Monday, July 19, 2004

OK, so this is, reportedly, the point: They're using Cheney strictly to fire up the base, according to this story from the New York Daily News:

GOP lets Cheney loose

Vice President Cheney is demonized by Democrats but a god to the GOP faithful. And while electrifying is hardly a word one might associate with the veep, charging up core crowds crucial to President Bush's reelection is just what he's doing....

... he has never been more beloved by the GOP faithful, and re-election planners have mapped out a heavy travel schedule for the veep in battleground states in the next 15 weeks.

"He is our secret weapon with the base," a senior Bush-Cheney official said, "and if we don't get the base out, we don't win."

...Cheney's taciturn, serious-to-a-fault style is seen as a definite virtue by Bush-Cheney strategists, a perfect foil to the youthfulness and inexperience of Edwards. "So he's charisma-challenged," a GOP operative says. "He's not an empty suit like the other guy."...

In Minneapolis last weekend, the true believers pronounced themselves satisfied. "He's an honest fellow who's got a brain," said Howard Stenzel, a retired chief financial officer from suburban Cottage Grove, "and he's not a lawyer. That's important."

Now, maybe I'm hanging out at the wrong Web sites, but it seems to me that the GOP base doesn't have much further to go in the area of fired-upness, short of storming into showings of Fahrenheit 9/11 and dragging out patrons at random for summary executions. But maybe that's why Karl Rove has his job and I don't.

I still say the point of all this is to work toward mainstream-media "reconsiderations" of Cheney, preferably in mid- to late October. The GOP and its supporters will charge the "liberal media" with elitism for failing to acknowledge Cheney's popularity, as demonstrated by the cheering crowds at Cheney rallies (and they cheer even though he's not a charismatic pretty boy!). They're working on making Cheney the underdog in this race -- the Rocky Balboa, the guy with too uch heart to quit (pun intended). And it'll work.

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