Newsweek Editor-in-Chief Jon Meacham thinks former Vice President Dick Cheney should run for president in 2012. In a column for the magazine, he cheers a possible Cheney campaign. "But I think we should be taking the possibility of a Dick Cheney bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 more seriously, for a run would be good for the Republicans and good for the country," he writes.
A campaign would also give us an occasion that history denied us in 2008: an opportunity to adjudicate the George W. Bush years in a direct way. [...] Far from fading away, Cheney has been the voice of the opposition since the inauguration. Wouldn't it be more productive and even illuminating if he took his arguments out of the realm of punditry and into the arena of electoral politics? Are we more or less secure because of the conduct of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq? Does the former vice president still believe in a connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda? Did the counterterror measures adopted in the aftermath of the attacks go too far? Let's have the fight and see what the country thinks.
Just about nobody's on board. Those who support Cheney are ignoring Meacham's column, but Cheney's many detractors (and one very high-profile supporter) are ripping the limbs off Meacham's argument as fast as they can. Here are the 7 reasons Cheney shouldn't run in 2012.
- Cheney-ism Already Lost Matthew Yglesias argues that all the positions Meacham attributes to Cheney were voted down last November. "Why didn't Obama vs McCain have this impact. McCain is a 'vigorous' unilateralist. And he ran on a platform of lower taxes, and deregulating health care [like Cheney]. Obama ran on multilateralism, higher taxes on the wealthy, and more stringent regulation of health insurers."
- Even Republicans Dislike Cheney The Washington Monthly's Steve Benen notes a recent poll of 804 Republican voters. "Rank-and-file Republicans were asked in a new poll about who best reflects the party's principles. Just one chose Dick Cheney -- not 1 percent, I mean one individual person." Benen asks, "is the jury still out on the Bush presidency?"
- ...And He's Not So Republican The Washington Post's Ezra Klein writes, "Cheney was vice president amidst Medicare Part D and No Child Left Behind and McCain-Feingold and Sarbanes-Oxley and skyrocketing deficits. The father of a lesbian daughter, he's a squish on gay marriage. His neoconservatism comes at the expense of his fiscal and cultural conservatism. He offers a very clear choice on issues that dominated the agenda in 2003. But where is he on financial regulation? Cap and trade? Inflation? What choice does he offer?"
- Karl Rove Dismisses It No less than fellow Bush-era White House senior official Karl Rove thinks it's a silly idea. "Well, look, that's a question we don’t even need to ask. Cheney's been asked this question himself this past week, and I will quote Vice President Cheney when he was asked would you run for President in 2012. He said, 'Not a chance.' I mean, look, he's not running. He's not running," Rove told Fox News. "There are limits as to what Dick Cheney could be called upon to do for the country."
- Would Polarize Electorate The New Republic's John Judis scoffs, "Jon Meacham is clearly an intelligent person and skilled writer, but his judgment about America and what America needs is somewhat inferior to that of my cat Lexie." He writes, "It amazes me that someone who has written books about American history, and presumably knows something about the subject, would assume that stark choices between left and right bring about a plausible middle-ground. [...] stark choices embitter and skew and polarize our politics and give credibility to notions that can only bring disaster to the country."
- Only MSM Would Support Him DougJ of Balloon Juice seethes. "[T]he reason that Dick Cheney won't be the Republican nominee in 2012 is that people don’t like him and he’d be guaranteed to lose in a general election. But why should we leave these political decisions up to primary voters? Wouldn’t it be better if Republicans just did what Jon Meacham told them to do? The arrogance of articles like [this] amazes me." He adds, "The disconnect between the [mainstream media] Village and the voters here is near total. It isn't just that Cheney is disliked by the public at large, it’s that rank-and-file Republicans don’t even love him that much. Cheney is probably too monstrous for outside-the-beltway wingers, as crazy as they are. But he’s not too monstrous for the Village."
- Obama Is Already Cheney The American Prospect's Adam Serwer asks where they would disagree.
The idea Meacham is trying to convey is that Cheney, unlike the latte-sipping "girlie men" who make up the Democratic Party, is "tough on terror," while the drone assassination–happy, secret prison–running, state secrets doctrine–abusing, unreformed PATRIOT Act–supporting, torture photo–blocking, military commissions–convening, racial profiling Obama administration is made up of weaklings who just happen to have constructed a policy that looks virtually identical to the prior administration except where it is more aggressive. Meacham doesn't realize that he's demanding a "referendum" on policies Cheney and Obama actually agree on almost entirely in substance, with the exception of torture and closing Guantanamo Bay prison.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.