Jewish World Review July 26, 2000 / 23 Tamuz, 5760
after a wild ride
Dick Cheney, Gov. George W. Bush's vice presidential choice, is remembered by former Sen. Malcolm Wallop, his fellow Wyoming Republican, as a man "who knows the difference between the truth and a lie.'' Wallop, who first met Cheney when Cheney was President Ford's chief of staff, served with him throughout much of his congressional career. "He's short on charm, but long on character,'' Wallop told me in a call to his Montana home. "If the public is as tired as they say they are of `no controlling legal authority,' they'll be pleased to know that Cheney's controlling legal authority is the law and the Constitution.''
Cheney is not much of a debater, said Wallop, and "not a dazzler, but he's a solid rock of integrity and competence.''Wallop implied that if the campaign is about who is more trustworthy, Bush-Cheney will win in a landslide.
Cheney's last foray into presidential politics came four years ago when he was a senior strategic advisor to the Dole campaign. Contrasting the Clinton-Gore administration with Dole, Cheney asked, "Do we want to elect a president with a clear understanding of foreign affairs, or one who stumbles from one international crisis to the next? ... Do we want to elect the better man for America, or settle for an incumbent who has failed to live up to his promises?'' We know how the voters answered those questions.
As for issues, political reporter and columnist David Broder wrote in 1993 as he speculated about a possible Cheney presidential bid: "Cheney's congressional voting record is conservative enough on all litmus-test issues, including abortion, to satisfy the Reaganites who form the hard-core constituency of the nominating primaries.'' And Lynne Cheney, wrote Broder, "is a heroine to conservatives for her stands on political correctness and multiculturalism'' while she headed the National Endowment for the Humanities. "But their friendships and alliances span the Republican spectrum.''
Cheney is a nice guy who will be hard to demagogue and demonize, though Democrats will certainly try. Look for them to claim that Bush the younger had to reach back to "Poppy's'' men for mature leadership, implying that Bush can't lead. But Bush can lead. He's done so as governor of Texas and now with a solid pick for a running mate. Bush has often said that his vice presidential selection wouldbe the most important decision he makes this year and will tell people a lot about him. It is and it has.
Bush-Cheney may not be exciting, but after what this administration has put the country through for
eight years, we could all use a little rest and some serious men with integrity in the White