I just suggested to my dad that, if Kerry is the Democratic nominee he should and might choose Max Cleland as his running mate. Cleland is centrist (maybe conservative) from the South. In a debate with Cheney he won't have to mention that he, unlike Cheney, served in Vietnam. The VP candidate has to do the dirty work of attacking the opposing presidential candidate and Cleland is mad as hell. I don't think that Kerry can over do the reluctant warriors vs chickenhawks theme. Finally veterans have reason to be angry at the Bush administration and Cleland will appeal to them.
Against ? I don't know. Cleland could over do the attacks as Dole did in 1976 & there are other attractive candidates.
Now on the other side, will Bush dump Cheney. I think this would clearly be a good move politically. Cheney has all of Bush's faults (but uncuriousity/dumbness) in spades. Since he has had heart attacks the claim that he is bowing out for health reasons is credible.
I doubt that Bush will dump Cheney. First Bush never seems to fire anyone for making mistakes (only for pointing out correctly that he is making mistakes). Second Cheney clearly has immense influence over Bush. Bush famously does not read newspapers and might have to be told how much of a liability Cheney is and who would dare take on Cheney ? I'm not sure Rove could be confident that Cheney not he would be dumped and no one else is close. I think that Bush would have to figure it out for himself and I doubt that it is likely.
So assuming Bush dumps Cheney who does he choose to replace him ? I know this sounds odd but one possibility is Colin Powell (now you know I'm crazy). I have long thought that, when Republicans get good and desperate, they will try the African American VP gambit, and there is a reasonable chance that they might feel desperate. I always imagined that the candidate would be Powell. Now one reason this sounds crazy is that he has been consistently ignored as Secretary of State and is rated unlikely to be with a possible Bush II in any capacity. Now recall Bush nominated him for State when he was still fighting Gore on the recount. I don't think he ever considered Powell for other than political reasons and I don't see the relevance of what he would do once re-elected for what he would do to get re-elected.
Another two reasons that it sounds crazy is that Powell has (twice?) refused the spot, and I would guess that he dislikes Bush. However, Powell no longer has an attractive alternative to the vice presidency now that he has sacrificed his credibility to be a good soldier.
I think it is possible.
On the African American gambit another possibility is Rice. She clearly gets along with Bush. Also nominating a Black women would totally confuse everyone. I expect that she will be severely hurt by the 9/11 commission. Basically, I think she lost her chance at the vice presidency and put her current position in danger when she said no one imagined that terrorists would use an airliner as a missile after 9/11 and a month and a half after the briefing on exactly that point.
Still given how Bush operates Rice probably has a better chance than Powell and neither is anywhere nearly as likely as Cheney. posted by Robert
permalink and comments12:02 AM