I’m always suspicious (disgusted, actually) when I see a large American corporation legally paying off politicians, or when politicians anticipate a legal payoff by lavishing contracts or monopoly benefits on corporations. Things were actually more straight- forward in the days of brown paper bags stuffed with currency.
In November, America Online Inc. hired Mary Cheney, the 36-year-old daughter of Vice President Cheney, for an undisclosed salary, allegedly for her advice on building their Web businesses. I suppose the young Cheney must know something about computers, as do most in Generation X. But I’ll bet she knows more about how to get rich through milking the military-industrial complex, having taken lessons from her old man who, after acting as secretary of defense under the elder Bush, retailed his connections to Halliburton for a $40 million payoff. Her previous “extensive business experience” (so described by AOL) was a job with Coors Brewing Co., a Colorado company whose principals are connected to her father. Then she was hired by her father and Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns. This set her up for a $1 mil-
Bush’s trips abroad only seem to inflame the locals and embarrass any American with more than a room temperature IQ.
lion deal with Simon & Schuster to write her memoir as the first openly gay member of a vice president’s family. But a million bucks doesn’t mean much these days.
Baby Bush, who’d never set foot outside the United States before becoming president, has turned into quite the globe- trotter, although what useful purpose his peregrinations serve is a mystery to me. His visits only seem to inflame the locals and embarrass any American with more than a room temperature IQ. At least his outings are often comedic. On a recent jaunt to Brazil, when he looked at a map with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, he said: “Wow. Brazil is big!”