While reading Maureen Dowd’s column (The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Are They Losing It?) I began to think some old thoughts that I believed I had forsaken. When things started getting worse for the Bush administration I briefly flirted with the idea that the president would be best served by getting rid of the vice president and a few of his other hawkish advisors. Eventually I decided that it would be enough to get rid of the others and that the VP could stay. I’m rethinking that position. I would not blame Cheney for all the administrations problems as easily as Ms. Dowd does, but the only benefits that Mr. Cheney brought to the ticket in 2000 no longer apply. He was a face of experience in a rather novice administration. He brought a familiar face for the world, but that was a world at peace where America was fairly well respected. No matter how experienced any memeber of this administration is or isn’t now they will be judged based on the last four years. The world is no longer at peace and America is not nearly so well respected in the world as it was before. Neither of those things is strictly the fault of this administration (circumstances beyond anybody’s control played a part) but the fact is that the problem is worse than it could have been because of some poor advice from Mr. Cheney, among others. I think the best thing for the Bush re-election campaign would be to unload the baggage and start with a fresh VP.
For all the talk of a cross-party Kerry/McCain ticket, I think a Bush/McCain ticket would be a formidable sight next to a Kerry/Anyone Else ticket. John McCain is closer to the center than the president while Dick Cheney is closer to the right than the president. McCain is a known uniter and nobody doubts that he means what he says even if it is not popular. McCain could be a very trustworthy face next to Bush which would be a great step up from the controversy laden Cheney.