Should Bush Dump Cheney?

Former New York Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato is the latest person to suggest that W. drop Cheney from ticket

“Mr. D’Amato, famous for his blunt candor and shrewd political skills, has suggested twice in the past two days that Mr. Bush could replace Mr. Cheney with one of two big-name Republicans who he said could ensure Mr. Bush’s re-election: Secretary of State Colin L. Powell or Senator John McCain of Arizona.

“As an observer of politics, I believe the president can guarantee his essential re-election by looking to several other notable individuals who would add a great dimension to his ticket as a running mate,” Mr. D’Amato said.”

This is the sort of thing that makes for great talk around the water cooler, but I can’t say that I agree that Bush could guarantee his reelection by dumping Cheney. To the contrary, my guess is that it wouldn’t make much of an impact in the end.

First off, the latest Battleground Poll puts Cheney’s numbers at 45% approval / 46% disapproval (Bush is at 51%/48% in the same poll). On top of that, his experience and competence, especially in foreign policy and military matters, makes for a great point of comparison with the inexperience of John Edwards. So as it stands now, Cheney isn’t a drag on the ticket.

Furthermore, you have to remember that veeps don’t usually have all that much of an impact on the election beyond the initial bounce they give the ticket when they’re announced. Given how polarized the electorate is this year, I’m not even sure a replacement for Cheney would give Bush any boost at all. Keep in mind that according to the latest AP & Zogby numbers, Edwards hasn’t given Kerry any sort of significant lift.

Also, you have to keep in mind that McCain, Powell, & the other name I hear tossed around a lot, Rudy Giuliani (bloggers tend to like Condi who I think wouldn’t work for different reasons) are not as popular with the conservative base as they are with the press or the public at large. So if you replace Cheney with one of the moderates listed above, it’s entirely possible that you’d pull in a few independent votes at the cost of some conservatives staying home because they’d be angry that a real conservative like Cheney was dropped from the ticket.

So given the value of Cheney’s hawkish views & experience during this time of war, I think it would be a mistake to dump him from the ticket in what would probably be a futile attempt to get a political boost in November.

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