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My Insurance Policy is Better than Yours

By David Lytel

Tonight Joe Lieberman gets his chance to show the American people he is ready to be president. The vice presidential sideshow is mostly entertainment but for that one crucial fact.

A “heartbeat away.” Are we still permitted to refer to the vice presidency with that cliche or have Cheney’s coronary concerns rendered it politically incorrect?

Dick Cheney, dispatched by Papa Bush to make sure Junior didn’t get into trouble has been little more than trouble himself since being named to the ticket. From Newt Gingrich’s acknowledgement that Cheney’s congressional voting record was more extreme than the respectable right to a retirement package designed to ensure that Big Oil gets its own lobbiest in the White House, Cheney has weighted down the Republican ticket. The poor guy has even inherited Dan Quayle’s campaign trail. Like Quayle he is such a bad campaigner they’re trying to hide him in minor television markets where he can’t make any national news.

So then what is Lieberman’s task? He can drive home the same themes Gore hit in his debate with Bush. But like Gore all Lieberman has to do is look into the camera and speak plainly to the American people about the wide differences between Democrats and Republicans. There’s no reason to try to knock Cheney down. He already is down. If Lieberman is smart – and you can count on that – he’ll just gingerly step around Cheney and not let him get in the way of his dialogue with the American people.