The Cheney Primary

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Matt thinks it's peculiar that Fred Thompson is angling for Lady Thatcher's blessing, and suggests that "it all points to a weird quandry for the follow-the-leader party. Bush is too unpopular to be the ring everybody wants to kiss, Reagan is dead, and H.W. Bush is the incumbent's father ... So you've got Thatcher serving as a kind of ersatz symbolic leader of American conservatism." What's more interesting to me, though, is that Thompson seems to be treating Dick Cheney as the symbolic leader of American conservatism. I thought Thompson's frequent talk about the Scooter Libby case was part of his (quite savvy) stealth campaign to woo the conservative base, but in light of this passage (from that Thatcher story) it seems like part of a broader effort to position himself as Cheney's natural heir:

The campaign will also begin rolling out a slate of advisers ... Liz Cheney, the former State Department official and the vice president's elder daughter, is consulting on foreign policy. Longtime GOP guru Mary Matalin, a friend of Thompson, will help shape the campaign's message.

That would be the same Mary Matalin, of course, whose fingerprints have been all over three of the biggest right-wing fiascos of the last twenty years: George H.W. Bush's 1992 Presidential campaign, Dick Cheney's Vice-Presidency, and Threshold Books' fall catalogue.

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Ross Douthat is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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