The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, June 17, 2004  

There’s Nothing Complicated About the Vice President

“Maureen Dowd Gets it Wrong.” I know, as a headline it ranks right up there with “Dog Bites Man,” but bear with me for a minute.

Appropriately, kooky pop psychologist Maureen “My Mother Myself, Chicken Soup for the Manhattanite, I’m My Own Best Friend” Dowd, writing in today’s New York Times (“Smack That Cheney-Bot!”), draws on the remake of “The Stepford Wives,” a film nobody -- or “nobody real,” as we used to say in high school, an era Dowd no doubt understands well and recalls fondly -- has seen or plans to see, for insight into the continued lies about Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda issued from the drooling mouth of our persistently debilitated vice president, Dick Cheney. [As reader M.C. asks, “What’s with that guy? Keith Richards looks better than Cheney, and Richards shot heroin for 20 years!”]

Dowd writes:

Mr. Cheney did it again on Monday in Florida speaking at -- where else? -- a conservative think tank; he said Saddam “had long-established ties with Al Qaeda.” This claim, used by the White House to justify its gallop to war, was once more flatly contradicted by the 9/11 panel’s report yesterday: “Two senior bin Laden associates have adamantly denied that any ties existed between Al Qaeda and Iraq. We have no credible evidence that Iraq and Al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States.”

The report says Osama did seek help from Saddam in the 90’s, “despite his opposition to Hussein’s secular regime.” But aside from sending an official to meet with Osama in Sudan, Saddam stiffed his request for weapons and training-camp space.

Mr. Cheney isn’t programmed to process evidence that shows he was wrong; he simply keeps repeating the same nonsensical claims as if he has a microchip malfunction.

Note to Ms. Dowd: Cheney isn’t nearly so complicated as you would have your readers believe.

Granted, there’s plenty of wiring in the vice president’s chest, but half a dozen implants, regardless of where they’re placed, do not a six-million-dollar man make. (Unless, of course, he’s out hustling for cushy deals for Halliburton, but there we’re talking about billions, not ’70s-era millions.)

It’s much more simple, far more readily evident, than that.

Vice President Cheney repeats the transparently false Iraq-Al Qaeda lies not because he can’t help himself, but because it’s part of the program, it’s a core element of the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign.

Wolf Blitzer, the CNN personality who, like so many of his colleagues at the “network” just might become a journalist someday, yesterday asked visitors to his program’s web site whether the fanciful link between the two entities, a tie confined in seemingly respectable circles to the dankest corners of the Bush White House and the American Enterprise Institute, and to the graftmasters at 1401 McKinney, actually existed.

Last time I checked, before the poll was replaced with a new one for today, more than 30 percent of Blitzer’s web-page habitués indicated they believed Saddam Hussein’s regime and Al Qaeda were indeed linked and working together in the ongoing war of terror against the U.S., the West, and all true believers, or something like that.

Call them automatons if you will, Ms. Dowd, but Blitzer’s poll was well subscribed, and the inclinations of those participating represent millions of deliriously or deliberately misled and misinformed Americans, many of whom will pull the lever or punch the button or otherwise participate in the November election.

Were it not for Vice President Cheney’s deceitful and dishonest repetition of these and similar words, the voters who so desperately want and need to hear them might be tempted to think for themselves come November 2. And we couldn’t have that happen, could we?

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