Where's Uncle Dick?
September 15, 2001 5:30 AM   Subscribe

Where's Uncle Dick? Unless I've missed something, Dick Cheney has not shown his face since the tragedy. All I've seen is a CNN scroll stating that he is at Camp David. (more inside)
posted by Optamystic (30 comments total)
i hope he didnt' have a heart attack or something when he heard about the attack.
posted by incubus at 5:35 AM on September 15, 2001

I used to follow the life/death of Dick at IsDickCheneyDeadYet.com, but it hasn't been updated recently.
posted by scotty at 5:43 AM on September 15, 2001

That's my question, incubus. Did he do the final Fred Sanford dance and go to the Great Junkyard in the Sky?

Also, in a time such as this, why would they publicize his location? Especially since Camp David was listed as a target. I know I'm just speculating here, but I think he may have...passed on!

This veep is no more! He has ceased to be! He's expired and gone to meet his maker! This is a late Dick Cheney He's a stiff! Bereft of life, he rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed him to the perch he would be pushing up the daisies! His metabolical processes are of interest only to historians! He's hopped the twig! He's shuffled off this mortal coil! He's run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible! This.... is an EX-VICE PRESIDENT!
posted by Optamystic at 5:45 AM on September 15, 2001

The story given out is that he is being kept apart from the President to make sure there is a potential leader available should someone do something to the president.
I simply do not believe this story.
posted by Postroad at 5:45 AM on September 15, 2001

Don't worry, if Bush and Cheney are offed simultaneously, this guy is third in line.
posted by pracowity at 6:01 AM on September 15, 2001

The story is also being reported that Bush's non-return to washington earlier on 9/11 was due to Cheney's telling him to stay away.

There's a lot of spin going on.
posted by DBAPaul at 6:03 AM on September 15, 2001

Mo is gonna so kick my ass for this one.
posted by Optamystic at 6:05 AM on September 15, 2001

pracowcity - Isn't it the Speaker of the House who follows Bush and Cheney?
posted by Sinner at 6:09 AM on September 15, 2001

Cheney stayed in the White House on Tuesday, even after it was evacuated, according to press reports. The Secret Service moved him to some kind of "secure area." He subsequently was moved to Camp David when President Bush arrived in Washington.

His profile certainly has been low since the attacks, but that is probably because the White House spin doctors are afraid that if Cheney appeared in a leadership role in the crisis, it would diminish Bush.
posted by rcade at 6:16 AM on September 15, 2001

oops... got my links backwards above. still valid, just backwards.
posted by Sinner at 6:19 AM on September 15, 2001

Don't feel bad sinner, I do that all the time, only with words.
posted by Optamystic at 6:21 AM on September 15, 2001

> Isn't it the Speaker of the House...

Yes, you're right, I forgot about that brilliant world statesman and former wrestling coach, Denny Hastert. Hastert could wrastle Bin Ladin in an exciting desert match-up. And only if Hastert lost would Thurmond, in tag-team fashion, become the leader of the USA.
posted by pracowity at 6:27 AM on September 15, 2001

The words "[Strom] Thurmond" and "Tag Team" should never, ever appear together in a sentence again.
posted by Optamystic at 6:34 AM on September 15, 2001

I've been asking this question for days now. The only footage I am aware of showing the Veep was a shot showing him smiling and waving as he supposedly headed for Camp David on Thursday (only now they are telling us that he has been there all along?). Not only did the scene seem inappropriate, it could very clearly have been stock footage.

It is unimaginable to me that the Vice President of the U.S. would not speak to the people after an incident of this type and magnitude, to express his sympathy and sadness, if nothing else. We've certainly heard from every other major official.

If we do not see him this weekend, when he is allegedly WITH the President (and where's the sense in that? they say they have been keeping them separated for safety/redundancy, and now they bring them together at what they claim WAS A KNOWN TARGET?!), then it becomes reasonable to conclude that either a) his health is very grave, b) he died of a heart attack, or c) he was the victim of a terrorist attack on Tuesday.

Whatever the case, all this secrecy is unnecessary. If Cheney has been incapacitated in any way, then Bush must tell us, and choose a new veep immediately. Maintaining the chain of command demands it.

If it DID become necessary, who do you imagine that he would choose? (Not Daddy, surely...)
posted by rushmc at 7:18 AM on September 15, 2001

He would choose Condoleezza Rice.
posted by pracowity at 7:23 AM on September 15, 2001

I suppose Bill Clinton would be too much to hope for.
posted by Optamystic at 7:27 AM on September 15, 2001

he has made one appearance that I know of. But that was a few days ago.

supposedly, "Cheney will appear in a live interview Sunday on the NBC television show ``Meet the Press,''" ( full article)
posted by smt at 7:30 AM on September 15, 2001

Does anyone think it's possible that the "specific and credible" threat made on Tuesday was actually directed at Cheney, not Bush? Cheney, after all was in the White House and due to his former role in previous administrations, could well have been singled out as a target of revenge. Remember, they kept him in a "secure room," but that would not have ensured the security of those around him. Maybe Bush was kept away from him because he - Cheney - was the target. Highly, highly unlikely, but...

Moreover, I just saw MSNBC video of Bush with Powell and Cheney flanking him at a press conference. To rushmc's first point, however, he did not speak. To his second about his health, well, it could well have just been a RealDick, or a WaxDick.
posted by Sinner at 7:33 AM on September 15, 2001

As above, yes, Speaker of the House comes first. After that is President pro tem of the Senate, but note that with the changing of the guard, that office has reverted to the Democrats as majority party, and their choice is Robert Byrd. Strom hasn't been in the line of succession since June.

rushmc, I agree it's very strange the way they're handling this: reassuring us with one breath that Cheney is far away from the president, and with the other that they'll be together soon. (Certainly in no previous administration was the latter considered necessary. Up until about 25 years ago, the Veep was like an appendix, the type portrayed in Dave, where he was disliked by the Prez and kept on constant overseas diplomatic missions of no consequence.) But really, they've made great efforts to keep Cheney out of the limelight ever since the jokes about who was really running the country hit the nightly talk shows back in February. I don't think I've seen Cheney on a Sunday morning talking-heads show since then, even. (Please correct me.)

I hate this; it's like reading tea leaves, or seeing how people were lined up on the Kremlin wall on the May Day parade. If it were just some kooks like us on message boards, that would be one thing, but it really seems as if the White House is reacting as if the VP is more critical to this administration than the law indicates, and both to reinforce that (to buttress confidence in the President) and to suppress any notion that he's really running things, and in a crisis like this one they have a hard time deciding which way to go. That's a little disturbing to me. (In keeping, though, with missteps like having the President's lawyer tell us he was OK. {boggle})
posted by dhartung at 7:38 AM on September 15, 2001

Make no mistake: President George W. Bush is in charge. The executive branch of our government works for and responds to President Bush. Anyone who thinks that he is not the in-fact Commander-In-Chief has achieved a level of cynicism that I didn't think was possible.

All of you who are criticizing or questioning the President's activities on Tuesday (and since): do you believe that YOU had enough knowledge, experience, or authority about the entire situation to perform *better*, or make a better decision as events unfolded? The decision to move him from Florida to Lousiana to Omaha and then back to DC was not solely his decision; some of you make it sound like he was hiding out of cowardice. It was based on information being gathered, free-flowing rumors, continuing threat assessments, etc, that you & I certainly don't have full knowledge of. Based simply on what has been reported in the media, it would have been foolish & dangerous to fly him back to DC right away.

But you're right --- odd about Cheney, but if there is some treachery about, it's the duty of the administration to PROTECT him, not blab to the media about his whereabouts, or why he hasn't been seen at a press conference today. The fact that he was the SecDef during Operation Desert Storm and was largely responsible for US activities back then likely has placed him very high on the terrorists' most-wanted list.
posted by davidmsc at 7:59 AM on September 15, 2001

"Cheney Looms Large Behind the Scenes As Bush Turns to More Experienced VP" from the 9/14 wsj:

So far, Mr. Cheney has exerted his influence behind closed doors, carefully avoiding any appearance of upstaging a president with far less experience in military matters and national crises. Some lawmakers in both parties, in fact, worry that Mr. Cheney carried discretion so far that it suggested a void in leadership,...

...In the hours of Mr. Bush's absence, the vice president continued "sitting at the switchboard" coordinating the government's response to the crisis, a White House official said.

Shortly after boarding Air Force One in the moments following the World Trade Center attacks, the president stationed himself at the command center on the aircraft and "ordered" an "open line" to Mr. Cheney, a senior White House official says. While others, including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, would join in on some of the conversations, the president and vice president talked frequently.

First, Mr. Cheney prevailed on Mr. Bush to steer clear of Washington for several hours, bolstered by Secret Service reports that a terrorist telephone threat contained coded language suggesting a knowledge of classified procedures. A few minutes later, the president reached out to Mr. Cheney again, this time conferring about the situation and whether to put the military on "highest alert"; he did. He would talk to the vice president several more times before returning to Washington. Meanwhile, Mr. Cheney set out to rally support among congressional leaders and bring together military experts inside the administration.

Mr. Cheney also was the primary point of contact for the congressional leadership when senior Democratic and Republican lawmakers flew by helicopter at midday Tuesday to what one congressional aide described as a joint Federal Emergency Management Agency/military installation in rural Virginia. It was Mr. Cheney -- not the president -- who led four or five conference calls to the secure facility to discuss the evolving crisis and the U.S. response.

"He was like he always is: matter-of-fact," said House Majority Leader Richard Armey, a Texas Republican. "You're talking about a calming influence."

After meeting with senior members of Congress and telephoning world leaders Wednesday, the president asked Mr. Cheney to have lunch alone with him in a room near the Oval Office. The vice president later turned his attention to helping Mr. Bush win from Congress the funding he needed to help victims and pursue new security measures, and the authority to carry out military action.

Mr. Cheney, a former GOP House member, called his old congressional colleague Robert Byrd, the influential West Virginia Democrat who holds great sway over purse-string decisions in the Senate, to urge his support for an emergency-spending bill to pay for the immediate federal government's response to the crisis; by late Thursday, lawmakers and the administration were discussing providing $40 billion. He helped lead the administration's effort to push for a sweeping resolution authorizing military action that put the White House out in front of Congress on the issue.

Mr. Cheney has a track record as a skeptic of the War Powers Act, which was designed to put controls on a president's authority to wage war and provides for extensive consultation with Congress. In the run-up to the Persian Gulf War, Mr. Cheney -- then at the helm of the Pentagon -- was among those officials initially resisting the war-powers debate sought by Democratic leaders in Congress.

(sorry about the extensive pullout, sub. required--the wsj sucks that way)
posted by kliuless at 8:02 AM on September 15, 2001

Nice rant, david. You done? Good.

So now can we have Clinton as the Vice President?
posted by Optamystic at 8:15 AM on September 15, 2001

Rant? (feigns surprise)

And re: Clinton as VP. Which one? (as if either would be better than the other).

Cheap shot, maybe, but we could use a little levity, eh?
posted by davidmsc at 8:30 AM on September 15, 2001

Isn't it the Speaker of the House who follows Bush and Cheney?

Last I heard Al Haig was still in charge. I certainly don't remember him relinquishing charge.
posted by terrapin at 8:31 AM on September 15, 2001

It's all about the levity, brother. :)

posted by Optamystic at 8:47 AM on September 15, 2001

Being a beltway insider I can clear everything up.

Dick Cheney died. He was then replaced by an ordinary citizen who looks JUST LIKE HIM. This happened just as he entrusted the care of Camp David to two wacky teenagers. For the next 3 years expect hilarious situations to come up from time to time.
posted by geoff. at 10:07 AM on September 15, 2001

Make no mistake: President George W. Bush is in charge.

What is your evidence for such a contention, beyond merely thinking it should be so and hoping it's so, which I think most of us feel? Do you have some inside information or personal knowledge of the inner workings of this government that you could share to reassure us on this matter?
posted by rushmc at 12:53 PM on September 15, 2001

I have one question.


Okay......I feel better now.....
posted by bunnyfire at 4:13 PM on September 15, 2001

Earlier today my wife asked me in all seriousness, "So what happened to Cheney? Did he die or something?" I hope all of the above info about him working behind the scenes it true, but who knows. The only time I've seen him was sitting next to Bush at that one press conference, and at least during the part I saw he didn't say a word. Sorta reminded me of Weekend At Bernie's.
posted by spilon at 8:44 PM on September 15, 2001

It's not good form to make the boss look bad.
posted by slowlightning at 11:12 PM on September 15, 2001

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