Cheney's endorsement is like a 'kiss of death' to McCain!

Published on Monday, November 3, 2008

~ A.H. Jaffor Ullah

Thus far, the Republican candidate was able to stay far away from Bush-Cheney duo but only two days before the election, Mr. Dick Cheney, the most hated of all politicians in America, flew to his home state, Wyoming, to offer his endorsement to 'McCain-Palin ticket.'

Like all of us, Dick Cheney also reads newspapers and watch TV news networks; therefore, he knows in which direction the political wind is blowing in America.  Cheney knows that McCain is lagging behind in poll.  A conservative estimate is that he is 4-5% behind in nationwide poll.  While as of November 3, 2008 Obama is expected to win over 280 electoral votes (a conservative estimate), the best McCain could garner is somewhere from 180-220 electoral votes.  The final results could even be a tad better for Obama.  A liberal estimate puts 320-380 electoral votes for Obama.  However, I do not think that the results will be a blowout for Obama.

Under this dismal backdrop, Mr. Dick Cheney went to a gathering of more sympathetic crowd in Wyoming where he took to the podium and very warmly offered his kind words of endorsement to 'McCain-Palin ticket.' Mr. McCain pretended like this endorsement was never made - for he knew that this is like having a kiss of death to his campaign.

I read a book 3-4 years ago written by a Washington insider who belongs to the Republican Party.  It was a 'tell all' type of book in which the author mentioned that George W. Bush took a seasoned hand when he picked Dick Cheney but it annoyed his father, George H.W. Bush.  Dick Cheney's political lineage could be traced to Nixon but he was a Jerry Ford operative.  Dick Cheney was an assistant to Donald Rumsfeld in the 1970s.  The Rumsfeld-Cheney duo wanted to return to the White House pronto to work for George H.W. Bush but the senior Bush told his inner circle to keep these fellows far away from him.  Cheney became very active amongst neo-cons.  Thus, when George W. Bush wanted to run for the office, the neo-cons pushed for Cheney to be the veep.

Once Bush was elected, Dick Cheney became a very activist vice-president.  Many Washington insiders think that the Iraq War was the brainchild of Dick Cheney.  Cheney's friend in the energy exploration company that he managed before joining Bush as the VP made billions of dollars since 2003 when American GIs landed in Baghdad.  At his insistence, the Pentagon headed by his mentor, Donald Rumsfeld, gave lucrative contracts to Halliburton; therefore, many chums of the veep made millions from Pentagon dole outs.

In September 2003, barely five months after Iraq invasion, a CBS/AP jointly ran a report in which they quoted Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) who read excerpts from the report written by the Congressional Research Service, which found that Vice President Dick Cheney was maintaining ties with the company he once led. After the report was made public, Cheney said on NBC that since becoming vice president, "I've severed all my ties with the company, gotten rid of all my financial interest. I have no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind and haven't had, now, for over three years."

Democrats pointed out that Cheney received deferred compensation from Halliburton under an arrangement he made in 1998, and also retains stock options. He has pledged to give after-tax proceeds of the stock options to charity.

Cheney is very secretive about his dealings with the energy companies as he served this nation as the vice president. It is a small wonder that Senator Joe Biden called Cheney — the most dangerous vice president this nation ever had — in the VP debate held on October 2, 2008 at St. Louis.

During the presidential campaign John McCain stayed far away from Bush-Cheney duo for he knew that many Americans look at them with nothing but contempt.  Privately, many Republican legislators will also harbor a similar view.  Jointly, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney had ruined the U.S. economy after inheriting a healthy and robust one.  The budget surplus garnered by the Clinton Administration was replaced with a massive budget deficit and during the last 8 years the national debt had risen to \(8.3 trillion from\) 5.7 trillion.  The Iraq War is costing about $ 10 billion a month and the easy monetary policy of Bush-Cheney to help build a "Ownership Society" coupled with subprime lending by the big bank have pushed the nation into a financial meltdown the likes of which were never seen before since the 'Great Depression' of late 1920s.

Taken all the above facts together, who would like to have an endorsement from Dick Cheney or George Bush? The McCain campaign kept the news of Cheney's big endorsement to them. I never heard either McCain or Palin going out of their way to publicize the endorsement they received from the vice president. They knew it all along that Cheney's kind words for McCain may read "a kiss of death."

Dr. A.H. Jaffor Ullah, a researcher and columnist, writes from New Orleans, USA

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