"We want to be a nation that serves goals larger than self. We've been offered a unique opportunity, and we must not let this moment pass."
These words, spoken by President Bush in his State of the Union address of 2002, following the 9/11 attack, were a call to Americans to serve their country in a way that creates positive results, with more concern for their nation than for their own ends. These words, admittedly taken out of context, can have another meaning and the same principle applies. It can mean taking steps never considered previously, to create massive change in the political and social landscape of the United States.
President Bush has a unique opportunity to be a president who serves goals larger than self, and he must not let this moment pass. With 3 simple acts, he can:
1.) Resolve all issues the Republicans are having with determining a 2008 nominee;
2.) Guarantee Republican control of the White House through 2016;
3.) Continue the trend of taking seats in the House and Senate;
4.) Continue to prosecute the War on Terror consistent with the Bush Doctrine;
5.) Give the 2008/2012 president the opportunity to choose the anticipated 3-4 Court appointees;
6.) End the democratic lock on the black vote forever;
7.) End the perception of "Republicans are bigots" forever;
8.) Be hailed as the Lincoln of our time;
9.) Be hailed as the Washington/Cincinnatus of our time;
10.) Reduce the democratic party to the point that they will be forced to re-form into a viable opposition;
11.) Prove to be the Uniter he has promised for so long;
12.) Restore faith in the minds of the voters regarding political figures and service to the country.
The acts are very simple, albeit unusual and unprecedented. They require considerable personal and political will, especially the final one; if done correctly his name will be chiseled on pedestals from the Right and the Left as a great president and civil-rights champion.
Following the 2006 elections, there will be a 2-year period of relative lame-duckness in his administration. Iraq is becoming more stable by the day and can reasonably be predicted to be close to self-sufficiency by mid-2007. This point in time would be ideal for Vice-President Cheney to retire gracefully, having served his country proudly in a variety of positions spanning decades. His health concerns and desire to spend time with his family would begin to override the need to advise the president, and with Iraq stabilized he could rest secure in the knowledge that his services are no longer as necessary as they once were. Heartfelt congratulations abound, the "Cheney lightning rod" exits, and a grateful nation wishes the Vice-President well.
This would leave an opening for Vice-President.
That was Step One.
Step Two is probably obvious to most at this point: nominate Condoleezza Rice for Vice-President. There would be a small tussle for confirmation, but eventually she would be confirmed by the Republican majority and the dems who don't dare vote down a supremely qualified black woman for the Number Two spot. She was confirmed for State 85-13, so it is reasonable to assume she would also get the nod for promotion.
A secondary part of step two would be to bring Karen Hughes in at Sec'y of State -- she is already undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and is a known quantity for the president with regard to loyalty, shared vision, and experience. This resolves questions of Condi's replacement at State.
At this point he could stop. Condi would be the 2008 Republican frontrunner and would be running as the de facto incumbent, symbolizing the passing of the torch as Bush I did following Reagan, or as Gore attempted after Clinton. Bush would get points for the first black female VP, and Republicans would be able to breathe easier knowing they did not have to choose from the sorry lot available to us at the current time. She would likely pick up significant blacks and women in addition to strong Republican turnout and win in a landslide in 2008, setting up an incumbent run in 2012.
Bonus:The Lizard Queen would never get the throne.
But wait; There's More....
This part is the true test of character. In late 2007 Condi is confirmed and has been the VP for several months and has been brought up to speed. Of course, she has had a huge head start by being the president's national security advisor and secretary of state. There's probably very little she does not know already.
Step Three: George Bush steps down as president, declaring that the country is in good hands.
Yes, you read that right. The president, having done his duty in the protection of our country, knowing that a lame duck will struggle to get anything of significance passed, chooses instead to make history like never before: A United States president resigns not in disgrace but in glory, bequeathing the highest office in the land to a black woman born of sharecroppers who worked her way to the greatest height of power in the world.
The energy of this new president and her administration for the rest of 2007 and 2008 will be the head of a cresting wave that declares the Civil Right Movement to be fully realized. Republicans accept a black woman as their leader, fellow blacks feel confident voting for a Republican, the race warlords are neutered, the now-incumbent President Rice wins easily in 2008 and most likely 2012, the likelihood of continuing gains in the Court increases, the War on Terror continues according to Bush's template, and the democrats are reduced to an insignificant powder for a generation. George Bush is the new Lincoln, Washington, and Cincinnatus. Martin Luther King's dream is reality. We get our judges.
Despite the obvious setback for the dems, this is actually a good scenario for them as well, as it would force them to tear down the rotting platform they have now and re-assess what they stand for. In order to avoid political oblivion, they would be forced to become a valid opposition party that stands for something and the race-based victimization card they have been playing for so long would have to be discarded. We need a valid functional opposition consisting of rational adults, and this setup accomplishes that as well.
It is the best possible thing to do. Again, he could stop with appointing Rice as VP and serving out his term, but taking the drastic third step of resigning and leaving the country in her hands would accomplish so much more, and would be the proverbial dagger to the heart of racial division in this country. In addition, it would consolidate Republican power for a generation, create a presidential legacy even greater than his response to 9/11, and usher in a new era for politics in general. It would be a major moment in history that has the added practical benefit of being exactly what many would like to see but are unsure how to accomplish.
The trick is to avoid the normal electoral math, over which so many obsess, and utilize the contitutional tools that have been previously untried. A new paradigm, combined with unprecedented selflessness, results in THE political play of US history. It is foolproof and legal -- the dems cannot stop it except for confirming Ms. Rice as Vice-President, and that will not happen. Everything else is strictly and unquestioningly legal and constitutional. They could literally do nothing to stop this, and the public opinion will be overwhelmingly positive.
Checkmate in three moves.
Mr. President, you can actually do the most for your long-term agenda and this nation by resigning under the right circumstances at the right time. I have written this piece with the hope that somehow it gets to you, and that your decision-making inner circle will see, consider, and reflect on the staggering consequences of such actions. Please do not misunderstand: I do not wish you to resign for the sake of going away; rather, this is a one-time shot at accomplishing many things at once, not the least of which is a relatively guaranteed continuation of your own policies, but also precedent-setting actions on every level, and the truest victory of finally bridging the race gap. The last 2 years of your term are likely to be unproductive anyway, so why not go back to Crawford to relax and clear some brush, delivering a political nuclear blast on the way out while knowing that the fallout will be so very positive and in the nation's (and your legacy's) best interest? The framework is there, just waiting for someone of vision, patriotism, and strength to employ.
It is a mind-boggling thing to consider -- asking a sitting president to resign without any apparent reason to do so regarding himself, but with every possible reason for the good of the nation and continuity in his established policies. Crazy it may be, but it seems to me to be the correct course of action at the end of a relevant and vital presidency (and the beginning of another). Let's keep it going, on our terms, giving our person the best chance for keeping the seat in 2008, that of the power of incumbency. You can be a hero and do the right thing at the same time. These opportunities do not arise often. Please reflect on the words you spoke in January 2002; see that you have the greatest opportunity to serve goals larger than yourself, and that you must not allow this moment to pass.