Working on the Cheney Gang

I feel a real kinship to Dick Cheney; after all we both have cardiologists on speed-dial and he lives just three blocks away from my mold-infested subterranean dungeon of an unbelievably expensive mini-manse. While I can’t confess to seeing him at Max’s Glover Park Creamery, licking a mint chip cone with jimmies as Al Gore was apt to do during his VP reign, my peepers have spied Dick’s morning motorcade more than once making a beeline to 1600 Pennsylvania.

What must he be thinking of events unfolding here? After nine lives of public service that began just after the Summer of Love and continued on through the Milli-Vinilli era and the fall of the wall, our Veep must have quite a schooled perspective on life and death by the political sword. He’s seen many a lamb be sacrificed. Who’s next on the butcher block? This city is not unlike the swamp on which it was built, burying and drowning those not strong enough or lucky enough to avoid the muck. Can he and Scooter don their rubber chaps and trudge their way out?

Like Hugh Hefner, I give the old guy credit for his longevity and continued relevance in the face of the societal change. It’s hard to find and maintain footing in Washington: a town ruled by CBO ten-year budget forecasts and the arcane Roberts Rules of Order, where the size of your rolodex and the campaign you worked on in 1986 is so much more important than the contents of your cerebrum or your ability to play well with others. How do you foster any sense of normalcy here? Marine One routinely flies above on the route to work. Gas mask location appraisals in case of a bioterror attack are routine. And, steel barricades for a World Bank protest, not the standard issue orange traffic cones, block desired shopping routes on lazy, hazy Sunday afternoons.

A relative of mine one told me I was “so inside the Beltway, I didn’t even know it.” They were right. DC is both insulary and a funhouse mirror distorting your image and everyone elses. Be careful and be forwarned. It is not for the faint of heart. All job descriptions should start with: brass balls required for survival. Don’t get me wrong, although I sound like a spurned lover, I relish every dry appetizer and Scotch-soaked minute I spend here chatting up the latest youngling guru or tracking down facts and figures as midnight looms large. There is no more heart-pounding game to play than that of the politico. And not a better profession for an adreline junkie. I would have it no other way. And I’m guessing neither would Dick. Fare thee well.


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