Today is a big day in the history of the Bush/Cheney administration because it’s the day Vice President Dick Cheney’s bust was unveiled at the U.S. Capitol. It provided a wonderful opportunity for President George W. Bush and Cheney to come together once again.
Recent news reports suggest that President George H. W. Bush has second thoughts about Cheney’s tenure as his son’s Vice-President, but there was no hint of that at today’s unveiling. Quite the contrary, the Bush known fondly as 43 had nothing but praise for his former vice-president. He even brought a nice friendly greeting from 41 in his remarks.
My time working in the Bush White House was challenging and I learned a lot. I remember the word was that Cheney wasn’t going to be the typical Dan Quayle/Al Gore type of VP who took on a few tasks but for the most part just hung out and did their constitutional duty to step up if anything happened to the president. Not so Cheney—he did a tremendous amount of work and for him it was no small feat. By the time he reached that position, he’d already struggled a lifetime with a bad heart. He was in such tough shape that he finally required a Six Million Dollar man type intervention just to keep him alive. Since then he’s had a heart transplant.
And he’s still very much alive and kicking liberal ass as much as ever. Heck, he even beat Gore to the sculptor to sit for his bust. In fairness, it’s probably difficult for Gore to make time for such things in between masseuse appointments and flying all over the country marking territory with his big carbon footprint while pretending to save the planet.
Cheney has always been hated by the left in a big way. President Bush is too, but in his case they would give him a break on occasion because he’s as charming as it gets. Read his remarks at today’s statue unveiling and you’ll see what I mean. When he was in the White House it never failed that naysayers would meet him and leave liking him even though they hated his policies.
That wasn’t the case with Cheney, but he never let that stop him. The man was and is a machine. He would go to Capitol Hill and inevitably come back with votes. He tirelessly advised the president and took more heat about Iraq than anyone else in the administration. That didn’t matter to him. He doubled down (and still does), and he offered no apologies. Heck, I don’t even think he apologized to the dude he shot on that hunting trip a few years ago.
Cheney’s office was just two floors below mine, and I would often see him walking by. It was always the same scene. He’d walk by flanked by his crew talking and working all the way down the hall. Despite all the hard work, he also found time for his family.
One of my tasks at the White House was keeping the movie list. Whenever there was a movie screening, I’d put the White House requests and lists together. The Cheney’s were big moviegoers, by far the biggest fans at these events, and they’d always have a great time. By contrast, it took an Act of Congress to get the Bushes to go, and it was even worse with Donald Rumsfeld. I finally got him to go see Black Hawk Down which was an amazing achievement considering the fact that he hadn’t been to a movie since One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. That feat scored me tickets to the Academy Awards.
Dick Cheney was one of the most qualified VPs to ever serve. Although he’s been out of office several years, that hasn’t stopped him from staying involved. He just keeps ticking even with a sometimes bad ticker. Love or hate the guy, you have to be impressed with his ability and tenacity to finish his missions.
Congratulations Vice President Cheney on your big day. Wish we had people in the White House today with your commitment. You’ve earned that bust and today’s celebration in your honor.