SALLY QUINN: SAVE OUR PRECIOUS REPUBLICAN PARTY!
If you want to know what the media wing of the D.C. Permanent Government is thinking about 2008, ignore David Broder's flirtation with the idea of a third-party presidential run and read Sally Quinn's current Washington Post column -- she's desperate to preserve GOP control of Washington, i.e., to save the Daddy who's been there since the 1980 elections.
Her jumping-off point is this not-quite-believable premise:
The big question right now among Republicans is how to remove Vice President Cheney from office. Even before this week's blockbuster series in The Post, discontent in Republican ranks was rising.
With just Cheney? Oh, please. Yes, the removal of Cheney would help a lot, but this administration is a disaster from tip to toe, and any Republicans who are beginning to get a clue know that.
...Removing a sitting vice president is not easy, but this may be the moment. I remember Barry Goldwater sitting in my parents' living room in 1973, in the last days of Watergate, debating whether to lead a group of senior Republicans to the White House to tell President Nixon he had to go.
...Today, another group of party elders, led by Sen. John Warner of Virginia, could well do the same.
Oh, good grief -- Warner again. Warner's going to turn against the war! Warner's going to boot Dick! Warner wears tights and a cape! He's Superman!
But he's not the hero of Quinn's piece, because he doesn't save the GOP for the future. That role falls to Quinn's proposed replacement for Cheney -- Fred Thompson:
... Everybody loves Fred. He has the healing qualities of Gerald Ford and the movie-star appeal of Ronald Reagan. He is relatively moderate on social issues. He has a reputation as a peacemaker and a compromiser. And he has a good sense of humor.
He could be just the partner to bring out Bush's better nature -- or at least be a sensible voice of reason. I could easily imagine him telling the president, "For God's sake, do not push that button!" -- a command I have a hard time hearing Cheney give.
Oh, that's just swell -- "Everybody loves Fred." Hey, let's skip the '08 election and just let Sally Quinn and her pals pick the next president! After all, they know what "everybody" thinks. Who needs democracy?
And Thompson might urge caution in counseling Bush? Is that the same Fred Thompson who recently implied that Israel might need to nuke Iran?
Ah, but here's my favorite paragraph:
Not only that, Thompson would give the Republicans a platform for running for the presidency -- and the president a way out of Iraq without looking like he's backing down. Bush would be left in better shape on the war and be able to concentrate on AIDS and the environment in hopes of salvaging his legacy.
Er, how does he give Bush "a way out of Iraq without looking like he's backing down"? Just by dint of his manly manliness? Ooooh, Fred Thompson, he's so dreamy! All the girls say so. Now that Bush has Fred as vice president, I won't think he's a wimp if he withdraws from Iraq!
And AIDS and the environment -- yeah, I'm sure that's what Bush really wants to be working on, not this pesky war that he clearly doesn't enjoy at all.
It's been obvious that the Broder-Quinn crowd (the folks who brought you "He came in here and he trashed the place, and it's not his place" during the Clinton years) will embrace whoever the Republicans nominate in '08 -- but now we know that Fred Thompson, if he's the nominee, will be embraced extremely enthusiastically, as "our kind," as a moderate (even though his recent pronouncements have consisted almost exclusively of wingnut talking points), and, well, as a dreamboat. Be afraid. Be very afraid.