Arguments for Dick Cheney to Run in 2012

Yesterday I mentioned that some are pushing for Dick Cheney to run in 2012. Jon Meacham makes an argument for this in Newsweek:

Why? Because Cheney is a man of conviction, has a record on which he can be judged, and whatever the result, there could be no ambiguity about the will of the people. The best way to settle arguments is by having what we used to call full and frank exchanges about the issues, and then voting. A contest between Dick Cheney and Barack Obama would offer us a bracing referendum on competing visions. One of the problems with governance since the election of Bill Clinton has been the resolute refusal of the opposition party (the GOP from 1993 to 2001, the Democrats from 2001 to 2009, and now the GOP again in the Obama years) to concede that the president, by virtue of his victory, has a mandate to take the country in a given direction. A Cheney victory would mean that America preferred a vigorous unilateralism to President Obama’s unapologetic multilateralism, and vice versa.

Republicans also tend to nominate their obvious leader and in this case there is none. The last Republican vice president would fit this pattern if not for Cheney’s age, unpopularity, and record of being wrong on all the major issues of the last several years.

Meacham makes an additional argument:

A campaign would also give us an occasion that history denied us in 2008: an opportunity to adjudicate the George W. Bush years in a direct way. As John McCain pointed out in the fall of 2008, he is not Bush. Nor is Cheney, but the former vice president would make the case for the harder-line elements of the Bush world view. Far from fading away, Cheney has been the voice of the opposition since the inauguration. Wouldn’t it be more productive and even illuminating if he took his arguments out of the realm of punditry and into the arena of electoral politics? Are we more or less secure because of the conduct of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? Does the former vice president still believe in a connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda? Did the counterterror measures adopted in the aftermath of the attacks go too far? Let’s have the fight and see what the country thinks.

It is true that this is the closest we could have to an election between the Bush and Obama administrations, but that is not a good thing either for the Republicans or for the nation.  Republicans would be foolish to nominate Cheney as it would make it even harder for them to move beyond the disasterous Bush years. Republicans must find a way to do this if  they are to become a viable party again. The Republicans who won races in 2009 did it by moving towards the center, not by embracing the policies of George Bush and Dick Cheney. This would be even worse for the country as repeating the mistakes of the Bush years is something we should never risk again, and there is no doubt that Dick Cheney’s advice is responsible for much that went wrong during that period.

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    Eclectic Radical says:

    ‘The Republicans who won races in 2009 did it by moving towards the center, not by embracing the policies of George Bush and Dick Cheney.’
    A very important point. I believe you were the one who mentioned it first… but I’ll repeat it because it’s just a sweet little tidbit…
    The guy who beat Corzine in New Jersey campaigned in a manner designed to associate himself less with the hard right of the GOP and more with the Obama Administration.

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