For eight years, we’ve had a wise, Draconian VEEP who took Walter Mondale’s concept of expanding the office of the vice presidency and peppered his legacy with unprecedented powers that ranged as far and wide as the birdshot on Harry Whittington’s face. With his far-sweeping foreign policy arm and his aura of behind-the-scenes mystery, Papa Cheney leaves tough shoes to fill. In this series, we take a look at both Joe Biden and Sarah Palin as budding protege for this forever-changed office.
Part Two: Sarah Palin
1. They both believe in overturning Roe v Wade. In 2001, Cheney told Meet the Pressâ€™s Tim Russert that ultimately it would be the courtâ€™s decision, but there were some things the administration could do to uphold their values. For instance, rallying support to ban partial birth abortions, advocating abstinence, making adoptions easier and encouraging alternatives to abortion. â€œBut you wonâ€™t see to overturn Roe v Wade?â€ Tim asked. â€œI didnâ€™t say that,â€ Cheney snapped. Similarly, Sarah told Charlie Gibson in an interview that she would like to overturn Roe v Wade and that she personally doesnâ€™t feel abortions are justified even in cases of rape and incest.
2. They love to hunt and fish. -Cheney loves fishing and hunting quail, duck, pheasants and even doves. â€œItâ€™s brought me great pleasure over the years,â€ Cheney said. â€œLove the outdoors. Itâ€™s part of my heritage, growing up in Wyoming. Itâ€™s part of who I am.â€ Heâ€™s gotten in scores of trouble over his passions â€“ notably shooting his friend Harry Whittington in the face and posing for a photo that many thought revealed a naked woman in his sunglasses. Well, Sarah hasnâ€™t shot anyone, although she hasnâ€™t suffered the pressures of the vice presidency yet. She does, however, love to fish for salmon, as well as hunt moose and caribou.
3. They both know what to do about disloyalty. Fire those jerks! If that fails or appears too risky, have someone else fire them, transfer them, encourage their resignation or hatch a plot to out their CIA-agent wives. There are many options, you see.
4. They feel most comfortable surrounded by a shroud of secrecy. You donâ€™t see a lot of Papa Cheney in the news. In fact, heâ€™d rather just keep all the records of who visits him and his role during 9/11 under wraps. Similarly, Sarah Palin rarely emerges for interviews and is trying to keep her past decision making in Alaska quiet, including several questionable firings. Theyâ€™re both guilty of hastily deleting emails and blocking information, even when requested.
5. Neither believes in polar bear extinction. The EPA has reported that Cheney tried to block the addition of the polar bear to the Endangered Species list, despite scientific evidence. This was right around the time when he was trying to lease 30 million acres of land to oil companies for drilling â€“ which happened to be where one-fifth of the worldâ€™s polar bear population lives. â€œShort of sending Dick Cheney to Alaska to personally club baby polar bear cubs to death, thereâ€™s not much that the administration can do that is worse for polar bears than oil and gas development in their habitat,â€ Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity told Salon.com. Sarah wrote in to the NY Times, â€œI strongly believe that adding them [polar bears that is, not scientists] to the list is the wrong move at this time. My decision is based on a comprehensive review by state wildlife officials of scientific information from a broad range of climate, ice and polar bear experts.â€
6. They both have been lobbying to â€œDrill Baby Drill!â€ On his trip to the Middle East, Cheney proposed â€œexpanding the exploration of energy resources in the US,â€ but even before that â€“ back in 2001 â€“ he was talking with Tony Snow on Fox News about the prospect of drilling in ANWR, which he believed could be done with little environmental disruption. Sarah Palin has said time and time again that drilling in ANWR is important. â€œThanks to advances in technologyâ€¦we can now reach all of ANWRâ€™s oil by drilling on just 2,000 acres,â€ she said, which very much parallels Cheneyâ€™s 2001 beliefs. â€œTwo thousand acres is the size of the Columbus [Ohio] airport. By applying the most innovative environmental practices, we can carry out the project with almost no impact on land or local wildlife.â€
7. They both have a sharp tongue. Cheney can say so much by saying so littleâ€¦ like the time he was interviewed by ABC and was told two-thirds of Americans thought itâ€™s not worth the fighting… and he replied with, â€œSO?â€ Last year, Cheney attacked the Democratic majority in his speech at the Heritage Foundation. He charged that Democrats added billions of dollars to an emergency war spending bill “to cover items on their wish list — from fighting crickets to spinach subsidies.” He added, “Even though it’s still early in the session, when it comes to the appetite for tax dollars, the new Congress has already earned a place in the big-spending hall of fame.” In Palinâ€™s opening debut, she had a number of rebuttals for her opponents, such as: “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities” â€“ and “In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers, and then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change.”
8. They were picked to excite a pro-choice, pro-gun, evangelical-conservative base. (And it worked both times, for the most part!)
9. Their daughters can present a conflict of interest. Cheneyâ€™s daughter is gay. Sarah Palinâ€™s daughter is 17, unmarried and pregnant. Both of them take a liberal stance, expressing their support for their children, despite publicly opposing gay marriage and promoting abstinence.
10. They both have ties to big oil. Cheney was the CEO of Halliburtonâ€¦ it doesnâ€™t get much worse than that. â€œWhile many regions of the world offer greet oil opportunities, the Middle East with two thirds of the world’s oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies, even though companies are anxious for greeter access there, progress continues to be slow,â€ Cheney said in a speech at the London Institute of Petroleum Autumn lunch in 1999, while he was still CEO. As for Palin, she runs her campaign on the basis of reform today, but it wasnâ€™t always so. At one time, her husband worked for BP Oil, so why would she bite the hand that feeds her? She once told a congregation that the Alaskan Gas-line bill was the will of God. She had previously knocked global warming, saying: â€œIâ€™m not one who would attribute it to being man-made,â€ although she has since sort of warmed up to the idea, saying â€œManâ€™s activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming.â€ Robert F Kennedy Jr posits: â€œPalinâ€™s enthusiastic embrace of Big Oilâ€™s agenda (if not always Big Oil itself) has been the platform of her hasty rise in Alaskan politics. In that sense she is as much a product of the oil industry as the current president and his vice president. Palin, whose husband is a production operator for BP on Alaskaâ€™s North Slope, has sued the federal government over its listing of the polar bear as an endangered species threatened by global warming, and she has fought to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Alaskaâ€™s coast to oil drilling.â€