Signs held aloft by children and inscribed "Cheney Rocks" and "Too Cool" were featured in an MTV-style photo montage projected on screens beside the stage as a song by Garth Brooks blasted inside the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Garth Brooks? You mean this Garth Brooks?
Garth Brooks, Melissa Etheridge, Queen Latifah, George Michael, Pet Shop Boys and k.d. lang are scheduled to perform at a benefit concert dubbed Equality Rocks, set for April 29 at Washington, D.C.'s RFK Stadium. Net proceeds from the event will go to the Human Rights Campaign, a non-profit political organization that supports gay and lesbian rights...
And the song -- it wasn't this, was it?
When we're free to love anyone we choose
When this world's big enough for all different views
When we all can worship from our own kind of pew
Then we shall be free
Nope -- probably not.
I told you a few days ago that the Bush campaign thinks Cheney is an asset, "the unsavory but ultimately straight-up guy you need to fight the real bad guys." Here's Senator Norm Coleman making that case, as quoted in an AP story on the Cheney rally:
Coleman compared Bush's allegiance to Cheney, who some have called a drag on the ticket, with Abraham Lincoln's faith in Civil War General Ulysses S. Grant.
"He was rough at times. He didn't look so hot in his uniform. He sometimes used a cuss word," Coleman said of Grant. But he said Lincoln countered critics with, "He fights."
And here's a rally attendee responding like a good Pavlov dog:
Dustin Auman, a University of Minnesota student from Richfield, said he turned out for Cheney because he considers him a "pit bull" who has been key in the fight against terrorism.
Be afraid, people. The campaign is going to work this meme and work it some more, until even the Bush skeptics in the media feel compelled to write pieces about Cheney as the battle-weary, grizzled Mr. Gravitas, the tough man you need to do the tough job in tough times. I predict the long, thoughtful, flattering New York Times Magazine cover story will hit around the second Sunday in October.