Wild Ghoulish Speculation

The internets are rife with wild ghoulish speculation that the Vice President might be named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Plame prosecution. (Or worse?) We know so little about what is actually going on in Fitzgerald’s office — contrast this professionally run operation to, say, the Ken Starr ethics-free horror show — that all such speculation strikes me as wildly premature.

So let’s indulge in some even more wildly premature and irresponsible speculation in the nature of a parlor game: suppose Bush suddenly needs to appoint a new Vice President due to the unavailablity or resignation of the current incumbent. Who gets the nod?

The 25th Amendment provides, in Section 2, that “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.”

The GOP has a majority in both chambers, but it would obviously be desirable to have a candidate who gets a less bumptious reception than seems to be facing Ms. Miers. That might mean a Senator, a popular governor, a member of the Cabinet, or an elder statesman. (Or, given who is doing the appointing, not.) Unless the person named was somehow disqualified by age they would immediately have a giant advantage in race for the poisoned chalice of the GOP 2008 Presidential nomination.

An additional complicating factor here is that some believe that Bush promised Sen. McCain tacit support in 2008, or at least the absence of support for rivals, in order to get McCain’s full backing in 2004. But they don’t like each other much, and I somewhat doubt that Bush would choose McCain to be so close to the levers of power.

A popular governor like Jeb Bush would be a possibility, but that nepotism thing might be a little too cronyist to work. And that might also violate the deal with McCain, if in fact it exists.

Leave your ghoulish speculation in the comments. I’ll name my name below. Names should be people Bush would be likely to like, easily confirmable, and either likely to raise GOP fortunes, or boneheaded in a plausible way.

Update: Just to clarify, given the first comment, the point of this game isn’t who Bush should pick, it’s who he would pick. Thus criticizing a choice as too sycophantic or not sufficiently reality-based completely misses the point.

How about….Dr. Condoleezza Rice.

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29 Responses to Wild Ghoulish Speculation

  1. Brad DeLong says:

    There are two kinds of White House aides: those who make sure the president hears what he needs to hear, and those who make sure the president does not hear what he does not want to hear. Condi Rice was the second kind. That seems to me to disqualify here.

  2. rcauthen says:

    Bela Lugosi, circa 1955.

  3. Evelyn Blaine says:

    Someone who is (1) a Senator, thus almost certain to be confirmed; (2), active in the religious right, thus avoiding Meirs-like opposition from the base; and (3) pro-torture (or, to be more diplomatic about it, non-anti-torture – an opponent of the McCain amendment). My money’s on Inhofe or Sessions.

  4. Richard Cownie says:

    Obviously Brownie – he’d do a heck of a job as VP

  5. pfc says:

    I don’t believe that Bush considers any promises he’s made binding on himself.
    Loyalty and promises are a one-way street with the Oligarchy.

  6. Sid The Fish says:

    Rudy Giuliani. Among Republicans he still has that aura of sainthood. He allows the GWOT to be front and center, and W can put him in charge of GWOT-related program activities pretty easily.

  7. Seth Gordon says:

    Dubya is not going to appoint a VP who risks being more popular than the Commander-in-Chief. Therefore, I don’t think Giuliani would get picked.

    Alberto Gonzales?

  8. arthur stock says:

    There’s only one man on earth with the relevant experience, and he’s available. Bring back Gerald Ford.

  9. Dave C says:

    How about Rick Santorum? The political logic is red meat for the base (if they can get over the fact that he’s Catholic), a play for conservative Catholics as a follow-up on the 2004 election, and they get to keep him out of the PA senate race.

    Plus, they can’t go crony again, can they? (Don’t answer that….)

  10. fiat lux says:

    Despite the cronyism, I would not be surprised to see Jeb get the nod.

  11. Patrick (G) says:

    Dr. Condi Rice is a pretty good guess if they’re after replacing Mr Richard Cheney with somebody halfway competent. If they’re after a benchwarmer, then it’s a different game.

    John Snow , currently Treas. Sec. ?

  12. jim says:

    Harriet Miers?

  13. Altoid says:

    Seems to me the big question is just how sick really Cheney is rather than whether he’ll be indicted, but maybe that’s just me.

    Whoever bush would nominate, it would have to be somebody he sees as absolutely loyal to the family interests and to him, probably in either order. On that scale Rice is a reasonable guess. He probably hates or distrusts Jebby too much to name him. He doesn’t trust Gonzalez unless he’s looking over his shoulder all the time.

    How about James Baker? Proven loyalty, and party connections probably would still make him an easy confirmation too. Or bush could give Karl Rove some cover by nominating him, at least until 2008.

    This idea must be in the air– a buddy and I were talking about it just last night.

  14. Christopher Cox. He reminds me of Gerald Ford. reasonablly well liked and he probably has no ambition for higher office. Plus Cox was confirmed as SEC chairman with a unanimous voice vote.

    Cox, or a similar long term conservative (but not completely nutty) congressman, with no Presidential ambitions would satisfy most people.

  15. Max says:

    Definitely Condi — then he could go to the bathroom whenever he wanted!

  16. “Condoleezza Rice” and “would pick” are not even in the same universe

    Per the 2008 head-start, it would be a party struggle. It could be McCain – remember Kennedy and Johnson.

  17. Mojo says:

    George H. W. Bush. Experience, not involved in recent scandals, and Shrub would absolutely love to be able to send his dad to boring funerals all over the world. He’d probably have the CIA off a few leaders in particularly unpleasant places, just to be able to send pops to Uzbekistan in January, Chad in August, or Japan just in time for dinner.

  18. Jim Carlson says:

    I like the Baker idea. But, (1) this would be an opportunity to shake things up, (2) preserve 2008 for Jeb or Senator McCain, and (3) not subject himself to the cronyism outcry. I thought maybe Elizabeth Dole, but she was in a tight race for the Senate against fmr Clinton Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles. Plus, North Carolina has a Dem Governor (and without researching it, doesn’t the Gov appoint acting Senators?). So, how ’bout…Karen Hughes. Nah, need her at State. Plus, wouldn’t avoid the cronyism outcry. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson.

  19. Paul Gowder says:

    Who was Bush’s yale roommate?

  20. Joaquim Barbera says:

    Ironically, at the core of this special investigation is the gravest decision an administration can make and, at the same time, the reason why nobody higher than Rove can fall: war. US history (and any past superpower’s) is spotted with wars (declared and undeclared) preceded by and run via impeachable executive misconduct. But once it’s started, war is a blanket any US government (and any past superpower’s government) knows it can hide under. This time it won’t be an exception, at least not until the “war on terror” is over (and surely nobody can guess when that will happen). It’s too big a taboo.

    What the heck, my vote is for Colin Powell. I mean, the crisis (and fear of it ultimately affecting him) would be so great, that in his choice Bush would need to appear humble and willing to redress. In the line of, I acknowledge my mistake and look what an efficient, righteous, moderate guy I’ve convinced to come back even after having criticized me. Moreover, precisely because he’s efficient, righteous, moderate and capable of criticizing his boss, Powell wouldn’t be a true rival for “real” republican candidates if he decided to enter the 2008 race. So everybody’s happy.

  21. Jim Carlson says:

    Colin Powell…that would elevate him to potential competition w/Jeb in ’08, assuming CP aspires to such lofty heights. Also, I forgot…Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson & GW are both from Texas, can’t do that (so says the 12th Amendent). I change my guess: Gov. Mitt Romney.

  22. Paul Gowder says:

    Would Colin Powell even take the job after he got burned as SecState?

    How about Katherine Harris? She’s overdue for a reward.

  23. Paul Gowder says:

    Or, given Bush’s proclivity for appointing Iran-Contra criminals (Negroponte, Poindexter, etc.) to high office, what’s Ollie North up to right now? Or Robert McFarlane? Casper Weinberger?

  24. paul says:

    Except for 41 (and even there I’m not sure) Rice is the only one who really fulfills the role of acting as the president’s life insurance policy. When 41 picked Dan Quayle, it seemed clear that pretty much anyone who wanted to take him out would blench at the idea of such a [n even more] self-assured nonentity leading the Free World. If 43 picked anyone outside a fairly tiny group (and remember the line of succession), everyone would be joking that he’d as good as painted a target on his chest.

  25. cw says:

    Jeb Bush, of course.

  26. Brautigan says:

    I think he’d want somebody in that position who was integral to the war buildup – too many rotting corpses laying around for the uninitiated to stomach. Condi’s a good pick in that regard, but with Jeb’s ambitions being centered on his perceived strength in the hispanic demo, I think he would go with Gonzalez.

  27. Todd says:

    Jim Carlson writes: “Colin Powell…that would elevate him to potential competition w/Jeb in ’08, assuming CP aspires to such lofty heights. Also, I forgot…Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson & GW are both from Texas, can’t do that (so says the 12th Amendent). I change my guess: Gov. Mitt Romney.”

    No, the Constitution does not prevent two people from the same state serving as Pres and VP concurrently. It only prevents the electors from any state from voting for a P and VP from their own state. So, in theory, TX electors could not vote for both Hutchinson and W. But that’s no barrier to appointing Hutchinson VP.

    W. would need someone stable and lacking higher ambitions. I’d guess James Baker.

  28. Jim Carlson says:

    Thank you…I stand corrected…the dangers of posting in the wee hours & relying solely on (incorrect) memory.

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