a conservative wonders who could replace cheney
Who Could Replace Cheney?
Jon E. Dougherty and NewsMax Staff
Thursday, July 15, 2004 There is a growing movement
among Republicans for President Bush to replace Dick
Cheney for this November�s ticket. If Bush were to
make such a decision, who could be his running mate?
Washington sources tell NewsMax that for the moment,
Bush has no plan to make the change. But the situation
is fluid, and during this most volatile of campaigns
that decision is not final.
The Republican National Convention won�t take place
until Aug. 30 � the drop date to make a normal
The final decision to keep or replace Cheney may come
then, depending on how Bush is faring in the polls and
whether a change becomes a necessity.
A Bush administration adviser says that though the
president is extremely loyal to Cheney, he must also
be loyal to �common sense and the party.�
The point, the adviser noted, is to win the election.
But he also noted � and this adviser has known Dick
Cheney for three decades and likes him � that the
ticket today is a �dead ticket.�
Vice presidents have a high likelihood of eventually
becoming the nation's chief executive, so Bush could
undermine the 2008 ticket if he picked a running mate
this year who could not run in that race.
No one believes, considering Dick Cheney�s fragile
health, that he would be a viable candidate in 2008.
Cheney himself says he won�t run, describing his vice
presidency as "my last job."
One reason weighing against a change is that the
mainstream media and the Democrats have complained
about Dick Cheney � and have been touting his
Indeed, Cheney's own selection as Bush's No. 2 was
Originally he was tapped to help Bush find a suitable
running mate for the 2000 election, but the
president-to-be surprised many when he actually named
Cheney to the spot.
And recently, the White House has dispelled reports
that Bush is considering a new veep. "Those rumors are
ridiculous," spokesman Scott McClellan says.
But Republicans may have been frazzled by Democratic
presidential nominee John Kerry when he selected the
young, articulate John Edwards.
One reporter typified the mainstream media's adoration
of Edwards by telling Bush that the junior North
Carolina senator and millionaire former trial lawyer
was being described as "charming, engaging, a nimble
campaigner, a populist and even sexy."
The reporter then asked, "How does he stack up against
Bush shot back, "Dick Cheney can be president. Next?"
But suppose Cheney's polling numbers became so bad
they seriously impeded Bush's chances this fall?
Or who would replace Cheney if his health gave out?
No one name immediately jumps to mind for many
Americans, but there are some possibilities worthy of
mention who could help � or hurt � President Bush's
chances, should Cheney have to bow out for some
Alphonse D'Amato, a former GOP senator from New York,
said the day after Kerry made his VP selection that
Bush should drop Cheney, and he offered up a pair of
His "first and foremost" choice is Secretary of State
Colin Powell, because he "would help galvanize the
nation and offer a truly historic opportunity for
American unity and pride."
Second, D'Amato suggested, is Sen. John McCain,
R-Ariz., "a genuine American hero who would also help
bridge the political divide in our nation and assure
the president's re-election by a wide margin."
"Let me note that Vice President Cheney is a decent,
honorable, and patriotic American, a man of great
intellect, who has served the president and the nation
with dedication," D'Amato said in a statement. "But we
should make no mistake, we are a nation at war with a
vicious terrorist foe, and in war hard decisions must
The betting today is that George Bush keeps Dick
But already �if� raises some interesting scenarios.
NewsMax recently surveyed the field of potential
Cheney replacements � and possible presidential
candidates in 2008.
Here�s what we found:
Currently the governor of New York, George Pataki, 59,
is already being considered as a potential GOP
candidate in the 2008 election.
Pataki is an ideal choice for vice president for
Though a Reagan Republican, he has a winning record in
one of the most liberal states in the union. He won
his third term in 2002 by nearly 750,000 votes.
Pataki has also turned out to be one of the unsung
heroes of Sept. 11, 2001. The attacks not only
destroyed the World Trade Center towers, they also
devastated New York�s economy.
Mayor Rudy Giuliani offered charismatic leadership in
the wake of Sept. 11 but was out of office just months
later. Pataki has done the hard work in helping the
state make a remarkable recovery.
Another plus: Pataki is extremely popular with
Hispanic and Jewish voters � constituencies the
Republicans need to win nationwide.
Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., is the third-ranking member
on the GOP leadership ladder. At 46, he's young and
has good conservative credentials. He is
anti-abortion, has a decent record regarding border
issues since the 9/11 attacks, and comes from a
battleground state that Al Gore won only narrowly in
Santorum also may have done Bush a favor in stumping
with the president in support of Santorum's
Pennsylvania colleague, Sen. Arlen Specter, when the
latter faced a formidable primary challenge from
conservative Rep. Pat Toomey earlier this year.
Another Pennsylvanian, former governor of the state
Tom Ridge, now the administration's director of
Homeland Security, is considered a viable VP
candidate. In fact, a former Clinton administration
official thinks Bush will eventually settle on Ridge.
Former Clinton Chief of Staff John Podesta, at a
February speech in New York City, reportedly said Bush
would choose Ridge as his second-term running mate,
according to blog site SwingStateProject.com.
It is an interesting prediction. Ridge has been
described often as popular in Pennsylvania when he
stepped down as governor to become the new Homeland
Also, Pennsylvania has been trending GOP in recent
years, say political analysts. Adopting a popular
Republican political figure may help Bush carry the
state in 2004.
Finally, one of Bush's campaign strengths is his
so-far-successful war on terror. Ridge, as head of the
nation's largest, most prominent anti-terrorism
agency, serves as a plus for Bush.
One drawback: Ridge is pro-choice; Bush is pro-life.
Ridge could change his mind if "convinced" to do so,
though, negating this negative.
There has already been some speculation that former
New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who gained
worldwide prominence for his management of the city
following the 9/11 attacks, could be tapped to replace
While Giuliani has been praised by Republican leaders
for his all-out support for the president and had been
touted for top jobs in a second Bush term (he was
rumored to have been offered the U.N. ambassadorship
but turned it down), it is doubtful that Bush could
take him and not alienate his conservative base.
Giuliani has identified closely with the liberal wing
of the party and even ran on the Liberal Party line in
New York while eschewing the state�s influential
As national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice has
performed her duties superlatively.
As an African-American woman with brains and talent,
she could boost the re-election effort of President
Bush by appealing to two voting blocs at once � women
and blacks, groups not overwhelmingly supportive of
Bush � and position herself well for a presidential
bid in 2008.
This phenomenon has not been lost on some of the most
astute political analysts. Fox News political analyst
and NewsMax Magazine columnist Dick Morris thinks
replacing Cheney with Rice would insure Bush�s victory
The move, he says, would devastate the Democrats by
eroding their base and ending their race-baiting
Reports earlier in the election cycle claimed that
Kerry was attempting to woo Senate colleague, fellow
Navy Vietnam veteran and former POW John McCain,
R-Ariz., perhaps as a way to unite Republicans and
independents disappointed with the Bush
But McCain rebuffed the alleged offers.
Still, whose side is McCain on?
He recently has come out swinging for Bush, a move the
Bush White House welcomes and appreciates. But he may
be too much of a maverick to be trusted.
Also, some top GOPers are questioning McCain's
In May, McCain criticized fellow Republicans for
seeking to cut taxes during a time of war. "I fondly
remember a time when real Republicans stood for fiscal
responsibility," McCain said.
Asked by reporters about McCain's remarks, House
Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said: "If you want to
see sacrifice, John McCain ought to visit our young
men and women at Walter Reed and Bethesda [two
Washington area military hospitals]. ... We have to
react to keep this country strong not only militarily
On the surface, Colin Powell seems a good choice. He
would help secure some of the elusive African-American
vote for the Republicans.
As a former Army general and chairman of the Joint
Chiefs of Staffe, he's extremely well-credentialed in
military matters. He has sound national security and
foreign policy experience as well and could help the
president smooth overseas relations with his calm and
And besides D'Amato, there are others who believe
Secretary of State Colin Powell could be an instant
asset to the GOP as Bush's running mate.
According to a Newsweek poll published July 11, the
Dem ticket of Kerry-Edwards leads the Bush-Cheney
ticket by around 6 points � 51 percent to 45 percent.
While a number of political analysts said Kerry would
most likely get a nominal boost in the polls after
naming a running mate, the poll also found that a
Bush-Powell ticket could defeat a Kerry-Edwards ticket
53 percent to 44 percent.
But it's not clear whether Powell would even accept
Bush's offer. News reports say he has sought to
distance himself from the administration and has
already signaled insiders that he will leave after the
As a Republican governor in the midst of perhaps the
most high-profile social issue in decades, Mitt Romney
of Massachusetts finds himself in the middle of the
gay marriage controversy.
But like Pataki, he is a conservative Republican who
won in a liberal state. Translated: He can get the
vote of swing voters.
Others have also speculated about a Bush-Romney
ticket. "Comparatively speaking, Romney is the sun to
Cheney's darkness, a politician who can deliver a
punch with a smile instead of a lip-curl," Boston
Globe columnist Joan Vennochi wrote in the paper's
Feb. 3, 2004, edition.
She continued: "Romney is political optimism and
CEO-style competence. Cheney is a poorly executed war
with Iraq, the false link between Saddam Hussein and
9/11, and the US government's no-bid contracts with
companies like Halliburton."
Romney may not have the experience Bush would want,
but he will be a player in 2008 and beyond.
Already considered a potential GOP presidential
candidate for 2008, Colorado Gov. Bill Owens also
could help Bush in the Midwest and West, though the
president is already polling well there.
Owens, however, may have a name recognition problem:
Not enough Americans know who he is and, according
Dick Morris, he isn't likely to be able to win in 2008
� at least for now. Overall, his addition doesn't add
much. He'll need the next four years to define himself
and become familiar to voters.