Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

  Republicans love a draft-dodger

The Vice President is in California raking in the dough for three GOP House candidates.

His former top aide is under indictment in the CIA leak probe. His poll ratings fall somewhere between bad and atrocious. Still, Dick Cheney can pack in the faithful like few others in the Republican Party.

The objects of this largess include Richard Pombo. Not long ago, Pombo concluded with regret that he can no longer count on Jack Abramoff to just slip him the cash under the table, so he's turned to Dick Cheney. Pombo's official biography at the House website shows him wearing an immense cowboy hat. I reckon the hat must have some greater significance for Pombo; my guess is that it's stuffed full of money.

Anyhow, why would Republicans other than Richard Pombo flock to behold a politician who has ruined everything he's touched, and who is reviled by most of the nation? It can't be that the war in Iraq that Cheney ginned up is popular with the GOP anymore than with the rest of us.

The response was strikingly subdued, given the loyalties of his audiences. In Stockton, there were cheers and whoops as Cheney reeled off a tickertape of upbeat economic statistics. But his lengthy defense of the war in Iraq, his insistence that "we are on the offensive" and "have a clear plan for victory," was met with nearly complete silence. The response was identical at Tuesday's fundraiser in San Diego...

Asked his opinion of Cheney, Richard Solarz, a 58-year-old physicist who lives in Pombo's district, replied: "Ummm … Uh … " He gripped his chardonnay. He paused. "I wish we weren't in Iraq," he finally said.

Nor could Republicans, who handed over large sums of money to hear the Vice President speak, realistically hope that he'd reveal what he knows about the big news of the day.

Not surprisingly, the names Abramoff and Cunningham never passed the vice president's lips, nor did Valerie Plame's....Instead, Cheney stuck to his practiced role as administration cheerleader and stiletto-wielding partisan.

Nothing at all new in his remarks, then, that rich people might be willing to pay to hear.

No, I think that by this stage, it's widely agreed, the Vice President's most admired quality is that he is a draft dodger. For other chicken-hawks, it must bring a special frisson of excitement to watch Cheney skillfully wrap himself in the sacrifices that soldiers and sailors are making in his wars.

"We are going to stay on the offensive and stay in the fight until the fight is done," the vice president told the cheering crowd.

Notice the first person plural. That is known as "the royal we".


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