>OP ED: Cheney should step aside.

>It is clear that Vice President Dick Cheney has become something between a distraction and a liability for the Bush administration. Much of the reason has to do with the constant, and often specious, criticism of the “bashers,” but some is due to his own style and issues.

Since the Vice President is not totally blameless in drawing the adverse attention of critics, and the painful winces of supporters, this is a reasonable time to suggest he step down.

There are many good reasons to do so. He has pretty much served out his utility. Any good advice he can provide the President can be given from outside the office. The Scooter Libby issue will only attract more clouds. He is not likely to be the most sought after campaigner for his party’s congressional candidates. His health is compromised, and he could spend more time with the family. Etc. Etc. Etc.

There are enough issues to make a resignation credible — not seeming to be a political ploy to annoint a successor, and yet not enough scandal to have him depart in disgrace. Any more disclosures and he may have to depart by a much greater public clamor.

Perhaps the biggest reason for the resignation would be to allow the Bush administration an opportunity to rewrite the future with a fresh face — to zap the malaise that grips the White House. To do this, Bush would nominate Condi Rice as Vice President.

Instantly, the entire perception of the Bush presidency would change. The first woman and the first African-American to hold the second highest office in the land would dramatically reconfigure the political landscape for both Bush and the Republican Party. This would place Rice in the lead for the 2008 presidential nomination.

Her competency for the office is without question, despite anticipated criticism of faux civil rights leaders such as Jesse Jackson. It would instantly open the GOP’s historic ties to the black community.

A Rice vice presidency would totally befuddle all the current Democrat strategists pondering the 2006 elections and the 2008 nominations. The GOP could save their majorities in Congress, and even produce some gains.

Resigning is something Cheney should do for the good of the country and the cause … and that never hurt a person’s reputation.

Note to Condi: If you are nominated in 2008, I recommend you name outsider Steve Forbes as Vice President. His strength on the domestic/financial side coupled with your foreign policy background is a winning combo. Rice/Forbes sounds like a winner. Finally, a team America could really love.

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