GOP Fishes for a Fill-In for 'Angler'


For those who have survived six years and change of Vice President Cheney's copresidency, it is barely more than amusing that some in Washington are launching serious discussions about ousting the "Angler."

This week's self-described blockbuster series in the Washington Post of the same name (Cheney's Secret Service code name is based on his love of fly-fishing) recounts in florid detail the veep's singular approach to his job—obsessive secrecy, arrogance toward constitutional restraints on executive power, kindness to close aides, and on and on. The bottom line is, though, he's more president than vice president, as if we didn't know all along.

But this prompted Post writer Sally Quinn to squib, "The big question right now among Republicans is how to remove Vice President Cheney from office...As the reputed architect of the war in Iraq, Cheney is viewed as toxic, and as the administration's leading proponent of an attack on Iran, he is seen as dangerous. As long as he remains vice president, according to this thinking, he has the potential to drag down every member of the party—including the presidential nominee—in next year's elections."

To which I respond, why bother firing him? And what bad timing!

There's no gain for Republicans in replacing Cheney at this late date. Quinn argues it would be tough, but the veep is due for pacemaker replacement surgery this summer (his batteries are dead—oh, the symbolism), and the timing bodes well for an excision of not only the medical device but indeed the whole corpus.

Some technical difficulties with this scenario: First, what Republican in his right mind would want an affiliation with this crowd? Quinn argues for former Sen. Fred Thompson, but logic would press in favor of Thompson's gracefully declining.

Then there's the question of how exactly a president fires a vice president midterm. And does anybody think the Angler, as full of himself as he is and as disdainful of public opinion as we know him to be (his public approval rating lies somewhere in the teens at the moment, and he couldn't care less), would do something graceful like stepping down in the name of saving the GOP?

Not this vice president. He's pulling the ship down with him.