Itís a big deal when the vice president of
the United States visits Idaho, a tiny state whose four electoral votes barely
register in presidential election years.
Yet, the only people in Idaho who saw Dick
Cheney when he visited on Monday paid $2,000 a ticket.
Not a wave. Not a handshake. Just a line
of limos. Thatís all most in Idaho saw of the vice president.
Reporters and photographers, along with
the rest of the public, were barred from covering Cheneyís appearance at a
Republican fund-raising event at a ranch near Gannett.
They were also barred from even
photographing him when he arrived in the Air Force Gulfstream jet at Friedman
Memorial Airport in Hailey.
The plane stopped far from the terminal.
Cheney quickly joined an entourage that left from a heavily protected and
Funny. Call us old-fashioned. But we were
under the obviously mistaken impression that people like the president and the
vice president work for the people of the United States: The of the people, by
the people, for the people thing President Lincoln, a different kind of
Republican, referred to in the Gettysburg address.
We also were under the mistaken impression
that the vice president would want to be photographed waving to people: The
people who keep the economy rolling. The people who own the military planes and
cars he used on the trip. The people whose sons and daughters were on the lines
or on deck in the Iraq War.
We were under the same mistaken impression
when CIA Director George Tenet visited Sun Valley in July. On that trip, too,
the Bush Administrationís chief of intelligence had time only for corporate
We were surprised Cheney couldnít even
spare a wave for a photo for the folks without a cool $2,000 to spare for his
"Snack on the Ranch."
Even Idaho Speaker of the House Bruce
Newcomb, one of the biggest wigs in the stateís Republican universe, told a
newspaper reporter he didnít attend the event because he couldnít afford the
Cheney taught a hard lesson that runs
contrary to what most of us learn in school in this democratic nation. People
with money count. As for the rest ..., itís obvious.