Thursday, February 9, 2006

Cheney, Treason, And Why We Need to Start Playing Hardball

Here's astounding news: Cheney and "other superiors" authorized Scooter Libby to leak classified intel to support the case for war.

Holy crud.

If true, Cheney is gone. Not necessarily even impeached: fired. Resignation accepted. There is no VP.

Now let's strategize a little, shall we? I know this is crazy talk, but let's just play with ideas.

There is no VP. Bush nominates someone else: Rice, Rummy, Dan Quayle, I don't care. But the Senate Democrats filibuster any VP nominee until after the elections in November.

I don't believe we're going to take back the Senate in November, but the House is in play, especially as the Abramoff scandal spreads. If the Republicans still hold a House majority after November, we release the filibuster and let a new VP take office. But if the Dems take back the House in November, they bring articles of impeachment against Bush.

What are the end games there? I see several interesting possibilities:

1. Bush is successfully impeached, because Bush's crime in permitting NSA spying is so clear that even some R Senators defect. In the absence of a Veep, the Speaker of the House becomes President: President Nancy Pelosi.

2. The Republicans refuse to convict Bush under the Articles of Impeachment, but the Dems refuse to allow Bush a new VP, which also means that there is NO "President of the Senate" and no tie-breaking 51st vote in close votes. (Does that also mean that there is no one to activate the "nuclear option"? I'm not sure whether only the President of the Senate, i.e. the VP, can change the rules, or whether Frist can, too.)

3. We offer the Republicans a deal: impeach Bush and we'll let you pick a VP you like. Don't impeach Bush and we'll keep the VP slot open until 2008, when we have another chance at taking back the Senate. If they take it, we've completely eliminated the Bush administration. And even though we've created a new incumbent, with some of the advantages of incumbency, he may turn out to be a Jerry Ford: too tainted with the stench of the prior administration to win re-election.

I'm sure there are plenty of other permutations. I'm also sure that Harry Reid et al. aren't even thinking this way. On the one hand, as I said, this is just crazy talk On the other hand, sometimes we have to think big to accomplish big things: fly to the moon, eliminate smallpox, take back the White House with astoundingly brazen political maneuvering.

Anyway, it's one more reason to keep telling our leaders we want them to start playing hardball for a change.

SUPPLEMENT: Want to take action? Cheney treason Game Plan here.


Christopher said...

I've always heard rumblings that Fitzgerald's investigation would go all the way to the EOB and Cheney's fat lap.

My fingers are crossed!

cabearie said...

There is, of course, another possibility. Cheney would deny that he encouraged or authorized the leak and might even testify to that effect.

He would therefor justify not resigning, and I think the Emperor in Chief might very well refuse to fire him. They would try to brazen it out.

That makes the 2006 elections the wild card in the game.


Katherine said...

Hey, look, a smoking gun! We finally have one! Maybe the rest of the party will sit up and take notice.

I think that right away, we need to circulate that article. We need a brief paragraph that explains the article to copy into an email, add the link to the article, and send it around EVERYWHERE.

We need to get people talking about this. Heck, let's use those Senate email addresses again! Let's fax it to our Senators with a cover letter calling for Cheney's expulsion from the White House.

This is one news soundbite we need to amplify.

Morgaine said...

And how do we take back anything while Diebold makes the election machines? We've won every election since Clinton's first run, yet here we are.

Is there any way to get the kind of election reform we need in place before 2006? That's the only way we win anything.

Anonymous said...

I just received an email so wonderfully concerned for my well-being on the subject of this post that I wanted to share it with everyone else. It reads:

I just read your post on the scenario in which Cheney is kicked out and ultimately through a combination of events, virtually all of which appear highly unlikely, Nancy Pelosi is sworn in as President, or Bush is denied a replacement VP, or.... You really do need to seek medical attention. Such hallucinations are sometimes followed by self inflicted actions that lead to harm for the individual suffering from such a malady, as well as those around them. Or maybe you just need to get off the ????? and do something productive with your life.

See? People care.

Transplanted Lawyer said...

It's an interesting scenario, Thersites, but I have to agree with the (inartfully expressed) sentiment of the e-mail that it is unlikely in the extreme that the GOP need take the threat of a President Pelosi seriously.

First of all, remember that the GOP will fight this, every step of the way. First with denials, then with dirty attacks on the sources of information, and then with scummy attacks on the patriotism of anyone who dares oppose the administration.

Secondly, you'd need a 2/3 vote of the Senate for this to happen. 34 Senators would be enough to acquit Cheney after an impeachment trial. As you say, the Senate is not seriously in play during this cycle, and I have little doubt that the GOP could keep 34 loyal votes regardless of what the evidence was. That's a worst-realistic-case scenario for W.

Thirdly, the math doesn't back up the leverage you're suggesting the Democrats could get. If impeachment articles are introduced against Cheney before the 2006 cycle, it is possible that the GOP could muster enough power to get them voted down in the House, or squelch their proceeding out of committee, so that there is never a transmittal of the articles of impeachment to the Senate in the first place. This would be the preferred option in the GOP playbook.

Fourthly, you're assuming that Democrats would be unreasonable about withholding the confirmation of Bush's hand-picked replacement at VP. Particularly if Bush picks someone with some mass political appeal (I'm thinking John McCain or Rudy Guiliani here) the Democrats would have a tough time standing up to the pressure to confirm the new Veep.

About the only way that I could see a credible threat of President Pelosi coming out of this would be if a) the Democrats take back the House in 2006, which is not a given, b) articles were reported out of the House after that time, and c) for an unrelated reason and despite the best safety and medical services available anywhere at any price and being a man in remarkably good health, Bush somehow dies before the Senate can act on the articles of impeachment (because Cheney is suspended from executing the office of Vice-President during the pendency of his impeachment proceedings). No one is calling for the death of President Bush so Nancy Pelosi can become President.

It's much more likely that an impeach-Cheney scenario results in President Dennis Hastert than President Nancy Pelosi.

And seriously -- would you really want Nancy Pelosi to be the President anyway? Is she who you want moderate voters to think of when they have to elect a new President in 2008?