OH NOES! On this "Day Of Assessing The Fallout" of yesterday's "Day Of Cheney Straight Up Givin' A Speech The Same Day As Obama, IT'S ON!" I nearly forgot to mention the biggest piece of leftover controversy: how does Dick Cheney pronounce his last name? If you're like me, you are constantly bedeviled by the way Chris Matthews is always saying "Chee-knee." It's so annoying! And, yet, I've been led to believe that Matthews is right, and that Dick Cheney merely tolerates the mispronunciation -- strange behavior from someone who tortures strangers and shoots his good friends in the face!
But today, MSNBC's Willie Geist summoned up the courage to ask Liz Cheney about this matter:
GEIST: We need to set the record straight on something. Chris Matthews says it's pronounced "Chee-ney" and the family pronounces it that way. Liz Chaney, how do you pronounce your last name?
LIZ CHENEY: I pronounce it Chay-ney. And it has been quite sometime, maybe ever since Chris Matthews was at any Cheney family events.
GEIST: He doesn't get those invitations? All right, there it is, Chris. Sorry, it's Chay-ney.
That's a good burn on Chris Matthews, and we applaud Liz Cheney for it. Nevertheless, it seems that Liz had directly contradicted another noted expert on the matter: her mother, Lynne Cheney. How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a child who can't pronounce her own last name, and junk!
On the October 16, 2007, Dianne Rehm Show, Lynne Cheney tells the story of how she went to a Cheney family reunion needing to know how to pronounce the name, so she subjected "Uncle Arv" to some enhanced interrogation techniques to get the answer:
REHM: Correct my pronunciation. You just pronounced it "Chee-ney."
LYNN CHENEY: That's very interesting. It is "Chee-ney." People say Chay-ney, and I tell a story about going to a family reunion with Dick and wanting myself - I was not born with this name - wanting myself to be sure I had the pronunciation right, so I asked his oldest living relative, a fellow named Uncle Arv, how to pronounce it and I hate to say this about my dear husband but he has some eccentric relatives. Uncle Arv runs around with this little dog jumping up and down. So I said Uncle Arv is it "Chee-ney" or is it Chaney. And he said, my dear, it's "Chee-ney." And I said, Uncle Arv, thank you so much and I wanted to get away and this little dog was jumping up and down and I said, Uncle Arv, what kind of dog is that? And he said, my dear, it's a "bay-gle."
REHM: So you pronounce it at this point as "Chee-ney"?
CHENEY: Yes, and Dick's family always has said "Chee-ney." Most people say Cheney, I think it's out of politeness. They think it sounds better maybe. There are some family members who say Cheney, but for us it's always been Chee-ney. People just don't hear it. That's very interesting that you caught it.
And Uncle Arv? You never see him in public anymore, do you? That's because the whole experience destroyed him, probably!
Just for fun, here's a video of intrepid Washington Times reporter Liz Glover talking to Bob Schieffer about this nonsense. Schieffer says that it's "Chee-knee" and it is some traditional pronunciation among people from Wyoming:
So how is the name pronounced? And who is right? Daughter Liz? Mom Lynne? Bob Schieffer? And will no one speak up for Uncle Arv? Anyone? I guess the big takeaway here is that you just cannot trust any of these people about anything.