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Jewish World Review July 27, 2000 / 24 Tamuz, 5760

Michael Kelly

Michael Kelly
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Consumer Reports

But What About Dad? -- Dear Junior,

Just a quick note to say I think your Veep choice is fine. Fine, fine. Dick Cheney--fine. Fine choice. Said that already. Perfectly fine. Splendid fellow. Sterling character. Heart of gold. Sinews of steel, thews of iron, abdomen like one of those old-time washing boards the cleaning gals used to use before Bar bought them a machine back in '73. Sorry, got carried away there. Never think about Dick's abdomen. Or thews. Especially thews. Don't even know what thews are. Connected to thighs? (Ask Noonan) Point is: Excellent choice. Our kind.

But, hey, wild thought, another idea. Still time to think again, say it was just a misunderstanding, press got it wrong--make a joke, don't dare criticize the press. No, not ever. They don't ever forget that, vicious never-in-the-arena-carpers-and-mewlers. Whoops, carried away again. Point is, just a little joke. Point is: Dick is a fine man, but what about Dad? Dear old Dad. George the first. (Joke again, plenty of Georges before us. I remember you telling me just the other day about that disciple of our Lord named George. News to me. Surprising you don't hear more about that. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and George. Also, of course, one of the Beatles, I don't remember which one. George, I guess.) Anyway, point is, how about D.O.D. for vice president?

Pluses and minuses. Minuses first. Not a lot here. Age thing, not a problem. You're as young as the last time you jumped out of an airplane. (Related parenthetical plus: Flip-side, age-wise--gravitas. No need to linger here, dwell-wise.) Constitutional? Not there. Baker looked the thing over, amendments etc. Nothing at all. Elected a much-deserved second time by a properly Desert Storm-grateful nation in '92, instead of being hosed by a media-warped minority of the voting-age public who to their everlasting sorrow gave a once-undefiled Oval Office to Monsieur Hot Pants from Hot Springs? Well, then, might have been an issue, now. But spilled milk under the bridge.

What else? Father and son thing? Psychology, now. Bear with me, not easy for either one of us. Point is, been there, done that. I'm recalling the time you were crocked off your--well, the time we went mano a mano. We sang that song. You don't need to mano me again, and I don't need to mano you. No mano either way, man.

Which brings me to the primo of the pluses. Mano-wise, I'm ultra-comfortable-wise being No. 2. Not a wimp-factor thing at all. Just comfortable. Fact is, made for No. 2. Who better, trained and groomed (I mean, besides El Gore-o). Fact is, I liked No. 2. Never was keen on No. 1. Your mother's idea. I liked the other house, liked the other plane (not so showy, more lived-in, less right-money), liked the job. Liked the whole thing--the lunches with Ron, the funerals, the bread-and-butter notes. Especially the bread-and-butter notes. Son, I'm your father so I can tell you, you've always been a disgrace at bread-and-butter notes. Something to think about.

Other pluses: Re the traditional weekly No. 1-No. 2 lunch. One thing that always drove me nuts--and, son, this is between you and me and the focus group you rode in on--was lunch with Mr. Potatoe, not to name names. Not his fault, the fault of the darned liberal media that made him feel so darned, well, vulnerable (sorry, psychology again). But every week it seemed he was more determined than the week before to talk big thoughts. He used to bring that darned Paul Johnson book to the darned table and read out loud from it! Sorry, I get so darned mad just remembering. Point is, you know and I know there wouldn't be any of that between us. Just a nice lunch, a few jokes, a little soup, an el grande combination plate, call it a day. No big thoughts. Darn it, no thoughts at all. Another something to think about.

More pluses: This one is a little tricky to follow, so bear with me again, G-II (Not W. They never get anything right). There you are. In the Oval Office. Behind the big desk. The phone rings. It's me. Full of advice. Chatter, chatter, chatter. Natter, natter, natter. Helpful suggestions, blah, blah, blah. Been there, done that, you should be there, do that too. Gonna happen, no matter what. But hey--wouldn't it be less aggravating if it were official business? If it were part of the old job description and not just the old familias obligation to the old pater? Just one last something to think about.

Yours, etc.

Michael Kelly is the editor of National Journal. Send your comments to him by clicking here.


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