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What Does Dick Cheney Think About Sarah Palin?

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I miss Dick Cheney.

I never thought I would ever say those words. But that was before I knew about Sarah Palin.

The Obama campaign needs to step it up.  Because a McCain-Palin presidency won’t just be more of the same as Bush-Cheney, it will be a whole lot worse.

John McCain has set the dogs loose.  In a desperate and cynical quest for power, McCain has reignited the culture wars.  If the election is about the Republican record on the economy or the war in Iraq, John McCain loses.  But if the election is about abortion or gay marriage, if the election is about “real Americans” vs. the “angry left” John McCain might hang on in conservative swing states like Ohio and eke out a victory. 

But Sarah Palin will be one heartbeat away from the Presidency, and I’ll bet that keeps John McCain up at night.

Tonight, while Sarah Palin was reading a speech written by her new friends from the teleprompter, Dick Cheney was in the Republic of Georgia on a mission to reinforce alliances and reassure leaders in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine of U.S. support. According to the White House, while he is there the Vice President will meet with President Saakashvili to discuss the implications of the crisis with Russia. Apparently, the Vice President knows President Saakashvili well. Vice President Cheney and President Saakashvili are also expected to discuss the need for a comprehensive long-term strategy by the international community to help Georgia recover and rebuild, including the critical task of supporting the democratic choice of the Georgian people to integrate further with Euro-Atlantic institutions, including NATO.  I don’t think there will be a teleprompter in the room.

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And so I’d like to know one thing, what does Dick Cheney think about Sarah Palin’s qualifications to be Vice-President? We will never get a straight answer and given Cheney’s track record I might be inclined to agree that experience is a little over rated.  But Cheney’s resume looks a little different than Palin’s.   When Cheney was elected with Bush in 2000 he had served as White House Chief of Staff, been a five-term congressman with a stint as House Minority Whip, and served as Secretary of Defense.  Then there was that gig as CEO for that little company called Haliburton.

In announcing Mr. Cheney selection as his vice presidential candidate then candidate George W. Bush was quoted in the New York Times saying “I picked him because he is without a doubt fully capable of being the president of the United States.” The defeated Republican candidate John McCain said ''He has an incredibly impressive resume,” adding ''Mr. Cheney's ''leadership skills are proven in many areas.''

I don’t care if Sarah Palin comes across as a co-star with Paris Hilton in the reality show “The Simple Life.”  And I don’t think that her unmarried, pregnant teenage daughter has anything to do with Sarah Palin’s readiness to be vice president.  But then, neither do I think that being a “hockey mom” or PTA council member have done much for her readiness either.  And Sarah Palin’s readiness to be president is really what it comes down to.  I know, the McCain camp likes to point out that she was Mayor of a small town in Alaska, and is the “chief executive of the largest state in the nation.  But Wasillia is a town of about 6,700 people, and Alaska has the second smallest population (about 670,000) of any state in the nation.  Nineteen American cities have more people than Alaska.  Surely one of them must have a Republican Mayor that John McCain could have picked as his running mate.

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John McDonald is a writer and consultant in Los Angeles.

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