Rumors persist that Cheney will step down

The latest in the rumor mill regarding a possible step down for VP Dick Cheney comes from Insight Magazine. They write:

Vice President Dick Cheney is expected to retire within a year.

Senior GOP sources envision the retirement of Mr. Cheney in 2007, months after the congressional elections. The sources said Mr. Cheney would be persuaded to step down as he becomes an increasing political liability to President Bush.

The sources reported a growing rift between the president and vice president as well as their staffs. They cited Mr. Cheney’s failure to immediately tell the president of the accidental shooting of the vice president’s hunting colleague earlier this month. The White House didn’t learn of the incident until 18 hours later.

Mr. Cheney’s next crisis could take place by the end of the year, the sources said. They said the White House was expecting Mr. Cheney to defend himself against charges from his former chief of staff, Lewis Libby, that the vice president ordered him to relay classified information. Such a charge could lead to a congressional investigation and even impeachment proceedings.

“Nothing will happen until after the congressional elections,” a GOP source said. “After that, there will be significant changes in the administration and Cheney will probably be part of that.”

The rumors about a possible Cheney resignation have persisted throughout his tenure as Vice President – for example, back in October during the height of la affaire de pLame, US News reported that “government officials and advisers” were fueling the grapevine with speculation that Cheney would step down.

If the latest scuttlebutt on this proves to be true, I doubt it will have much – if anything – to do with any pressure on the part of the President to push Cheney into stepping down. Bush is nothing if not loyal, and I believe he wouldn’t try to exert any influence one way or the other on Cheney’s decision.

A Cheney resignation would put the left in a bit of a quandry as he – along with Karl Rove – have been on their political hit lists going back to before the President was inaugurated the first time. They consider having him in office as a Republican weakness on which they can capitalize. But if he steps down, they Congressional left would be in the position of helping to either approve or disapprove his successor – the person who could very well be considered a contender for the office of the Presidency come ’08. The Congressional right would be chomping at the bit to get someone in that seat who they think could breathe new life into Republican party supporters who are tired from weathering so many storms on behalf of both Cheney and the President.

Professor Bainbridge has posted a just for kicks poll which asks the question: “If Dick Cheney Resigns, Who Should Bush Pick as the Next VP?” – make sure to cast your vote.

(Cross-posted at California Conservative)

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