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Cheney in 2012? Now there’s a real September surprise


When George W. Bush selected Dick Cheney to be his running mate in 2000, some political observers thought it was a smart move.

After all, Cheney had cut his political teeth working for the candidate’s father and had already endured several heart attacks. So, the thinking went, the 60-year-old Cheney would not be a political rival to the new president, staging occasional rear-action insurrections, just a steadying veteran hand.

Right. In fact Cheney became the most powerful vice president in history, and Barton Gellman argues in his book "Angler" that Cheney did most of the steering in George W. Bush’s first term.

Now, nine years later, having survived heart seizures and eight years of the Bush administration, Cheney has emerged as an energizing force in Republican politics, becoming the most outspoken Bush-era critic of the Obama administration.

While the former president maintains a dignified public silence about his views, his former vice president has turned into a media pit bull -- accusing the new president of putting the country at risk by closing Guantanamo Bay and banning torture, accusing Atty. Gen. Eric Holder of politicizing the fight against terrorism by investigating CIA interrogators.

On Moday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs let him have it, accusing the former vice president of getting his facts wrong, of "the same song and dance we've heard almost from the first day."

Now comes James Taranto, a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, who is suggesting that Cheney would be a terrific presidential candidate in 2012. If national security emerges as the key issue in the election, he argues, “Republicans would be wise to nominate someone with both toughness and experience. Under such circumstances, it’s hard to think of a better candidate -- assuming, of course, that he could be persuaded to run -- than Richard B. Cheney.”

The calculus: If the Afghanistan war worsens, it will become Obama’s war. And if terrorists attack this country again, a fierce voice on national security might have a chance. Plus, Cheney is writing his memoirs, a sure route to the presidency.

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: Dick Cheney speaks at the Gerald R. Ford Foundation's annual Journalism Awards ceremony on June 1. Credit: Getty Images

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You can't be serious! Cheney for president, thats as funny as if the US elected Ronald Reagan for president.... ooops you did elect him. Well you do have Fox News and Rush Limburrger (what is his name?) I guess anythings possible.

Dick Cheney is a ultra right wing fascist who should be brought to trial for the criminal actions of himself in particular and the Bush Administration in general. People, please wake up to what he has done TO America and not accept the weak excuses he uses in defending his actions. Yes he might have that right to defend himself but that should be in a court of law and not behind some perceived privilages of his former office and through the media. He gave no such right to those tortured or wrongfully killed under his direction.

I crave journalism that covers more than the typical modern right/left in the US. We need to give liberty a voice.. I want to hear more about what representative Ron Paul might have to say than a washed up Vice President who advocated a failed foreign policy.

Mr. Cheney has my vote! He is a great American.

I very much doubt that Mr. Cheney is healthy enough to make it to 2012..evil
enough yes. The mere thought of him as president is very frightening.

The first stop for Cheney before he steps into the White House again should be jail.

So, for Cheney and the Republicans a new terrorist attack against our country would be the best possible source of political possibilities. How patriotic!

Dick Cheney should be in The Hague on war crimes charges for the way he turned the "war on terror" into the war on American values. Every word he utters reveals his rotten sense of morality, trying to justify what people did to other human beings in the name of protecting the country. That's not the way America treats people, and someone who believes that what we did was OK certainly doesn't deserve to be mentioned as a presidential candidate.


Cheney is a joke.

The last comment really caught my eye. How is writing memoirs a sure way to the presidency? That strikes me as reverse logic at its finest. All the vice presidents wrote memoirs before becoming president therefore if Dick Cheney writes his he is likely to do the same??? I don't care to know the stats but I know limp logic when I see it. Cheney is the kiss of death except with the American occult of fascist hyperbole. Good luck. I'll bet on a saner outcome.

Cheney in 12? I don't think so. I totally support his criticism of the Obama three-ring circus. I think Obama's actions and plans are an abomination. I give nothing but thanks that those in the Bush Administration did what they did to keep the shores of America safe. But, be careful of cheerful journalists with brainstorms about Republican leadership. Yes, at the moment, the former V.P. is the MAN. And we who consider ourselves Conservatives are wanting desperately to find a potential presidential candidate with the gonads that Mr. Cheney is showing at the moment. But, face it: He IS too old, he's from a generation that's seen its time. The media pundits KNOW that....and are trying to get us excited about a guy that can't ever carry the nomination back into the White House. Yes, we absolutely need somebody besides Obama, but we also definitely need to nominate someone besides Cheney. Sad to say, but Cheney in 2012 would absolutely mean four more Obama years...

Terrorists would love a reactionary like Dick Cheney, to start new wars at their whim, install a police state here at home, become die-hard torturers -- all they need to do is attack the US a few more time, and then watch us sink like the Titanic., if people like Cheney were at the helm. The half sunk us with 9/11, due to the unartful "tough-guy" reaction of Cheney and Bush.

I guess if you can't counter with a good argument then attach their grammar?

Bring it on! Can't wait to ditch the ass of a president we have in office right now. =)

Hey, Chet for pres,

Nominate me for president. If I win I will do a better job than Obama . He rely on teleprompters to sweet talk to the american people. Then he and the demos make up lies, give misinformation and blame the Bush administration for their failures. Cheney, kick ass.

Cheney for Prez? God save us all...The world is coming to an end.

It's unwise for this administration to go back , wasting time and money checking on something the past president did when that case was investigated and CLOSED. Bush didn't go back on Bill Clinton. Obama is stumbling, spending and still in campaign mode. He needs to stop looking back and take his administration forward. Or, will he go back to George Washington's presidency and investigate him for cutting down a cherry tree?

When Johanna Neuman writes "[...] Cheney is writing his memoirs, a sure route to the presidency," it seems to me that either she or I must clearly misunderstand the phrase "sure route."

Cheney run in '12? Awesome! Maybe he'll pick Palin as his running mate!!! Then Obama wouldn't be so distracted in his fourth year by having to run a campaign.

I agree with Chet that Cheney should have to defend the Bush administration over the last 8 years. Why block the investigation that will give him a chance to do it?

Lies, torture, publishing names of covert CIA agents to kill their careers, politically motivated firings of federal attorneys ... hey, he needs to keep talking, only he needs somebody around to point out when he's lying.

Please, GOP, run that SOB for president.... PLEASE!

Chet, could you tell us why if the war is wrong in Iraq then the war is wrong in Afghanistan? As someone who wanted Bush to go get Bin Laden without getting distracted by side-war, I find that reasoning a little weird.

Devin, thanks for the corrections.
I think my spelling was more an incorrect typing because I'm usually in a room talking to others when I type. However,even if I can't spell you have no right to say I can't think and criticize Obama.Try checking the incorrect spelling of some reporters or senators. You said, (one is not taken very seriously about their foreign domestic policy views when they can't spell). The felons, homeless, uneducated poor, some who couldn't read or write voted for Obama. Should their rights to voice their opinions and vote be taken away because of that and their inability to spell. That would be called prejudice wouldn't it?

Thanks Cheney, speak up and tell the truth. The real delusional people are the ones who voted for obama. I would rather see Bush and Cheney leading this country than the bunch of liars and tax cheats we have running it today. People like Bush, Cheney and Sarah Palin are the kind that made this country great.

PS, I capitalize words when I want to.

Devin said----One is not taken very seriously about their foreign or domestic policy views when they can't spell----.
Well, President Obama, when off his teleprompter use words like mo-joe, bamboozle, wee weed up 57 states and said, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade. Should he be taken seriously and is he qualified to be president?

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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