Sometimes, I wonder what it’s like to be Dick Cheney. Is he really that sullen and sour in his personal life? Does he see plots around the corner from his living room as readily as he sees them in the Washington press corps? I’ve known more than my fair share of difficult and persnickety people, but Dick is at the extreme edge of the envelope.
The Cheney family (they pronounce it Chee-Nee) makes a little more sense.
Wife Lynn can be snippy while she unstintingly supports the Big Guy, but she at least smiles occasionally and intimates there may be an actual human being lurking under the skin. Daughter Mary is the lesbian who’s seemingly more sensible than Mom or Dad – perhaps that “gay gene” had a common sense enzyme attached to it. Daughter Elizabeth may be the smartest of the bunch. She’s normally remains in the background, just an entry in Dick’s Wikipedia entry, thereby avoiding the ill-will of the nation and two-thirds of the world.
The Two Dicks
For me, there are two Dicks. One is the affable, seemingly competent SecDef during Gulf War I. He smiled. He gave interviews. He answered questions rather than telling the questioners their questions were “inappropriate”. Then there’s the Dick we suffer today. A curmudgeonly semi-hermit, with all the warmth of Batman’s Penguin, who crawls out from under his rock to pronounce most of the US population traitors and unpatriotic vermin. Dick’s Gulf War smirk has turned into a venial, incessantly pissed-off mug convinced everyone in the world is wrong except him.
There were harbingers of Dick’s conversion from his Gulf War self from the beginning of the administration. Tasked with choosing a viable Veep for George W. Pootiehead, he chose – SURPRISE! – himself. Even by Washington standards, that was an impressive display of hubris. I believe he always coveted the top job, but was savvy enough to know he couldn’t win, even with Robertson, Falwell, and Dobson rowing his boat. He needed the coattails of someone so completely devoid of common sense, they’d outsource the whole job to him.
By the time Dick and George took the stroll down Pennsylvania Avenue, Dickie had stacked the cabinet and pulled off a silent coup. People accused Junior of being Dick’s ventriloquist dummy, but Dick wasn’t just pulling the strings, he chose the dummy’s outfits, dressed him, emptied the sawdust turds from his shorts, and guided George’s hand across whatever paperwork he couldn’t sign himself. Dick divided his time between his secret, undisclosed location and showing up at the White House and the occasional Sunday morning talk show to let people know just who was in charge.
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
One Smart Dick
There were a few dampers at the Cheney Theatre of the Absurd, but mostly he ran amok, undeterred by the guy actually in charge or any of the politicos charged with keeping him on a short leash. Dick was, and is, a force of malevolent nature. Team him up with Rove and they make Katrina look like a breezy day in the spring. They don’t believe in a scorched earth policy, but scorching the dirt, digging it up, and firing it into space on the tip of a nuclear warhead.
There’s probably little left to fear from George as his administration runs down. He’s slow and the scandals are deep. He’s already stated his intention to be pigheaded until the last day so we’ll get what we expect from him until the next election because quite frankly, there’s little left for him to hose. It’ll be wall-to-wall scandal and world class ineptness all the way.
But Dick is smart. He may be crazy, but he’s mean and single-minded. It’s a deadly combination. From all outward appearances, he’s a man obsessed and not shy about using his considerable power to make the point that he is right and everyone else is wrong. I don’t know what the corrosive substance was that turned him so rabid, but it’s still there and hasn’t run it’s course. I wonder about what the inside of his head looks like and what it all means for the rest of us. I can’t even picture Dick with a kid on his knee, so I’m completely in the dark about what he might be like with all restraints lifted.
Dick may go quietly or he may decide to take the rest of us down with him. Nothing is out of the question where Dick is concerned. He has the disposition and cunning of a wolf. Even if I can’t see what’s inside that angry head, I can see he’s still as dangerous as a rabid dog – and just as unpredictable. I just wish I could see what it’s like to be Dick Cheney, but one thing’s for sure…
I won’t like the view.