FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Ridge Scheduled As New Veep

by Alexander Cockburn And Jeffrey St. Clair

Before the September 11 attacks, vice president Dick Cheney was set to quit. President George Bush was preparing to nominate Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge as Cheney’s successor.

A prominent Philadelphia businessman and close friend of Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge has been telling friends that in late summer Cheney went to Bush and told the president that his health was so precarious that he would soon be forced to quit the vice presidential post. Bush had thereupon called the Pennsylvania governor and told him that when Cheney stepped down he wanted to nominate Ridge to the US Senate for confirmation as the new vice president.

With a medical history of four heart attacks since 1978, and a bypass in 1988, Cheney’s condition has been a subject of concern ever since Bush put him forward as his vice presidential nominee at the Republican convention in Philadelphia in July, 2000. Cheney’s health once again hit the headlines in January of this year when he was forced into surgery for an angioplasty amid the stresses of the Florida recount at the start of this year. Cheney had another “mild” heart in March and again went under the surgeon’s knife.

It’s no surprise that Bush called Ridge. Before he himself became the nominee Cheney had been supervising the search for Bush’s running mate and put Ridge at the top of the list. But Ridge is pro-choice and the fury of the Republican right forced Bush to abandon the plan. Even so, in recent months there’s been widespread speculation that Cheney would stand down in 2004, with Ridge as his designated successor. When Cheney was in hospital for surgery after his last heart attack, Ridge was summoned to Camp David, where he appeared at a press conference standing behind Bush.

Cheney’s decision to quit lends another level of drama to the morning of September 11, when a vice president with a weakening heart was running the country while the President was heading for the SAC deep shelters in Nebraska.

On September 12, amid widespread public dismay at Bush’s disappearing act on a day of dreadful national crisis, the White House concocted the story, later reiterated by Cheney, that there had “credible threat” of a plan to attack Air Force One, thus justifying Bush’s zig-zag, belated return to Washington. The White House told New York Times columnist William Safire that after the onslaughts of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon a terrorist phone call “using code words” had said Air Force One was a target. Safire leaped to the astounding conclusion that there was a bin Laden mole in the White House. Two weeks later, on September 25, CBS News reported that there had been no such phone call.

In a Meet the Press interview with ABC’s Tim Russert on September 16 Cheney laid great stress on succession as having been very much on his mind in those frantic morning hours of September 11. Four days later Bush told the joint session of Congress he was nominating Tom Ridge as head of the new Office of Homeland Security, thus setting Ridge on the national stage. CP

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net. Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch.

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 09, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Nasty As They Wanna Be
Henry Giroux
Trump’s Second Gilded Age: Overcoming the Rule of Billionaires and Militarists
Andrew Levine
Trump’s Chumps: Victims of the Old Bait and Switch
Chris Welzenbach
The Forgotten Sneak Attack
Lewis Lapham
Hostile Takeover
Joshua Frank
This Week at CounterPunch: More Hollow Smears and Baseless Accusations
Paul Street
The Democrats Do Their Job, Again
Vijay Prashad
The Cuban Revolution: Defying Imperialism From Its Backyard
Michael Hudson - Sharmini Peries
Orwellian Economics
Mark Ames
The Anonymous Blacklist Promoted by the Washington Post Has Apparent Ties to Ukrainian Fascism and CIA Spying
Erin McCarley
American Nazis and the Fight for US History
Yoav Litvin
Resist or Conform: Lessons in Fortitude and Weakness From the Israeli Left
Conn Hallinan
India & Pakistan: the Unthinkable
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Nativism on the Left – A Realer Smith
Joshua Sperber
Trump in the Age of Identity Politics
Brandy Baker
Jill Stein Sees Russia From Her House
Katheryne Schulz
Report from Santiago de Cuba: Celebrating Fidel’s Rebellious Life
Nelson Valdes
Fidel and the Good People
Norman Solomon
McCarthy’s Smiling Ghost: Democrats Point the Finger at Russia
Renee Parsons
The Snowflake Nation and Trump on Immigration
Margaret Kimberley
Black Fear of Trump
Michael J. Sainato
A Pruitt Running Through It: Trump Kills Nearly Useless EPA With Nomination of Oil Industry Hack
Ron Jacobs
Surviving Hate and Death—The AIDS Crisis in 1980s USA
David Swanson
Virginia’s Constitution Needs Improving
Louis Proyect
Narcos and the Story of Colombia’s Unhappiness
Paul Atwood
War Has Been, is, and Will be the American Way of Life…Unless?
John Wight
Syria and the Bodyguard of Lies
Richard Hardigan
Anti-Semitism Awareness Act: Senate Bill Criminalizes Criticism of Israel
Kathy Kelly
See How We Live
David Macaray
Trump Picks his Secretary of Labor. Ho-Hum.
Howard Lisnoff
Interview with a Political Organizer
Yves Engler
BDS and Anti-Semitism
Adam Parsons
Home Truths About the Climate Emergency
Brian Cloughley
The Decline and Fall of Britain
Eamonn Fingleton
U.S. China Policy: Is Obama Schizoid?
Graham Peebles
Worldwide Air Pollution is Making us Ill
Joseph Natoli
Fake News is Subjective?
Andre Vltchek
Tough-Talking Philippine President Duterte
Binoy Kampmark
Total Surveillance: Snooping in the United Kingdom
Guillermo R. Gil
Vivirse la película: Willful Opposition to the Fiscal Control Board in Puerto Rico
Patrick Bond
South Africa’s Junk Credit Rating was Avoided, But at the Cost of Junk Analysis
Clancy Sigal
Investigate the Protesters! A Trial Balloon Filled With Poison Gas
Pierre Labossiere – Margaret Prescod
Human Rights and Alternative Media Delegation Report on Haiti’s Elections
Charles R. Larson
Review:  Helon Habila’s The Chibok Girls: the Boko Haram Kidnappings and Islamist Militancy in Nigeria
David Yearsley
Brahms and the Tears of Britain’s Oppressed
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail