Dick Cheney’s bad week

WIN MCNAMEE/Getty Images It’s been a lousy seven days for U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. Last Tuesday, the Taliban tried to blow him up at a U.S. base in Afghanistan. They failed—Cheney was nowhere near the blast at the time—but the stress of all those hours on the plane may have created a dangerous blood ...

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603518_070306_cheney_05.jpg

WIN MCNAMEE/Getty Images

It's been a lousy seven days for U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. Last Tuesday, the Taliban tried to blow him up at a U.S. base in Afghanistan. They failed—Cheney was nowhere near the blast at the time—but the stress of all those hours on the plane may have created a dangerous blood clot in his leg. And today, his ex-deputy, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was convicted for making false statements to the FBI and to the grand jury.

Expect uninformed speculation that Cheney is on the outs to redouble. We'll see stories alleging that the veep has lost influence inside the Bush administration, that he may step down for health reasons, and that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is on the short list to take his place.

WIN MCNAMEE/Getty Images

It’s been a lousy seven days for U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. Last Tuesday, the Taliban tried to blow him up at a U.S. base in Afghanistan. They failed—Cheney was nowhere near the blast at the time—but the stress of all those hours on the plane may have created a dangerous blood clot in his leg. And today, his ex-deputy, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, was convicted for making false statements to the FBI and to the grand jury.

Expect uninformed speculation that Cheney is on the outs to redouble. We’ll see stories alleging that the veep has lost influence inside the Bush administration, that he may step down for health reasons, and that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is on the short list to take his place.

My take? Don’t bet on any of it. First, there’s the cardinal rule of media rumors: Those who don’t know, talk, and vice versa. Nobody can keep a secret better than Dick Cheney. His office won’t even report (pdf) how many employees it has on the grounds that it “is neither a part of the executive branch nor a part of the legislative branch.” Cheney’s own fate will be the most closely-held secret in Washington. Second, talk of Cheney’s fall from grace is nothing new. Every time he experiences a setback (e.g. Rumsfeld gets fired, Bolton doesn’t get renominated), the speculation starts flying. And yet, there he is, reading the riot act to Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan, rousing the faithful at the Conservative Political Action Conference, headlining the American Israeli Political Action Committee’s annual policy conference. Dick is here to stay.

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