With O.J. Simpson finally locked up, and the notion rekindled that justice will out, naturally my thoughts have turned to Dick Cheney. Is it possible to hope that somewhere down the line, that other arch criminal on the loose will receive his just desserts? I've been thinking of the Vice President anyway, of course, throughout these feverish weeks when his party has designated a demagogue to succeed a Fascist as second in command to a fool.
Wondering what Dick has been up to in the waning days of his tenure in the White House, I checked out his official page.
Far from hiding in a secret bunker, the V.P. has been out and about delivering speeches and generally sticking to his beloved guns on the topics near and dear to his bypassed heart. Back on March 24th, after a trip to Iraq where U.S. deaths had reached 4,000, Cheney told ABC News that while military families carried a great burden, the biggest burden is carried by President Bush, and reminded the reporter that our soldiers had, after all, volunteered.
But mostly, Cheney has been talking to people guaranteed to applaud him at events guaranteed to receive little national media coverage. On May 8th, he appeared at the Philadelphia Regional Financial Center, where the tax rebate checks were being cut. Noting that early on, the President had reduced income tax rates and the rates on capital gains, he said, "We now know just how great an impact that sustained tax relief has had on the economy..."
The new rebates, he told the Philadelphia workers, would provide economic relief that would be felt "through the summer months. By then, the economic picture should be brighter, because we've put a sensible policy in effect...Americans have every right to be confident of the road ahead. And the reason for that is simple to state: We know what works."
"We're giving the American economy a shot of energy at the right time, and in the right way," The Vice President announced that May day, adding that "in the months to come, the American people will once again prove why our economy remains the envy of the world."
In early September, when his party's convention was nominating a less Darth Vaderish Veep (though not exactly Princess Leia, either), the current one was flying around Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine and Italy, in a kind of Cold War/Star Wars nostalgia trip.
Back home on September 19th, Cheney delivered remarks at the 145th Anniversary of the Battle of Chickamauga, where 34,624 soldiers were killed. I guess it was nice of Dick to show up there, but I really don't get it. That battle is considered one of the biggest Union defeats in the Civil War. Though the Union army captured Chattanooga (at a cost of 16,170 lives), it was forced back from Georgia and its troops had to be pulled out of Virginia and Mississippi to serve as reinforcements. A Georgia encyclopedia noted that "The staggering losses sustained in both field armies produced few immediate tangible results." Did Cheney think of Baghdad that day? If so, it was too late.
Last Friday, our Vice President was in Reno, speechifying at the White House Conference on North American Wildlife Policy. Now, there's an appearance I understand, thought it may help to know that in Cheney's circles, anything to do with wildlife and especially the word "Conservation" invokes a whole dictionary of code words for various blood sports. Preserving wetlands and forests is big for those guys (and gals), because that's where the ducks and the deer they lure in front of their rifles hang out.
In fact, in 2006, the President established The Sporting Conservation Council, packed with groups like the National Rifle Association and Safari Club International with a mission "to provide a formal mechanism to allow for communication and interaction between the Secretary of the Interior and from representatives of nationally recognized hunting organizations. The Sporting Conservation Council also serves as a means for expressing the concerns of hunters as federal policies are developed."
Let me get this straight: The President established a lobbying group to lobby him! Talk about letting the foxes into the hen houses. Ironically, this July the Council issued a report actually condemning the effects of the Administration on wildlife habitat in wetlands and energy development. Talk about biting the hand of the hand that feeds you so it can fatten you up to hunt you!
O.K., I'm not a hunter. Those photos of Governor Palin showing her little girl how to skin a moose and of her shooting wolves from a helicopter make me sick. And Cheney's speech to the Wildlife Policy Conference on Friday, a paean to the joys of hunting, provide me with a sense of chilling continuity between the current and a possible future Republican Administration.
Who knows where Dick will be aiming his sights in the weeks to come. Wherever it is, he won't blink. Come to think of it, he won't wink, either, which is a small blessing. One thing is for sure: the time to chuck my Dick can't come soon enough.