Dick Cheney- Corporate Criminal

Dick Cheney, chickenhawk
Capital Times Editorial
Madison, Wisc.

Vice President Dick Cheney has never shown much interest in meeting his responsibilities as a citizen or an elected official.

During the Vietnam War, Cheney avoided military service. Like so many of the current advocates for war with Iraq, he did not want to upset his career plans by wearing the uniform of his country.

The political career that got a jump-start during the Vietnam era has been a successful - and lucrative - one for Cheney. But he has never gotten over his aversion to fulfilling his public responsibilities.

After securing himself the Republican nomination for vice president in 2000, Cheney generally avoided interviews and appearances before large crowds. His regal style allowed him to avoid discussions of his record in Congress, Cabinets and, especially, as a business wheeler-dealer.

Since taking office, Cheney has continued to avoid the limelight. His penchant for hiding out in "secure, undisclosed locations" has made Cheney the punch line to a thousand Dave Letterman jokes. And his penchant for secrecy has been evident in a long legal battle to cloak his deal-making as chairman of the administration's task force on energy policy.

Cheney's well-established aversion to actual contact with the public he is supposed to serve made it difficult to imagine that he ever really intended to accept an invitation from the Independent Business Association of Wisconsin to appear in Madison on Jan. 29. There is no record of Cheney making public appearances in locations where he might be forced to confront the reality that the administration's plans for a war with Iraq are extremely unpopular, and a Madison appearance would have done just that.

So when it was revealed Friday that Cheney would not be coming to Madison - because, his office said, "his calendar wouldn't allow" the visit - no one was surprised.

The prospect that Cheney might come to Madison inspired widespread organizing by religious, political and community groups that oppose war with Iraq.

There is no question that Cheney would have been confronted by a large, nonviolent yet very vocal challenge to the administration's policies. And, as his career has demonstrated, Cheney likes to avoid public challenges - and public responsibilities.

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