Valeria Plame Affair and the Law of Unintended Consequences

I must confess to being at a loss over the whole Valerie Plame leak affair, which strikes me as mostly a political battleground between the two parties, so I have not really tried to figure it out. 

However, one thing struck me reading a story about it the other day:  The only thing that was clear to me was that folks on the left seem to envision an ultimate goal of bringing down either Karl Rove or Dick Cheney.  From a short-term political standpoint, I suppose this might be satisfying.  From a longer-term view, say out to 2008, it seems stupid to me.

Let's take Karl Rove first.  I have to take the left's word for it that he is an evil political genius.  But if so, why would you want the guy out on the street.  Right now he is wasting his talents on a lame-duck president who can't run in 2008, and neither can his VP.  Why do you want to put this powerful piece of electioneering artillery out on the street, available to a Republican candidate several years in advance of 2008?

The backfire from bringing down Cheney seems even worse.  As I pointed out a year ago, 2008 will be the first election in 50+ years where there is no incumbent VP or president running for either party.  There is nothing Republicans would love to do more than have a VP spot they could fill with a 2008 candidate.  The GOP Party apparatus would love it, because both Parties secretly long for a return to the day of smoke-filled rooms (rather than primaries) for selecting their candidates, and this would give Party leaders more control of the outcome.  There is nothing either party hates more than having Iowa select its candidates from an open slate - being able to choose a new VP would allow the GOP to effectively choose a front-runner.  The GOP would benefit no matter who is put in the position, because the suddenly have an incumbent running, with the advantages of being an incumbent, in 2008.  Does anyone doubt that the VP would suddenly get extra visibility over the next few years, as Clinton did for Gore?  Finally, Bush would love it, because it would give him another Miers-type opportunity to reward a friend (or crony, as your perspective may dictate) such as Condoleeza Rice.


  1. markm:

    What I do not understand was why Bush did not replace Cheney with a possible successor in 2004.

  2. Skip Oliva:

    Actually, I think a potential replacement VP would face difficulty getting confirmed (the 25th amendment requires majority approval by both houses of Congress.) Because there are a number of senators from both parties expected to run--and many other senators and House members jockying to support said candidates--there would be a strong incentive to oppose a VP who would be a 2008 frontrunner. You speak of the GOP as if its a monolith still run in the smoke-filled room. Today parties, particularly in a presidential primary situation, are dominated by constituency (or interest) groups, and they are unlikely to unify around a single choice before the real campaigning--and fundraising--has begun.

    There is historical precedent here. When Spiro Agnew resigned the vice presidency, Nixon's first choice to succeed him was John Connally, his treasury secretary. Connally himself withdrew from consideration because he knew Democrats and Republicans alike viewed him as a potential successor to Nixon in 1976, and neither party wanted to coronate him as the next Republican nominee.

  3. Max Lybbert:

    If people like Dole and Kerry (and several others) can get through the primaries, I'd love to see them removed from the system.

  4. james Zipf:

    to whom i may concern and to whom may have the answer to my question. when all this crap about leaking caame out i recall that all kinds of people where saying that she was telling everyone in washington party areas that she was working for the cia and what she was doing there,(secret agent. 1 did she in fact tell people 2 if she did what the problem.3 if this statement is true where can i go to get this info to share with others that dont realize SHE OUTED HERSELF. thanks jim please send answer to my email