This just in from a close friend who worked inside the pinnacle of Republican power in the Senate a few years ago, so while this is rumor — it’s Republican rumor, which makes it interesting:
Steve, just heard from trusted friend that McCain was approached about serving as VP if Cheney has “health problems” or otherwise steps down.
Beyond that, speculation that Miers will step down to be replaced by a Bork-like sub (even better, Bork himself…). In other words, Cheney takes a bullet, a titanic battle over SCOTUS ensued to change the subject. You didn’t hear this from me, but feel free to pass on such unsubstantiated rumors.
The politics of distraction and wag-the-dog style political machinations happen in this town.
I still have a hard time believing Cheney would step down, but it could happen. And we all know that the Miers effort is not going well.
If Cheney did step down and McCain ascended, the question is to what degreet McCain would be given the latitude to “clean up things” — otherwise, he runs the risk of sinking with the Bush administration and having his name sink with it.
Alternatively, only two U.S. Presidents in history have gone directly from the Senate to the White House. McCain getting the VP position in a time of crisis would make him the stand-out among all other candidates.
And you can be darn sure that the fundamentalist right would be stuck in a corner.
— Steve Clemons