At first when I heard Ross Douthat, the new conservative op-ed writer at the New York Times, had suggested that the GOP should have run Dick Cheney as the presidential candidate in 2008, I thought he was another ridiculous right-winger. I thought he was seriously going to argue that Cheney would have won. But it turns out he had a different point, a very interesting point.
Douthat's argument was that no one represents the conservative viewpoint in America better than Cheney does. So, if you really want a litmus test of whether the Republican Party is losing elections because they are too far left or too far right, what better way of doing that than running the man who best represents the right?
This way, if he had won, we would have found out the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannitys of the world were right. The problem with the Republican Party had been that they were being too soft and moderate. No one is harder than Cheney. But if he lost, they could get it through their thick skulls that the country is not that far right and the Republican Party erred by going too far away from the American middle.
But you know, it's not too late! Why not run him in 2012? He'd be younger than John McCain was when he ran in 2008. Cheney certainly seems lively and engaged in the national debate now. It's not like he's withdrawn from national politics. In fact, you might be hard pressed to find a more prominent Republican leader right now.
The only reason I can think that the Republicans wouldn't run him as their dream conservative candidate is that they know they are full of shit. They are perfectly aware that Cheney would get slaughtered, eviscerated, destroyed, pwned and waterboarded by almost any Democrat in a national election, let alone the widely popular Obama.
These conservative talk show hosts claim that the Republican Party does not defend its positions forcefully enough. They certainly can't say that of the former vice president. He's out there defending torture and intensely aggressive foreign policy every week.
If you ask me, it looks like he is pleading with Al Qaeda to hit us again so that he can be proven "right" in his mind. It seems like he's trying to send a not so subtle message to Osama bin Laden to strike so that he could run around gloating that we were hit as soon as we stopped torturing people. But that's not how the right sees it. They think he's doing God's work out there, defending the seemingly indefensible. And that he is the one man trying to keep this country safe. Ok, great. Then have at it, hoss.
Why not run on this ideology in 2012? Use the same fear tactics Bush used twice, that the conservative talk show hosts love and see if you can get the American people to buy into it. Do you believe or don't you? If torture rocks so much, why don't you get its biggest advocate to defend it and fight for it on the campaign trail?
Come on, I dare you. I triple dog dare you. Make the most conservative man in America your candidate, if you got the guts. You're not going to back down from a battle of ideas, are you? You're not going soft on us, are you? Come on, do it! Run Cheney in 2012. Make our day.