Monday, April 24, 2006

Paper calls for Dick Cheney's early retirement

Paper calls for Dick Cheney's early retirement

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Los Angeles Times editorial on Sunday called for a "far more audacious" makeover of President George W. Bush's administration, saying he should send Vice President Dick Cheney into early retirement.

Earlier this week, Bush Press Secretary Scott McClellan resigned and Karl Rove gave up his policy role as part of a White House sweep aimed at reviving Bush's sagging job-approval ratings ahead of November's pivotal mid-term elections.

"The remaking of the president in the public eye likely will require more than last week's game of musical chairs," the editorial said.

"Bush has acknowledged that he has spent much of his political capital on Iraq, and the way to replenish the reserves is to replace the officials most associated with the overreaching that led to the tragedy in Iraq -- and with the administration's broader disdain for diplomacy."

The paper noted broad speculation that Treasury Secretary John Snow will likely be ushered out next, but said a better solution would include the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld -- whose critics, including retired generals, have demand that he step aside -- and Cheney's ouster.

"Throwing Cheney overboard would be an implicit repudiation of the excessively hawkish foreign policy with which the vice president, even more than Rumsfeld, has been associated," the paper said.

Cheney told CBS television's "Face the Nation" on March 19 he had no intention of resigning. "I didn't ask for this job. I didn't campaign for it. I got drafted," Cheney said.

"I've now been elected to a second term," he told CBS. "I'll serve out my term."

Unlike most vice presidents, Cheney does not aspire to be president, the editorial said, so he would not be giving up a political birthright by agreeing to retire due to health reasons or concern over the publicity surrounding the trial of his former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

"No longer proclaiming 'mission accomplished,' Bush has been pursuing a sadder-but-wiser policy in Iraq that many Democrats also endorse," the paper said. "Having changed his tune, the president should also think about changing the company he keeps."