Did you notice that at every stop on the President’s information-gathering tour this week, there was a very familiar face looming over his shoulder? There was Vice President Dick Cheney, looking as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
Should the president suddenly have an original thought or seem to be going wobbly, Cheney will be right there to squelch it or to set him straight.
It can be argued that George W. Bush understood little about war and peace and diplomacy and honesty in government. Cheney understood all of it, and he bears much of the responsibility for what's gone on in Washington, D.C. and in Iraq for the last six years. Keep a sharp eye on him. Desperate men do desperate things.
The country will have to find a way to wrestle power out of Bush's incompetent hands. The situation in Iraq can be made worse, and Bush will make it worse. (See below). The grown-up Republicans have forced Rumsfeld out, and put Gates in, at Defense. But, Mr. Cheney is still there.
At some point, the grown-up Republicans will notice that Mr. Cheney can be a useful sacrifice. Force Cheney to resign. Then, Bush can appoint a Vice-President, who will have all the advantages of incumbency in 2008, but none of the burdens of the Bush-Cheney legacy. The new V-P can take effective power out of Bush's hands for the remainder of Bush's term.
You will know we are entering the Eye of the Perfect Storm, when Cheney leaves. There will be the relief of apparent sunshine and calm.