Get Out Of Joe
Lieberman's House, Now!
March 8, 2001
by Dave Chandler
a friend about this article
I was born in Wyoming and lived there for many years. I don't reside
in that state any longer and I have never had any heart problems. My admissions
here are in stark contrast to Dick Cheney's similar assertions. He claimed
that even though he lived in Texas, he was really a Wyoming resident.
(That's why last June he had to make a mad dash to Jackson Hole to change
his voter registration, right?) And Cheney has been claiming that he is
adequately healthy to be vice president of the republic.
On both counts, Cheney just hasn't been honest with the American people.
While the question of Cheney's adherence to the constitutional requirement
that he live in a different state than the president has been rendered
moot by the January 20 swearing- in ceremony, the dishonesty about his
health is now nakedly evident.
Today we know that Dick Cheney is unfit to be vice president of the United
States on two counts. Cheney's second heart seizure since election day
makes it indisputable that he is physically unfit. The cover up about
the plight of his health establishes that he is also ethically unfit.
The primary constitutional function of the vice presidential office is
to be prepared to assume the presidency if something goes awry with the
tenure of the current White House occupant. Cheney's health demonstrates
that he is not in a position to discharge his constitutional duty should
it immediately arise. How does Cheney seriously promise the American people
that he can vigorously assume the presidency at any moment? Twenty-four
hours after his angioplasty -- Cheney cannot in any reasonable and responsible
sense make that commitment. So if Cheney is not fully able to completely
fulfill Article 2, Section 1 of the United States Constitution ... then
he should do the right thing and resign.
But perhaps more important than his physical inadequacy, Cheney's handling
of his health problem demonstrates that he is ethically unfit to be vice
president. Bluntly put -- he's been lying to us. Consequently the whole
Cheney vice presidential escapade calls into question the veracity and
judgment of George W. Bush, as well.
Sometime last summer during the Bush vice presidential search process,
Cheney became a potential candidate himself. Remember that Cheney was
the chief head-hunter for a Bush running mate. During that process Cheney
required extensive background checks of the many hopefuls -- a procedure
he never had to fully comply with himself. Yet somewhere along the line,
Cheney and Bush concluded that it was indeed none other than Dick Cheney
who should fill the number two spot on the ticket.
Cheney's health history has been generally known for some time. As a
former Wyoming resident, I knew about Cheney's heart attacks during his
campaigns for Congress. But the examination of the Cheney health problem
was only superficially explored after Bush announced the Cheney pick.
Bush assured us that Dick was okay... we got a note from his doctor saying
he was fine.
You have to wonder what kind of discussion might have taken place at
the Texas ranch last summer between Bush and Cheney about that heart trouble.
Surely Cheney could testify about his own ticker. So did Cheney lie to
Bush about his heart problems? How much did Cheney tell Bush about the
quadruple bypass he had in his 40s? Did Cheney tell Bush but succumb to
his personal ambition and take the post anyway? Did Bush know of Cheney's
unfitness but then lie to the American voters when he proclaimed that
Cheney was ready?
After the public announcement and the Cheney dash to Wyoming, the press
started to inquire about the veep nominee's health. And though his health
was an issue, Cheney never released his medical records to the public.
But the coronary concerns were never extensively investigated, instead
Cheney got caught-up in an examination of his extreme right-wing U.S.
House voting record. There was some press coverage of Cheney's less than
intensive campaign schedule last fall, and there was some reporting about
his low-key speaking style. There was even some speculation about how
Cheney had turned into a drag on Bush because of his apparent lack of
campaign enthusiasm. No heart attacks -- but no unnecessary stress and
strain on the campaign trail for Dick Cheney.
But we now know that the heart problem has not gone away. Just over one
month into the Republican possession of the White House, Bush and Cheney
are lying again and telling us that this vice president is fully capable
of carrying out his constitutional duties.
And it is critical that we seriously speculate about what Cheney's problem
means to the possible future of the nation. We have to weigh the potential
scenarios in order to make rational decisions today about the consequences
of our actions. For instance, if George W. Bush is someday hospitalized
for minor surgery that requires anesthesia, will Dick Cheney be prepared,
or will he, himself, be in a recovery room recuperating from another coronary
episode? Consider possible variations on this plot... is this a responsible
position in which to place the country? As citizens shouldn't we demand
that the vice president be up to the job the constitution assigns him?
Furthermore, the Bush-Cheney-Republican ethical standard that was used
to castigate President Clinton has to be applied to them, too. During
impeachment they contended (but could not prove) that Clinton should have
been removed from office because he lied. At the very least, Bush and
Cheney are now being dishonest with the American people about Cheney's
health. And Cheney's subterfuge is more ethically critical. Clinton's
indiscretions arose from attempts to avoid embarrassment about his personal
life -- Cheney's deceit directly affects his official governmental commitment.
If the Republican standard is genuine, Cheney should resign and Bush should
apologize to the voters for the deception.
The Bush-Cheney agenda is set on a course to get us into another war
with Iraq, and they continue to talk the economy into recession. In this
dangerous, uncertain world -- the man just a "heartbeat away" from the
Oval Office should not be just an "irregular heartbeat away" from being
unable to carry out his own constitutional duty.
Dick Cheney is medically and ethically unfit to be living in the vice
president's residence at the Naval Observatory. He should get out of Joe
Lieberman's house -- now.
lives in Arvada, Colorado. He is publisher of the environmental and political
web site www.earthside.com
a friend about this article