Worried About Dick Cheney?
Jude Wanniski
August 1, 2000


Memo To: Don Luskin, Metamarkets
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Cheney Helps the Bush Ticket

It did surprise me Monday morning to find you had expressed anxieties on your website about Dick Cheney. Not that he is a bad fellow, but that his voting record makes him vulnerable to attack by the Democrats and he will lead the Bush/Cheney ticket to defeat. As you put it: “The problem is that it looks now as if Cheney is probably going to make W (and himself) unelectable. Already the Democrats are seizing on his angry-white-male voting record that puts the lie to W's self-proclaimed ‘compassionate conservatism.’ To the electorate it's going to look like Bush the Elder's disastrous 1992 ‘family values’ campaign all over again.”

I don’t think so, not at all. Dick Cheney's voting record during the 1980s did not represent angry white males but almost total support of the happy, Morning-in-America Reagan Revolution. Cheney is not ideological in the sense the Democrats are trying to portray him, based upon his voting record. His views even change based on his job description, as he clearly sees the need for a representative of the people of Wyoming to reflect their needs and desires -- and that a Pentagon chief should have a different perspective than a Secretary of State -- and a Vice President yet another vantage point and political role.

It is very comforting to me that Cheney knows as much as he does about everything he needs to know about at the top of the political world. In a sense, he is a jack of all political trades, and will be able to help GWB hit the ground running -- in terms of dealing with all the branches of government from his hands-on-experience, and with the world at large. I'd been afraid that GWB would have a very rough start if he could not see how many people would try to manipulate him for their special interests -- especially the military/industrial complex. Cheney knows all the moves and at the same time does not represent any special interest, except that of all of us and mankind in general. He is the perfect fit for Bush and the electorate already can see that.

He is socially and culturally conservative, but no more so than Ronald Reagan. If you had a thousand conversations with him, he would never mention abortion unless you brought it up, or if his wife Lynne were in the room. His world is about nuts and bolts, political mechanisms for making things work better, one year spending less, the next spending more. He knows the way the world works and I am very happy with the thought he would have an office close to the next President.

Cheney is said to be avuncular in his manner, but he is more fatherly, which is why the electorate already likes what it sees in him and why I think it is most unlikely Gore can overtake this ticket. What the 2000 election will be about is whether Bush/Cheney can persuade the electorate to give Republicans control of Congress instead of holding back the House of Representatives to keep a check on them.

George W. Bush never impressed me as much as he did in picking Cheney as his political partner.