Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Unbearable Lightness of Dick

When Vice President Dick Cheney (left) isn't blasting away his hunting buddies, he actually shows some promise as a stand-up comedian. As a keynote speaker at the Gerald R. Ford Foundation journalism awards luncheon yesterday, the Veep talked about his distant cousin, Senator Barack Obama, and he revealed interesting details about his family tree. Turns out the vice president has Cheneys among his maternal and paternal ancestors dating back to the 1600s. Then the Vice President got in a dig at the Mountain State (West Virginia): "So I had Cheneys on both sides of the family and we don't even live in West Virginia."

While you're at it, cue the chirping crickets.

Folks in West Virginia aren't laughing. They've been on the bad end of one too many crass hillbilly jokes. In fact, Governor Joe Manchin was fit to be tied: "I truly cannot believe that any vice president of the United States, regardless of their political affiliation, would make such a derogatory statement about my state or any state for that matter. West Virginia is home to some of the most patriotic people in the nation and our sons and daughters have answered the call to duty every time a president has needed their service. They deserve better from the vice president, and so I would simply ask for his apology."

Added Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.): "West Virginians are the hardest working, most decent people I know. Anyone who spends time with them gets it. The Vice President should be more careful about cheap shots aimed at the very people who elected him."

Even the Republicans weren't laughing. As Representative Shirley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) put it: "This is exactly the type of stereotyping that we don't need from our elected officials."

The Vice President apologized through his spokesperson, but his follow-up line at the luncheon on the heels of his West Virginia crack pretty much said it all: "You can say those things when you're not running for re-election."

Dick Cheney's inbreeding joke isn't as offensive as it is informative. Now we have a better understanding of this genetic time bomb who holds the second-highest office in the land. And all this time, I accepted the Weekly World News version of what makes Dick tick (see below). Now I know better...

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