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Feb 01 2012

Newt’s Cabinet Would Be Undignified

One of the weird moments during the most recent Republican primary debate came when the candidates, other than Ron Paul, were pandering to the audience by talking up Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio. Santorum, Gingrich and Romney all lauded him as a possible cabinet pick, then Newt went a bit further:

Gingrich added, “When you think Cabinet, I think for example of Susana Martinez, the governor of New Mexico. You know, at the Cabinet level, I think of somebody like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.”

Then Gingrich hinted at a potential choice for vice president, saying, “I actually thought about Marco Rubio on a slightly more dignified and central role than being in the Cabinet, but that’s another conversation.”

So apparently, Newt considers the cabinet to be less “dignified” than something else, presumably the VP slot. I’m sure his potential cabinet members would be glad to hear that.

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  1. 1
    Anthony K

    Ah yes, the role of potential vice president, made dignified by such luminaries as Sarah Palin.

    I wonder what sort of lipstick-wearing dog Mark Rubio will be?

  2. 2
    holytape

    Have you seen some of the shit Newt has in his cabinet? He has way too many skeletons to all fit in the closet, and they have to be stored somewhere.

  3. 3
    matty1

    @2

    He could rent closet space from Tony Perkins, I hear his is so large he lives in there.

  4. 4
    reverendrodney

    I actually hope Newt takes the nomination just to see which whackjob he picks for a running mate. And to watch his proposed cabinet stumble out of the clown car.

  5. 5
    Alverant

    I thought the traditonal role of the GOP VP was to scare people into not trying to impeach the GOP President. Because who would want Quayle, Cheney, or Palin in the Oval Office?

  6. 6
    abear

    Brownian @1; Havanese?

  7. 7
    chilidog99

    The possibility of a Newt/Marco ticket for the GOP does have one interesting permutation.

    It would cause the heads of all the birthers who are running around squaking about the president’ birth certificate to instantly explode.

  8. 8
    richardelguru

    @Alverant that’s a trope that goes back at least to the sixties!
    I remember an old Private Eye (British satirical mag) with a cover of a devilishly* grinning Nixon with the added speech bubble saying something like “No one’s going to assassinate me with Spiro Agnew as Vice Pres”
     
     
    * He was SO good at looking really evil. Ah! How I miss him.

  9. 9
    abb3w

    Less likely but also possible was that Newt hinted at a SCOTUS appointment.

  10. 10
    TCC

    Two comments:

    1. Newt saying that VP is more dignified than a Cabinet position doesn’t necessarily entail than a Cabinet position is undignified.
    2. What should really merit scoffing is the notion that the vice presidency is more dignified than a Cabinet position. That just seems strange to me: I would think that a position like SecState would be far more dignified than VP. (Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know.)

  11. 11
    Cliff Hendroval

    Hasn’t Newt already said that if he won he’d nominate John Bolton (The Mustache That Roared) as SoS? Terrifying thought, that.

  12. 12
    tbp1

    @#7: You’re assuming birthers are self-aware enough to recognize the contradition.

  13. 13
    d cwilson

    Newt’s entire life hasn’t been dignified. Why would anyone expect his cabinet to be?

    It would cause the heads of all the birthers who are running around squaking about the president’ birth certificate to instantly explode.

    Birther King Joseph Farah already floated the “Rubio would be ineligible” balloon on Hannity’s show. Hamster was quick to shoot it down. No doubt nine out of ten birthers will soon have a ready made list of reasons why the “both parents must be US citizens at the time of the candidate’s birth” rule won’t apply to Rubio.

  14. 14
    dingojack

    No, no, no! You’re not reading the code correctly.
    In Newt-speak: dignified = pretty, but useless.
    So Rubio would slot easily into the VP position*.
    Dingo
    —–
    * And what did the two longest lived VP’s think of the office?
    Levi P Morton: “I’m the Vice-President – feel free to throw peanuts”.
    John N Garner: “The Vice-Presidency ain’t worth a pitcher of warm piss”.

  15. 15
    Ben P

    I thought the traditonal role of the GOP VP was to scare people into not trying to impeach the GOP President. Because who would want Quayle, Cheney, or Palin in the Oval Office?

    Like Biden is measurably better? Well if you exclude Palin, she’s sort of in a class of her own.

    Taking as an assumption a long shot that Gingrich would even get the nomination, a pick like Rubio would be interesting.

    I think the conventional or traditional wisdom in both parties is that the best choice is that the VP should be a “safe pick.” You pick an established member of the party who can stand in as a surrogate at fundraisers, and won’t make news by himself. The picking of a rising star as VP seems to be seen as a risk without much payoff.

    Cheney fits this role, as do Biden and Gore. All were long term legislators generally seen as having paid their dues. For the most part they were generally also seen as reliable mainstream members of the party and “safe” choices. Bush Sr., Mondale, and Rockefeller generally fit into this mold as well.

    Quayle is one exception, and Palin is another. Both were seen as potential rising stars, and Palin definitely didn’t work out, Bush Sr. did win his first term, but you might argue that was in spite of, but because of Quayle (see e.g. “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy” debate remark by Lloyd Bentsen)

  16. 16
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    Less dignified than a bucket of warm spit? How do you even get to such a place?

  17. 17
    exdrone

    If the job of VP is to replace POTUS, then given how awesome Newt is, he must be driven to consider a team of VPs. No one person could hope to fill his shoes. So Palin and Rubio are a good start. Perhaps Newt might be able to identify one Republican in each state who could join the VP team … and coincidently be crowd-pleasing to boot.

  18. 18
    Michael Heath

    Alverant:

    I thought the traditonal role of the GOP VP was to scare people into not trying to impeach the GOP President. Because who would want Quayle, Cheney, or Palin in the Oval Office?

    Dick Cheney was considered a very strong, capable choice in 2000. I know of no one regrets having that conclusion given the available evidence at/prior to 2000. His behavior in office surprised even his closet allies and was distinctly different. A close reading of his history has some reporters and historians concluding that the cowardice and fear he suppressed for most of his life was unleashed because of his experiences on the day of 9/11 – which did have a devastating effect on him (his 9/11 moment-to-moment day is a fascinating snapshot into 9/11). However I think that only partly explains it. Instead I think he was at his most unfettered as VP simply because of how weak the executive was (W. Bush); where his previous bosses were all strong enough executives to keep the direct reports in line – unlike Bush was a very passive manager of his Administration. So VP Cheney’s behavior was a conflation of his mental breakdown due to 9/11 coupled to his acting out his id given no one was able to check him, W. Bush, Condi Rice, and even rival Colin Powell simply didn’t have the bureaucratic infighting capabilities Mr. Cheney had honed over the decades. Especially given his partnership with Donald Rumsfeld, another master of Machiavellianism with very sharp elbows.

    George H.W. Bush admits to goofing on picking Dan Quayle. Both him and his son were often dismissive on nominations they cared little about, for Dad that was the VP pick in spite of him being a stellar VP, for father and son it was Supreme Court nominations. H.W.’s motivation for picking Qualye was clear and by far his biggest mistake as president, he picked him to get social conservatives to turn-out and vote for him since he was correctly considered a non-conservative moderate. It was a cynical move where pride prevented him from correcting this error in ’92, which helped him lose that election (along with raising taxes after promising not to do so and having Ross Perot in the race).

    John McCain picked Sarah Palin because he had no process to develop a short-list of candidates. The simplest of basic management tasks, like succession planning, eluded him. Instead he had two people he wanted where his campaign convinced him he’d lose if he picked either because they were pro-abortion rights, with Joe Lieberman being a Democrat back then as well (the other was PA ex-Gov. Tom Ridge). McCain emotionally and in a most infantile manner submitted to Sarah Palin to help turn-out anti-abortion rights advocates and pick up women – who his team thought were more up for grabs than most years because Obama beat Hillary Clinton in the primary, pissing off some women voters. The McCain campaign never vetted Palin’s ability to succeed McCain as president.

  19. 19
    velociraptor

    @ Michael Heath -

    I agree with you that Dick Cheney is a despicable coward (his FIVE draft deferrments during the Vietnam war – a war he supported prove that to my satisfaction), but I am curious as to what you base your assertion in your post at 18 on.

  20. 20
    Michael Heath

    velociraptor:

    I agree with you that Dick Cheney is a despicable coward (his FIVE draft deferrments during the Vietnam war – a war he supported prove that to my satisfaction), but I am curious as to what you base your assertion in your post at 18 on.

    I’m not sure which specific assertion your referencing.

  21. 21
    velociraptor

    Michael Heath -

    Mainly this: I would love to read an article or two on your first paragraph:

    “Dick Cheney was considered a very strong, capable choice in 2000. I know of no one regrets having that conclusion given the available evidence at/prior to 2000. His behavior in office surprised even his closet allies and was distinctly different. A close reading of his history has some reporters and historians concluding that the cowardice and fear he suppressed for most of his life was unleashed because of his experiences on the day of 9/11 – which did have a devastating effect on him (his 9/11 moment-to-moment day is a fascinating snapshot into 9/11). However I think that only partly explains it. Instead I think he was at his most unfettered as VP simply because of how weak the executive was (W. Bush); where his previous bosses were all strong enough executives to keep the direct reports in line – unlike Bush was a very passive manager of his Administration. So VP Cheney’s behavior was a conflation of his mental breakdown due to 9/11 coupled to his acting out his id given no one was able to check him, W. Bush, Condi Rice, and even rival Colin Powell simply didn’t have the bureaucratic infighting capabilities Mr. Cheney had honed over the decades. Especially given his partnership with Donald Rumsfeld, another master of Machiavellianism with very sharp elbows.”

  22. 22
    Michael Heath

    velociraptor,

    I’ve read countless articles on Dick Cheney and about a dozen books on the Bush Administration or related. The best place to start on Cheney specifically would be Barton Gellman’s “Angler”, Angler is a profile of Cheney starting with his working with the Bush 2000 campaign through his vice presidency. Here’s my review of that book: http://goo.gl/9N1tz

  1. 23
    kniha knih

    kniha knih…

    [...]Newt’s Cabinet Would Be Undignified | Dispatches from the Culture Wars[...]…

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