- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 6, 2002

Noble: Vice President Dick Cheney, for resisting the urge to grandstand from the highest possible platform.
Mr. Cheney was "President Cheney" for a brief and shining moment last weekend, when President Bush underwent anesthesia while having a routine medical exam. For a bit more than two hours, Mr. Cheney was transformed from serving in an office that former Vice President John Nance Garner famously remarked wasn't worth "a pitcher of warm spit" into the spitting image of power.
Yet, instead of turning up the volume, he hit the mute, and possibly the remote. During his time as president, Mr. Cheney received his usual intelligence briefings and held a meeting with his staff. He recorded no official actions, and it's not clear that he even left his office.
There are not too many people, politicians or plebeians, who would have done so little when given so much, even for a short time. As this is only the second occasion in U.S. history when such a voluntary transfer of power has happened, Mr. Cheney certainly had cause to declare it "25th Amendment Awareness Day." He might have said something about men's health (and please, no cheesy jokes about his low-fat diet). Or, given the holiday weekend, he could have done a commercial for his wife's book "America: A Patriotic Primer," an outstanding children's book available on amazon.com for a mere $11.87.
The transfer of power back to Mr. Bush, was, like the rest of Mr. Cheney's "presidency," routine. For his Seinfeld-like tenure in office (it was about nothing, but do we ever miss it), Mr. Cheney is the noble of the week.
Knave: Former Vice President Al Gore, for again (sigh) giving in to the urge to grandstand from any possible platform.
Mr. Gore was unofficially President Gore for a brief and shining moment before Florida's vote-counters got their chads together. According to Mr. Gore's most fervid (and probably fevered) supporters, he still is. And now he's back in the ring, and this time, he's for real.
Or, about as real as he can possibly be, which isn't really clear. After all, this was the same man who, in the 2000 race for the presidency, managed to be three different people during a single debate. In the short time he's been away from office, he's had at least two different hairstyles and at least four different careers (fence-mender, college professor, corporate rainmaker and campaign speaker). Now it appears that he's ready to resume his rapacious pursuit of the one office he's always desired.
He's got a real chance of winning the Democratic nomination, although it's not clear how happy his former backers inside the Beltway are about it. Last weekend, he promised a group of fund-raisers who had gathered in Memphis that if he runs again, he's going to speak from his heart and "let it rip."
We'll see. Mr. Gore's knavish grandstanding notwithstanding, he should be fun to watch, regardless of how low the reality meter goes this time around.


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