The Corner

BUSH TO CHENEY TO HASTERT TO LUGAR TO PELOSI TO CLINTON!

I’m a little late to notice this, but at the Huffington Post, American Theocracy author Kevin Phillips is floating the idea that, because President Bush’s poll numbers are down, and the CIA leak investigation is continuing, both the president and Vice President Dick Cheney might resign:

Two months ago, it was suggested in this space that the prospect of having a lame-brain lame duck in the White House for nearly three more years suggested that serious consideration be given to possibilities whereby he might be replaced.

This has taken on even greater gravity in the last few days because of the rumors swirling about the imminence of the special prosecutor indicting White House political chief Karl Rove for perjury related to the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

Were such an indictment to come, Bush might be hard-pressed to survive, and with the same scandal lapping at the shoes of Vice President Dick Cheney, it’s likely that any retirement-cum-resignation would have to be a double one. Democrats might be secretly thrilled by the possibility of having a crippled, muddied President Cheney for two years, but such a succession would never fly with the public.

What then? Phillips goes on to speculate that, were Bush and Cheney to resign at the same moment, the next in line for the presidency, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, “a former high school wrestling coach,” would prove unqualified to move up. At that point, Phillips suggests, “wise Republicans” would oust Hastert as Speaker of the House and replace him with…Senator Richard Lugar, who would then ascend to the presidency.

But what if Bush and Cheney were to resign after this November, and Democrats win control of the House, making Nancy Pelosi speaker? Phillips theorizes that wise Democrats, like those wise Republicans, would realize that Pelosi was unqualified to move up. And at that point, they would oust her as Speaker of the House and replace her with…Bill Clinton, who would then become president.

Phillips concedes that such a turn of events might prove “tumultuous.”

Even if you, like many people, have a low opinion of Phillips, you might not believe that he would write something like this. Read it for yourself .

Byron York is a former White House correspondent for National Review.

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