Fred Barnes has an interesting article today titled A “Third Term” for Bush, not a literal third term, of course, but a figurative one. Fred argues by rearranging some of his staff and hiring new faces, President Bush could revitalize his presidency, providing him a “third term” in a sense.
Here are some of Fred’s suggestions:
The president’s most spectacular move would be to anoint a presidential successor. This would require Vice President Cheney to resign. His replacement? Condoleezza Rice, whom Mr. Bush regards highly. Her replacement? Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, whose Bush-like views on Iraq and the war on terror have made him a pariah in the Democratic caucus.
Mr. Cheney would probably be happy to step down and return to Wyoming. But it would make more sense for him to move to the Pentagon to replace Donald Rumsfeld as defense secretary, a job Mr. Cheney held during the elder Bush’s administration. The Senate confirmation hearing for Mr. Cheney alone would produce political fireworks and attract incredible attention. At Treasury, Mr. Bush has a perfect replacement for John Snow, someone he already knows. That’s Glenn Hubbard, former chairman of Mr. Bush’s council of economic advisers and currently dean of Columbia’s business school. He is in sync with Mr. Bush ideologically and has the added value of being respected on Wall Street.
These are interesting ideas but highly unlikely. There’s a new rumor about Cheney resigning about every week. Each time the left waits with bated breath just to have their hopes dashed. Besides, Cheney has already been defense secretary. Why would he want to have that position again? Rumsfeld already offered to resign a couple of times and Bush refused him each time. His position seems solid. Also, Secretary Rice said quite adamantly that she has no interest in running for president. And Leiberman isn’t going to leave his post in the Senate to become Secretary of State for Bush, who the Dems consider to be the second cousin to Satan. He’d also leave his Senate seat open to be filled by Connecticut’s Republican governor. The Dems would skewer him.
Also, Fred suggests swapping out Rove and Mehlman:
The trickiest issue is how to handle Karl Rove, the deputy White House chief of staff and political adviser. He is the closest thing to indispensable–on policy as well as politics–at the White House. But any overhaul that didn’t involve him would run the risk of not being taken seriously. The solution is to send Mr. Rove to the Republican National Committee as chairman and bring the current chairman, Ken Mehlman, back to the president’s staff as communications chief. The president lauded Mr. Rove as “the architect” of his re-election in 2004. Now he could be the architect of a Republican comeback in 2006. Mr. Mehlman would sharpen the president’s communication operation. He and Mr. Rove would work together, as they do now.
This is the most interesting of Fred’s ideas. He makes a great point about Rove whipping the Republicans into shape for the 2006 midterm elections. The Dems up for reelection in congress would howl. The Architect’s skill would be focused on defeating them. Ask Al Gore and John Kerry what that’s like. And just think: Rove versus Dean. That would be a lot of fun.
Fred makes other interesting points; read the rest of the article.