My colleague Joni Balter has blogged two hunches here: first, that the federal government will propose a military draft after the election (especially if Bush wins, but even if it’s Kerry); and, second, that Bush will dump Cheney off the Republican ticket. Here are my thoughts.
On the draft: It wouldn’t be the first time that a war policy was offered right after an election. FDR ran for a third term in 1940 promising “again and again and again” never to send our boys off to foreign wars (though he did approve a draft during the campaign). A month after the 1940 election he called for military aid to Britain, which was a major step toward joining the war against Germany.
Woodrow Wilson had run in 1916 on the slogan of “He kept us out of war;” in the spring of 1917 he got us into World War I.
Then there was Lyndon Johnson, who painted Goldwater as a warmonger in 1964, won the election, then proceeded to “escalate” in Vietnam in 1965.
I don’t think the government will ask for a draft because it would be deeply unpopular and because the military wants a professional corps, not drafted cannon-fodder. But they might be desperate.
On the vice presidency: The last V-P thrown over the side was Henry Wallace in 1944. Democratic pols were afraid FDR was going to die in office, and that the mystical and pro-Soviet Wallace would become president. They replaced him with Harry Truman, which turned out to be a very smart thing.
I think it would be brilliant for Bush to replace Cheney, because Cheney is associated with the war and, by implication, the mistakes of the war. Bush has the perfect excuse: Cheney’s health, and also the need for the party to groom a candidate for 2008, which Cheney could never be.
The best candidate to replace Cheney would be Colin Powell, because among Bush’s top people he is tarred the least by the war, because he would make a candidate in 2008, and because he is loyal.
Will this happen? I have no idea. Powell has said in the past he didn't want to run.
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