EDITOR’S NOTE: This article appears in the May 31, 2004, issue of National Review.
ON AIR FORCE TWO–It’s fairly early in the morning, and Dick Cheney is ready for a day of campaigning. He’s going to Wal-Mart–to the Regional Distribution Center in Bentonville, Ark., home of Wal-Mart. The Democrats have decided to be bashers of Wal-Mart. They seldom have a kind word for the world’s largest company. John Kerry has denounced Wal-Mart’s practices as “disgraceful” and “unconscionable,” and many other Dems have been just as harsh.
But the Republicans have decided to be the party of Wal-Mart. This accords with their principles, and it ought to be good politics, too. Wal-Mart has 100 million customers a week. It has countless investors. It has over a million employees. Wal-Mart bashing should come with a cost, shouldn’t it?
President Bush is engaged in a little populist campaigning himself today – he’s going to Indiana and Michigan, for a bus tour. In fact, his plane has displaced Cheney’s at Andrews Air Force Base. The veep’s plane might ordinarily be in Position A; but with the president’s trip, it has been moved to the left – an unusual position for Cheney to be in.
On Air Force Two, all the TV monitors are tuned to Fox News. One would expect no less. The Cheney staff seems a friendly and content group, and they are very admiring of their boss. One of them points out that Cheney is not a great seeker of publicity; for one thing, he’s the first veep in a long time who’s not interested in running for president. If he makes the evening news, fine; if he doesn’t, no big deal.
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