being dragged under the bus. The government is quite capable of functioning without a Vice-President, so the Dems would have little to lose by dragging their feet. If Bush cries and stomps his feet about how important it is, the Dems can schedule a confirmation vote right after they're done with a bill to end the war in Iraq. There are also some obvious legal issues that would need to be clarified, such as which branch of government the Veep is a part of. And I don't think the Dems are stupid enough to confirm a "front-runner" for the Presidency in 2008 (although they could surprise me on this).

And I still don't think Thompson is all-that-and-a-bag-of-chips. He's basically George W Bush with a trophy wife. That's why the base, which has more than a few racist sexist old white men, loves him to death. It's also why the general electorate is going to be lukewarm to him, at best. (Remember all those soccer moms we used to hear about? The trophy wife is going to be a BIG turnoff for them.)

P.S. Did anyone else catch the not-so-subtle dig at Mary Cheney's baby at the end of Quinn's column?

Why would the Sems approvwe Fred Thompson when, by keeping the office vacant, they keep Nancy Pelosi the next in line?

And why would they confirm a Pres candidate like Fred Thompson, who would then run as VP against the Dem nominee?

This isn't 1973 any more, and Fred is no Gerald Ford. If there is any such scenario, and I don't so much doubt the Cheney part of it, the Dems aren't going along.

You are doing your part, EW--more than your part. It's everyone else I want to jack up.

Sorry, that's Dems approve FT.

I caught a reference to Mary Cheney's baby. I don't know if it would have been written differently for a heterosexual couple. "expanding family" is fairly neutral.

so, do ya think that after the kabuki and Cheney is gone, Bush retires, leaving Thompson in the presidency so that he is now the incumbent when the election rolls around?

that might work for 'em...

I agree with Mimikatz :) If Fred Thompson is the best candidate for the Republican base, it would be stupid to give him any more time in government, even as a figurehead. I sustain that Joe Lieberman would be perfect for the job.

"expanding family" is fairly neutral.
Out of context, yes. But in context, no. It's like saying a black man "articulate". Quinn wouldn't have dreamed of making this comment if Cheney's fifth grandchild had a heterosexual mother.

I sustain that Joe Lieberman would be perfect for the job.
I understand the sentiment, but I have to disagree. The biggest dangers over the next year and half are the ones that can't be easily reversed when Presidents Bush and Cheney leave office. Number one on the list is a war of choice with Iran. Lieberman is one of the few people who might be worse than Cheney on this issue.

If Fred Thompson is the best the GOP can come up with as a presidential candidate, the Democrats ought to be jumping for joy. Not only is he not very bright -- he's lazy on top of it. I foresee a candidacy filled with "What the candidate meant to say was ... let me clarify the candidate's position on that important topic ... by that, the candidate didn't mean to imply...".

I agree with everything you wrote, Frank, including that comment about Mary's baby. It's as if Mary got knocked up or something--the snide comment about expanding families.

Gee, a government without Dick? It is sure nice to think about...

However, this all assumes that he would leave voluntarily. What's to say that he won't tell John Warner "F*ck you!"?

M'lady honors me with her attention. {Bows}

Totally OT, but you brought it up: If you're interested in a good book about getting older, check out Armistead Maupin's "Michael Tolliver Lives". It's sort of a sequel to his "Tales of the City" novels. The gay sex scenes are a bit graphic, but I think he does a great job of capturing the transition from youth to middle age.

What's to say that he won't tell John Warner "F*ck you!"?
What's to say he hasn't already? I'll bet you a dollar to a doughnut that John had an urgent "You've got mail!" message this morning.

This whole scenario makes less sense than Tom Maguire's latest fantasy. I have a good a chance as Fred Thompson does of becoming Bush's Vice President.


This is a bit conspiratorial. Liz Cheney is not that powerful, and would be even less so without her dad. Fred Thompson is not a willing puppet, either. Also, what does Sally Quinn really know about anything, other than how to eavesdrop on cocktail party chit chat?

If Cheney were to step down (and who or what short of impeachment could make him do that anyway?), a more plausible scenario would be a respected statesman type who isn't runnning in 2008 (or Lieberman, I suppose). Lugar probably took himself out of the running for that last night. How about John Warner or Alan Simpson? James Baker?

If such a man were in place, I suppose we could dream about getting W to resign also. Or maybe impeachment would become possible, given that we'd have a respected caretaker Republican replacement, possibly acceptable to enough Senate Republicans that they could vote for conviction. In that event, maybe W would quit first, like Nixon did.

One way or another, Cheney first, then Bush. We have to try to end this regime.

snow camp

I agree that Warner is by far the most likely acceptable Republican. If Quinn's column is anything, it's an attempt to favor seeding the Presidency with the next vacuous figurehead.

First of all, it's a nit-pick, but let's slap the WP editors (and Quinn) for calling 1973 "the last days of Watergate". I guarantee, Barry Goldwater was saying no such thing in '73, at least eight months before the Senator's eventual trip to the White House.

I think emptywheel, in her last comment, hits what I think is the essential nugget in this: the desire of the DC establishment to somehow undo the massively unpopular mess that is the Bush administration and set up another GOP president (with the same power base in charge). Everything I know about political history tells me the Republicans have close to zero chance of holding the presidency in '08, but a media-adored figure in the vice-presidency (maybe even ascending to the presidency, if they want to get super-cute) is their best shot.

Two things unspoken but powerful in Quinn's piece: 1) Republicans are even now simply lavished with praise by her crowd -- Gerry Ford deified in retrospect, Thompson wildly sanitized today; 2) Like David Broder, she doesn't even consider the possibility a Democrat might do something to fix things. No two-party system for her.

They have already prepped Condie Rice for the job, and in this matter, Bush might actually be the REAL decider. We all know they've got chemistry between them, and the only way W can save his shattered historic legacy in any way is if he were to be the first president to appoint a black AND a woman as VP.

I thought it was coming a while back, right after the Libby trial turned the fickle finger of accusation back towards Deadeye. But now it appears that Cheney's crew isn't ready yet for that historic moment when one of Dick's convenient little blood clots gets labeled "debilitating," thereby allowing him to gracefully resign for medical reasons. When they sent Condi out on those seemingly peace-seeking missions, Cheney was right oin her heels, unraveling any consolation braids she may have wound together. It is as if there are two branches of government, one a pernicious shadow administration of pernicious book-cookers, and the other an incompetent crew of Keystone Rangers, fumbling their way through each day. Either dangerously sneaky or stupidly willful, our choices in administrations are quite limited.

Easy to see which is which.

But when all the scandal dust clears (and this recent WaPo VP power series may just stir it up thoroughly) I think we will see Condi Rice in the VP seat, they already have Negraponte, who is once again stealthily influencing our entire system, in the #2 place, poised to replace her as our Secretary of State. That is the best evidence of what I suggest.

On a related topic, considering the SCOTUS' latest blatant judicial activism, maybe we need a new clause in The Constitution, something about "The Separation of Cult and State."

Cheney will step down under great duress - he's the primary suspect in The Leak - and could very well get tagged with a Treason charge for an IIPA violation. He's facing the choice of either going willingly before Gonzo resigns, or forcefully after.

Either way, he's gone.

Gonzo? Dead man walking, could be arrested at any time for unlawful political influence in the DoJ. For the moment, a useful pawn for removing Cheney.

Bush? In line for Impeachment over the firings of the USAs. There's no getting away from the Rove-Mehlman RNC back-channel e-mail and text system subpoenas - and they contain the transcript of the political fleecing of America by Bush's immoral ideologues.

It would be all too perfect as poetic justice if Bush gets caught for stealing Ohio in '04, after suppressing the Times' Wire-tapping Story and the SSCI Reports prior to the election. The Nation will have no problem seeing for themselves that people who are willing to 'win at all costs' are usually Criminals.

Bush will resign before getting impeached - it's the only thing someone who said God told him to invade Iraq can do.

But, first, let's take care of Cheney.

I am entirely sure that the Bush Administration will do everything they can to avoid sending anybody to the Senate for confirmation hearings for an executive branch position (and, yes, that includes the VP). These guys are afraid to send Mercer up there for an AAG spot and you all think they're going to dump Cheney and put in somebody else.

Even if everybody else in the Republican party wanted to dump Cheney, Bush can't do it. Bush has never finished a job successfully (whether or not you think he was successful at it, the governorship of Texas is not a real job). He always has to be bailed out by his Daddy or his Daddy's friends. Most of his failures have been due, not to incompetence, but to the fact he just doesn't care about doing a good job (why bother when you know you'll be bailed out). Now, however, he is in a job where even he knows he's in over his head. It's pretty obvious to me that he is totally overwhelmed and depending on Cheney to run the country on a day to day basis. [Digression: Does this situation strike anybody else as a frightening parallel to Imperial Rome?]. I think Bush would rather divorce Laura than get rid of Cheney.

friar will's comment above says it all.

fwiw, huffington post has an article about the strong influence on thompson's political activities of the phillip morris tobacco company.

though i wrote earlier about a neat little set of steps using impeachment to remove gonzales and then to indict (impeach) cheney,

the truth is

i would be heartbroken if either of these guys leaves office before fall 2008.

they are two gifts that keep on giving for the national democratic party.

both men are complete boneheads when it comes to a larger vision of american culture, governing tradition, and law.

or a larger vision of american demographics and economics.

they seem most likely to keep screwing up from now til nov 2008.

e.g., as ew recently reminded us, the doj is still trying to influence state election rolls.

and they are visible personal reminders of the bush admin's arrogance and incompetence,

and, most importantly, its fundamentally unamerican (ahistorical, untraditional) view of governing america.

may both men enjoy a longer tenure.

with respect to the wapo articles on cheney,

i think one subcontext one has to work a bit to get around is the fact that cheney is very "effective", that he uses power confidently and very well.

we are inclined by our culture to respect professional competence,

but then charles taylor, hosni mubarek, muhammar khadaffi, and kim il jung have also been highly competent professional users of power.

just because cheney uses power confidently and well does not mean that he is correct in his vision or is acting in the best interests of american society.

i was referring to william ockham's 10:17 comment,

but i'll throw in 11:59 to boot.

IMO, Darth Vader is not going to be shoved from his shadow presidency. He will resist mightily and since he has sleeper agents in every nook and cranny and gets all the communications he's going to have a head's up and better information than anyone else. The only situation I believe that would cause him to step down would be the House taking up articles of impeachment and a serious investigation to illuminate the shadows.

Procedural question. Cheney has to resign before a replacement hearing can be held, right?

They don't get a pre confirmation guarantee of their choice of nominee, I wouldn't think. This is a non-starter, if that is true. Sally and the rest of the Salon are getting more and more desperate. Maybe tomorrow Broder will propose Bloomberg.

I go with JEP. The WaPo series is intended to prep for removal of Cheney. The question is who will succeed him, in such a way that they are assured of approval by the Senate and assured of pardons or commutations in such a way that there is little fall out to the players involved and the RNC over the long term. The sentiments that many expressed on Ford's passing in regards to his pardon of Nixon must way on them, as does the risk of prosecution over the long run.

Thompson appears to be Cheney's "boy", and will likely do as Cheney expects. But is this what the Bushie loyalists want? Do they have concerns that Fred would allow Cheney to use him like a sock puppet to continue his aims? Would they rather have a more pliable person like Condi -- who might also suck the air out of Democrats seating the first woman or African-American president?

If Cheney steps down for whatever reason, it may be in our best interest to simply drag our feet and fail to confirm anybody for a successor VP, particularly if there is no Constitutional requirement for immediate nomination and confirmation. We don't need a Fourth Branch any time soon.

Rayne - before the 25th Amendment, the Vice Presidency was kept vacant for as long as four years, when John Tyler succceded William Henry Harrison after a couple of months. I would argue that the presence of the 25th Amendment is a constitutional imperative to replace the VP. But remember, the only way to get Dick out (short of someone shooting him in the face or a massive heart attack) is resignation or impeachment - he's an elected official just like Shrub.

Funny - I've just come here.....after posting (see below) at AfterDowningStreet.com about DICK CHENEY'S DANGEROUS SON-in-LAW, Philip Perry, Liz' husband:

These Loathesome Cheneys
Submitted by SandyOh on Tue, 2007-06-26 17:13.
These LOATHESOME Cheneys! Destructive, sadistic, cold.

The WaPo series on Dick/Darth is bringing more of what we've already known about HIM to light.

Thanks to Art Levine for this expose on more of the cronyism at work in the Bush-Cheney Regime. The Mafioso. Thugs. Criminals.

Meanwhile, having given birth to #5 (God help us, check their sculls for the numbers), daughter Elizabeth ran the front operation, The Foundation for the Future thru the State Department -- a "slush fund at State's Middle East bureau" -- funded with $56 MILLION of our taxpayer dollars. Wolfowitz' mistress, Shaha Riza, a FOREIGN NATIONAL was....ILLEGALLY.....given HIGH SECURITY CLEARANCES -- access to highly classified data??? -- hired by daughter Liz. TREASON???

From the Washington Post:
The Foundation for the Future, as the effort is called, has made no grants and held only two board meetings since its creation 1 1/2 years ago.
Riza is the only person who works in the Washington "branch" office in the Henry L. Stimson Center. Another office is scheduled to open in Beirut, of all places.

These CHENEY-BUSH criminals have peopled ALL BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT now with their offspring....and friends....and loyal Bushies who pour money into their criminal efforts.


The American people bear responsibility -- for KNOWING that this do-nothing Congress will DO NOTHING -- and is letting these criminals continue to destroy America and all its institutions.

Read this: http://tinyurl.com/2qmnlc

WE -- the American people -- have to answer for this. We have let it happen.

Liz Cheney doesn't have much power? Wise up! It is YOU who has no power!

BOTH Houses of Congress have to approve the VP choice; BOTH. The Dems have more power/leverage in the House, and may not be partial to either a doddering figurehead like John Warner or a presidential aspirant like Fred Thompson and gods forbid, why reward a turncoat warmonger like Joe Lieberman? I say there is no guarantee that a replacement would be confirmed at a price Bush is willing to pay and more likely the office is left vacant.

But I can't see Cheney going quietly except as part of a plot to fake his (political) death and install some puppets like his daughter and her lobbyist oil lawyer husband, unless it is for genuine health reasons. Not gonna happen.

And forget Condi--she has nbo credibility and her potential electoral career has vanished.

Senate isn't under any requirement to "speedily" confirm a lapdog. They can take their time, and wait until Bush is impeached before considering Cheney's repleacement.

How is the GOP minority going to force the Senate to do anything? At best the GOP is blocking things with filibusters and refusals to cooperate with investigations.


Yeah, but Condi could be confirmed.

It doesn't matter. Sally's been dipping into some weenies past their expiration date and is having botulism fantasies.

This would an incredibly stupid tactical error. Pelosi might well put impeachment back on the table if she were next in line.

It won't happen.

The way I'm reading this: If the Congress does not appoint a replacement for Cheney, Pelosi would become Vice President.

1. Member of Congress fill vacancy of Vice President

Originally, had Cheney been removed long ago, and his office vacant, PreProTemp would be leader.

"Following the deaths of Presidents William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, and James A. Garfield. In each case the Vice President succeeded to the presidency, but the office of Vice President was left vacant - leaving the President Pro Tempore next in line".

2. Pelosi as Speaker Would Become Vice President

Then there's the change, putting Speaker before Senate pro tem:

"The new law restored the Congressional officers to places directly after the Vice President, but switched their order from the 1792 Act - placing the House Speaker first and the President Pro Tempore second." Source

I love Fred compared to the rest of the current candidates.

It appears once Cheney is prosecuted, Pelosi would become VP.

GOP is premature in talking about who is going to be VP. It's more likely Pelosi would become VP, given the DNC option in the Hosue to refuse any GOP candidate, even Thompson.

DNC doesn't have to agree to listen to Bush. Only the Senate lapdogs do that. The House isn't under Senate control.

Let's hear it for Vice President Pelosi, running the OVP, and working with Waxman to unseal all the OVP legal counsel records for Waxman to review. How will Addington like working for Pelosi? LOL

[ Ishmael | June 26, 2007 at 13:23 ]

Incorrect that nothing other than impeachment will get Cheney out. He can be prosecuted outside impeachment. This applies to both the President and Vice President:

Ref: http://www.fas.org/irp/ops/ci/king/ssci_turley.html#1

Jonathan Turley, "From Pillar to Post": The Prosecution of Sitting Presidents,
37 American Criminal Law Review 1049-1106 (2000)

Turley is currently a law prof at Georgetown if you want to talk to him about this.

Here's the key language from 25th Amendment:

2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress

GOP needs to explain how they are going to "force" the DNC in the House to agree to anything.

GOP: Powerless to Stop Prosecutions of Cheney

GOP can talk all day long about "their person", but if the House -- meaning Pelosi -- refuses to consider the issue, Pelosi becomes Vice President. Cheney coulud be prosecuted outside impeachment, and removed from office.

GOP: Powerless to make House Do Anything

What is the GOP going to do, make Peloso do something? How? GOP is powerless in the House. WE the People in November 2006 put the President and Vice President where they find themsleves: Stuck with an adversarial faction in the House.

GOP: Powerless to Force House To Agree With GOP Poodles

This is a problem for the President who has no power -- now that the VP has said he's "not" in the Exuecive branch -- to prevent Pelosi, as the new VP -- from releasing all records that are "out" of the White House control.

GOP: Powerless to Force House To Include any Money For OVP

Pelosi would have the power to rely on Addington's "precedent" and defy all Executive Orders prohibiting her from doing anyting; and release all records to the Congress. Keep in up, Cheney. Turley at Georgetown outlines how a sitting VP outside impeachment can be prosecuted.

GOP: Unwilling To Defend the Constitution From Cheney

Perhaps Sally Quinn's at WAPO -- the author of the article, prompting this thread -- can explain:

A. President Powerless to Control DNC House

How is The President going to physically appoint someone, and secure House confirmation of that GOP-loyalist?

B. Ignoring DNC Control of House

Is there anything within Sally Quinn's notes that says the House leadership has to agree to anything the President?

C. Lack of Constitutional Review

What review did Sally Quinn make of the 25th Amendment compelling a review/approval by both Houses?

D. Supposed Plan Contrary to GOP interests

What consideration, if any, has GOP made of the real possibiity the House could refuse to approve any nominee, andn Pelosi would become Vice President?

Consider this:

Given the likely outcome that Pelosi would "become" Vice President -- on teh back of this "GOP-led effort" to remove Cheney, why would we beleive that GOP would do anything that would secure Pelosi as VP?

It is dubious the GOP is behind this discussion. if they are it's a ruse to start speculation on who should be "VP" as a means to focus attention on the GOP 2008 candidates, and away from the real problem in the House: GOP is powerless to prevent Pelosi from becoming VP.

The GOP would not lead any effort to oust Cheney, as the vacancy would leave Pelosi with control of OVP and Addington's office. This story is not a serious GOP proposal.

Pelosi DOES NOT befome Vice President. She remains (as Speaker) next in line if the Congress does not approve a VP. The office has stood vacant many times in the past, i.e., before the 25th Amendment.

The discussion here is great (as always), but I think you guys are getting ahead of yourselves.

Nobody, except for Sally Quinn, is saying anything in the area code of there being a "dump Cheney" movement. Why the WaPo articles are coming out now, instead of when they were (probably) written, why Fred Hiatt is allowing (or directing) drop-in paragraphs favorable to Cheney, and why Sally wrote what she did is a mystery.

My only guess at this time is that it's a ploy to salvage Bush and the republican brand, just as James Baker's ISG was. If that's true, it's a pretty clumsy attempt, and another indicator of how the party is coming apart at the seams.

But Cheney isn't going anywhere, unless his heart finally gives out on him.

No, Cheney isn't going anywhere...he works in secrecy now and unless he dies on the operating table he will continue to work in secrecy in the WH as VP or advisor/puppeteer from inside the bunker.
Leiberman would work harder than Thompson and too many Democrats haven't declared him persona nongrata.

Radiofreewill, time to get off the mushrooms. This edition of TNH groovy multi spinning color fantacy hour is now closed. I mean it's great to speculate, but Dick didn't fashion this man-behind-the-curtain presidency to just walk away because of a few newspaper articles. Now if by some miricle we actually see Gonzo step down, then all bets are off, but the firewall is still firmly in tact.

Dick would love it if we'd all kindly "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain", and we'll see if this picks up any real traction, but my gut is that MSM will drop it mid next week and Cheney will continue pulling the levers in Oz for some time to come.

And Mimi, you are damned right.

The "Dump Cheney" movement has finally come out into the open. It's been percolating for some time now. Deadeye Dick has alienated most of the "old-line" Republicans. The "old-lines" have joined with the Bush loyalists and the various assorted moderates to try to save the Republic, the party and the Bush family name.

Some of the "behind-the-scenes" manuevering is now coming into the open. Unfortunately, a lot of the people on the inside have finally come to realize that it is most likely too late to effect change. The Cheney Cabal's consolidation of power would make Putin envious. The most significant roadblock though is the President himself. G. W. Bush will not give up Deadeye Dick. Not even to save himself, let alone save the family name, his party or the Republic. Bush's obstinance; it's Cheney's saving grace. Bush will not move. And until he does, Deadeye Dick will not be moved. So, around and around it goes, the anti-Cheney opposition flails and flails, first behind-the-scenes to no avail, and now, desperate, turn to the press to help "out" Dick.

Rachel Maddow has been talking this scenario for a while but she thinks Jeb will replace Dick. See this March 2007 You Tube item.

IMHO, none of this will happen. Cheney stays. The Democratic House would not approve Thompson or Lieberman for Veep.

If Cheney resigns, MUCH better to approve no replacement at all. That will be instantly crystal-clear to every single card-carrying Dem if it happens.

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