Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Dick Cheney Incident at CPAC

Today I wanted to go into more detail about something that happened while I was at CPAC.
I was showing a friend, Brittney, a quiet place where she could work on her laptop computer.
I remembered from last year at CPAC that in the hallway behind the main ballroom, if you follow it a long way down the hall, it comes to a dead end in a nice little glass atrium that faces the Omni Shoreham Hotel. It is much more quiet and peaceful there than anywhere else in the convention.

The only problem is, the convention hustles the big name players down that hallway, with security shooing people away, as they get the big name guests to special hospitality suites in the back. Very few people know about this area...but a few do...so there are usually a few hangers-on trying to squeeze in an autograph or a last minute photo opportunity. A little bit before this Cheney event happened, I had seen Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty being chased down by some autograph hunters.

Suddenly, I saw a group of angry young men coming down the hall. They were saying things like.."He's in there!".. and pointing at one of the hospitality suites. I tend to believe these young guys - they were all under 30 - were anti-war activists and supporters of Congressman Ron Paul.

I tend to call Ron Paul supporters "Paulistas" because of their fervor for everything Ron Paul. They are the type that would be in the streets screaming "VIVA LA REVOLUTION!! " if Paul were elected President.

Anyway, these "Paulistas" saw Dick Cheney and his security staff coming out of the hospitality suite and head for the elevator. In a mad rush, they aggressively went after him, screaming comments like "What happened on 9/11??!!" and "What orders did you give from the bunker??!"...basically, your run-of-the-mill 9/11 Truther type stuff.

There were about 10 Paulistas but only three or four security for Cheney. One of the security staff had to get physical, pushing one exuberant young protester about 15 feet across the room. Far more than was necessary, and that amped up the situation a bit. The shouting intensified as they tried to push their way towards Dick Cheney.

At this point, Cheney was kind of cowering in the corner. He was scared, and I could see it on his face. Dick Cheney is getting old, and he has been ill. He looks like about half the man he used to be. He may have faced protesters before, but this time he wasn't in a bulletproof limo and his guards were outnumbered.

There was an uncomfortable 30 to 45 seconds of conflict, but then the elevator showed up and the security got Cheney into it and physically blockaded the entrance as some of the Paulistas were trying to get in. I remembered that I had my camera in my pocket...a little too late... and tried to get it out, but only managed to snap the above photo as Cheney was rushed into the elevator.

I felt bad for the Former Vice President. This was a Conservative conference that you had to pay to attend. It should have been safe ground for him. He was well received last year when he spoke. He was here this year to pay tribute to Donald Rumsfeld... not to deal with this nonsense.

I'm not the biggest fan of Cheney, but I think he tried to do what was right for America when he served as Vice President. However, I do agree with some of the protesters who shouted at him in the main ballroom. They yelled "draft dodger" at the stage. It is true that Cheney received multiple deferments instead of going to serve in Vietnam when he was at an age where most men were expected to do that.

I've never been fond of a "chickenhawk".... a leader who refuses to fight, but is eager to send others into battle.

Unfortunately, Cheney fits the description.