Washington Who is Dick Cheney, the man tapped as the running mate for George W. Bush? First the facts:
Richard Bruce Cheney was born on Jan. 30, 1941, in Lincoln, Neb.
His family moved to Casper, Wyo., when he was still young.
Received a scholarship and attended Yale University for three semesters, but poor academic performance forced him to return to his home state and finish his schooling at the University of Wyoming, where he received his bachelor's degree in 1965.
Master's degree in political science, 1966; graduate work at the University of Wisconsin, 1969.
His wife, Lynn, is a former chairman for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
They have two daughters.
Chief of Staff for President Gerald Ford from 1975 to 1976.
Elected to the House of Representatives from Wyoming and served six terms from 1978 to 1989 and served as the minority whip, number two in the House GOP leadership.
Secretary of Defense under President George Bush from 1989 to 1993.
Cheney just resigned as the chief executive officer and chairman of Halliburton Company, a Dallas-based engineering and construction company.
Currently vice chairman of the Baltimore/Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce.
Suffered mild heart attacks in 1978, 1984 and 1988.
Quadruple-bypass surgery in 1988.
Doctors recently gave him a clean bill of health.
Opposed the Equal Rights Amendment.
Opposed a seven-day waiting period for handgun purchases.
Supported prayer in school.
Now for the man behind the resume:
Cheney and Bush are likable kinder, gentler conservatives, and, as such, do not evoke the kind of partisan animosity so often visited upon former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. But moderate politics do not necessarily flow from moderate behavior.
Bush has said the two Supreme Court justices he most admires are Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, clearly the most conservative judges on the bench. And Cheney's voting record would indicate that he concurs in Bush's opinion.
In fact Bush and Cheney are similar, for better or worse, on a variety of levels. Both men avoided service in Vietnam, Bush by entering the Texas Air National Guard and Cheney through education deferments, which included graduate work. Both men are inextricably tied to the oil industry. Bush ran an oil company and the company Cheney just resigned from is a large oil-oriented construction company. Both men oppose abortion and favor school prayer, and both have opposed gun-control legislation.
In short, these are two very conservative, genial politicians, and all talk of uniting the Republican Party by selecting a moderate running mate such as Gov. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania or Gov. Christie Todd Whitman of New Jersey is gone, though we may expect some lip service to be paid to them at the upcoming Republican Convention in Philadelphia. But is a kinder, gentler ticket going to be enough to convince the moderate majority to support the GOP in November?
- Jack Anderson and Douglas Cohn are columnists for United Feature Syndicate.