Thursday, July 08, 2004

THE NO. 2 MAN

The people over at Radio Free Mike said much of what I was thinking about John Kerry’s selection of John Edwards as a vice presidential candidate -- and about President Bush’s response, a cutting remark that the difference between Edwards and Vice President Cheney is that “Dick Cheney can be president.”

In essence, the response to the response is that Bush himself became president with little experience, especially in foreign relations. I would go further and point out that even having Cheney pulling the strings didn’t save the administration from massive blunders and subsequent massive reversals on, for instance, nation-building, an Israeli-Palestinian road map and the value of the United Nations. On several other topics, centering around Iraq, not only did Cheney’s experience not save the administration, but has actually sent it pell-mell into disaster. The latest sign of Bush foreign policy tanking is that the United States is even losing the votes necessary to stay out of the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

That Bush is gambling on Americans’ short attention spans is even more obvious when one remembers the popular joke from his father’s presidency: That if the elder President Bush were to die, the Secret Service was under orders to shoot Dan Quayle.

The final response to “Dick Cheney can be president” is that not only should he not be, but he certainly couldn’t be on his own. Starting in 1993 he spent two years figuring out whether he should run for president and decided, realistically, he should not. The electorate would never go for a truculent, withdrawn business-beholden attack dog with a permanent twisted smirk, a man who seems to be going to undisclosed, secure locations largely to get away from people whom he thinks to be, as friends describe his feelings for ex-colleagues in Congress, “a bunch of annoying gnats.”

Every recent poll but that of Fox News (surely it’s a coincidence) shows Cheney’s unfavorable ratings growing and favorable ratings shrinking. Meanwhile, 57 percent of respondents to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll taken Tuesday said they felt Edwards was prepared to be president.

So it’s looking more likely that pretty soon, putting aside the quips of an increasingly nervous president, Dick Cheney can’t even be vice president.

2 comments:

Brian Wanamaker said...

There are those who have argued that Cheney is running the presidency, and using Bush as a grammatically challenged, occasionally affable chaff. Who was the comedian that observed that the news was pleased to show the location of G. W. Bush in a bunker soon after the 9/11 attacks, but it was quite a while before Cheney's location was known. There was more effort made to keep the Veep's position in utter secrecy, in the case that we would soon be needing a new head.

Michael Scott Moore said...

Easy joke from late 2000, just after Cheney's pacemaker operation:

"Did you hear Dick Cheney had a mild heart attack?"

"I think I did."

"Scary, huh? Bush was a heartbeat away from the presidency."