Barring illness, Dick Cheney will be the Republican Presidential nominee in 2012. Of course, the mainstream media will yap away for the next two years about the polls and chances and strategies of Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney and anyone else in the Republican Party who does not cheat on their spouse or have gay sex.
Dick Cheney is running. Consider this: instead of returning to Wyoming to spend time with his family as he repeatedly said he would, Cheney has remained in the DC area. Secure in his free-pass from the Obama administration over torture, providing aid-and-comfort to enemies of the United States for outing Valerie Plame and thus her entire undercover operation, failing to comply with the law to keep records for the national archives, and a potential host of other abuses of power and illegalities, Cheney is in town keeping his fingers in the pie, letting his network know that he is there.
His book is set to be released in 2011 -- conveniently for a book-tour just prior to campaigning, and conveniently after the other Bushies, including W's, are published so that Cheney can have the last word. He will distance himself from the Bush domestic policies that have wreaked havoc on our economy, and claim that the world would be safer if Bush had continued listening to him, instead of Condolezza Rice, in term two.
Cheney will state that his reason for running is fear that another term of President Obama will weaken our national security so there will be a guaranteed terrorist attack on US soil. He will take up the mantra of budget deficit/economic freedom that President Obama will not have been able to deal with because of the Bush/Cheney mess handed to him, for which Cheney will have disclaimed responsibility in his book.
Cheney's real reason for running is to bury all his skeletons -- especially the inescapable conclusion of history that he, Dick Cheney, was primarily responsible for being asleep at the switch and allowed September 11th to happen in the first place. Bush was an incompetent dolt, and willingly handed Cheney the entire national security portfolio. Cheney, along with his buddy Rummy, had come to office to reconstitute the Star Wars program to the delight of the military-industrial establishment. Terrorism was of no interest, because there was no big money associated with it. Cheney recently said as much when he inadvertently used the phrase, "after we began to take al-Qaeda seriously" referring to the post-9/11 environment. [Hope those who will be cutting anti-Cheney commercials captured that one].
Cheney will drain all the oxygen out of the other Republican fundraising efforts so that, with the exception of Mitt Romney who can spend his own money again, no one else will have a financial chance to counter him.
Citing his age and medical history, Cheney will also declare that he will serve only a single term, and thus his choice of Vice-President will be critical. This will bolster his stated rationale for running, to "save the country," that will only take one term, and that he will leave it in good hands with his Vice-President for 2016 or before if he becomes incapacitated. Health allowing, of course, Dick Cheney would not be Dick Cheney if he did not break his promise on that too.
He will let the word "leak" that no one who runs against him for president will be considered for the VP slot -- and that VP slot is likely to be the nominee in 2016 regardless of what happens in the '12 election.
Potential primary opponents will, therefore, have little money and much fear of being excluded as Cheney's VP choice. There will be little, if any, competition, and Cheney will walk into the nomination without any bruising primary battle -- and perhaps without a primary battle at all.
Cheney has such a long track record of the kind of extremism loved by the rightwing that the Republican base is his for the asking. Like Ronald Reagan, but for entirely different reasons, Cheney has so much currency with the right wing (after all, he was one of only three Members of Congress voting against banning plastic guns -- and, if he had prevailed, one can imagine just how safe our airlines would be!) that he can even move away from it on select issues -- such as adopting a more conciliatory attitude on gay marriage because of his own family experience -- without them abandoning him.
Do not expect Cheney to participate in any of the ridiculous free-for-all primary "debates," nor to appear on any interview program except Fox. His excuse is that he has been around long enough so people know him, and besides those "debates" will be non-events without the frontrunner participating. He will not even bother responding to calls for greater accessibility during the long primary season.
With both Democratic and Republican primary campaign seasons, then, as boring in 2012 as they were exciting in 2008, both sides will have plenty of time and money to put into a long general campaign.
Before Democrats start licking their chops over a Cheney candidacy, I suggest they think again. In Perfectly Clear, Frank Mankiewicz documents how allowing Richard Nixon to escape legal proceedings for fraud during his 1962 losing campaign for California Governor, the Democrats let him back into the national picture -- with Nixon nearly succeeding in destroying our democratic processes.
Nixon's anti-democratic actions arose out of personal fear and insecurity. Cheney's arise from conviction: he truly is anti-democratic.
True, Cheney's persona is a big problem -- he twists his mouth as he speaks conveying the impression he is twisting the truth, and, in his case, substance follows form. He is old and grey and paunchy and pasty -- and by '12, will be older, greyer, paunchier and pastier -- and snarls. So, for his Vice-President, he will choose someone as deeply authoritarian, but the antithesis of snarly and gnarly. But, it won't be Sarah -- Cheney would not trust that woman to be responsible for his legacy.
Despite his low personal approval ratings (around that of OJ), the Republican nomination will itself provide Cheney 35-40% of the vote. That is before the big money, the big lies and the big fears are promulgated and repeated night-after-night-after-night-after-night.
Cheney will also have the aid of al-Qaeda. Nothing would serve the interests of bin Laden more than a return to the 'clash of civilizations,' the further overstretching and weakening of the US military (the list of wars Cheney claims should be fought are staggering), the further bleeding of our national treasure, massive dissent of our major allies and their populations and in the streets of the United States.
A Dick Cheney Administration is made-to-order for al-Qaeda. Do not expect them to sit idly by and watch that opportunity vanish.
None of this need happen. Let us not be as asleep to Cheney's designs as Cheney was to al-Qaeda's.