"Cheney's trip is presumably designed to demonstrate his amazing good health, in spite of his well-known heart problems. It might also suggest that Bush has decided to keep him on the ticket.And, from the end of the article comes this, with an excellent question to top it all off:
That's a questionable domestic political call. First time out, Bush desperately needed the Ear, older and presumably wiser, to dim the glare of his sometimes obnoxious Texas cowboy image. Turns out, the Ear was more cowboy policy-wise than the Texan.
This time around, Bush, who will have a hard fight to garner a plurality of votes and earn a true second-term mandate, gains nothing with Cheney still in the second spot. Bush would be stronger with perhaps Colin Powell, the popular secretary of state. Many African-Americans and even some liberals who may be less than enthralled with Sen. John Kerry would have a hard time passing up the opportunity to vote for America's first black vice-president, but a heartbeat away from the presidency itself. Moreover, the Ear now is carrying some heavy domestic political baggage.
Along with Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, he is the principal architect of the post-9/11 strategy. The jury is still out on whether it's working, but now there seems to be a critical verdict on the quality of the pre-9/11 planning by this administration. The official nonpartisan commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks has so far received shockingly negative testimony on the terrorism-awareness level of the administration's top people. Coming out of his cave to make this high-profile trip, the Ear will thus need to prove himself in Asia. The problem is he has some foreign-policy baggage that will irk most of the high Asian officials with whom he talks. That's the administration's hard line on North Korea, of which he is a creator."
In the time-honoured fashion of conservative Nixon going to Red China to break bread, Cheney could bring back a North Korean breakthrough and pump life into Bush’s international security record. But for that to happen, Cheney will have to give heed to his counterparts in Tokyo and Beijing and hear the shrill and conflicting voices in deeply politically divided South Korea.I often think that the political coverage of the US, is better left to outsiders; actually it just may be better.
The only problem is, does the Ear listen to anyone at all?