Friday, August 18, 2006

Cheney?s dubious Idaho visit

One assumption can be made about Vice President Cheney's hurried, whistle stop trip to Idaho this week to endorse controversial Republican state Rep. Bill Sali for Congress.

That no matter how flawed Rep. Sali's performance and politics, Republicans are sufficiently nervous about November elections they're willing to squander the vice president's time to glorify a man literally ostracized by Republican legislative colleagues and who admits to memory problems and occasional "brain fade."

That background didn't prevent Cheney from blessing Sali effortlessly—he's a man "who makes all of you proud."

Oh? If Sali is such a source of Republican pride, why did only three out of 85 Republicans in the state Senate and House show up for Cheney's anointing of Sali, and even more baffling they didn't show up if for no other reason than the vice president's presence.

Cheney hinted at his own distaste for this assignment: The Veep hurriedly departed even before Sali could rise and acknowledge the endorsement. The Veep's staff probably handed him local news accounts of Sali's eccentric obsession with abortion legislation.

Then there's the cost of the dubious tribal rite in Boise. GOP state lawmakers who are watchdogs of wasteful spending haven't uttered a peep about expense to taxpayers or the Republican Party of flying Cheney in an Air Force 737 VIP jet (a military C-40B) from Washington—perhaps as much as $20,000 in fuel alone.

A dubious visit, indeed.

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