Power Vacuum in the GOP with Downfall of Rove and Cheney

Whatever will Republicans do, now that "Cheney's Power No Longer Goes Unquestioned" and "Rove's Word Is No Longer G.O.P. Gospel"?

The GOP's automatons require a new leader to dictate their marching orders. That's thefeel you get fromtworecent headlines in theTimes, anyway.

A Sunday front-page story by David Sanger and Eric Schmitt is entitled "Cheney's Power No Longer Goes Unquestioned," while just eight days ago, the Times fronted "Rove's Word Is No Longer G.O.P. Gospel."

There's more extraneous criticism of Cheney ina Mondaystory by David Sanger, "Cheney Returns to a 9/11 Forum for Latest Iraq Defense."

"Mr. Cheney's appearance on 'Meet the Press' on NBC was part of the administration's drive before the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to change the minds of Americans who tell pollsters that they now believe the invasion of Iraq was a misguided diversion in the battle against terrorism.

"By the end of the interview he appeared to be preparing the ground for arguments that the country would be far less safe if Republicans lost control of one or both houses of Congress in the November elections.

"Mr. Cheney, who is rarely challenged in public, was returning to a forum he used just after the terrorist attacks and just before the Iraq war."