Who, exactly, does the AP imagine supports the Vice President? Democrats? Obviously they are amazed anyone does in their report on the Vice President's campaign stops for the 2006 midterms.
They certainly seem amazed that anyone could respect Dick Cheney since, according to them, "Cheney is favorably regarded by only about a third of Americans". This one third statistic is pretty normal for just about anyone who has any well known contention swirling about them. After all, it is well accepted by historians that only one third of the American colonists supported the Revolutionary war, too. People who take strong stands often find that they get the adoration of one third, the outright hatred of one third and no opinion out of the last third.
Still, it is amusing to see the shock with which the AP views support among GOP faithful for the man they elected to office, that same man the press was claiming added "gravitas" to the presidential ticket back in 2000.
And, while the AP loves to trumpet the "beating" Cheney's reputation has taken, every aspect of their story proves the opposite is true.
"Five and half years into the Bush presidency, Cheney's image may have taken a beating overall but 'he's still Elvis to a lot of the conservatives,' says Marshall Wittmann, a Democratic Leadership Council analyst. 'When he comes in, money and enthusiasm flow.""
Even as they report how popular he is, they insist he is in the dumps with the country! An amazing disconnect, I'd say.
Over and over they try to berate the Vice President in this story. But, what we end up really learning is that it is the press that is the VP's enemy, more than the people.
"Cheney may bring in a lot of cash, says Democratic consultant Dane Strother, but 'the problem is that when he races through town, he leaves a stack of headlines. And come mid-October, you tie the Republican candidate to the Bush-Cheney efforts and, boom, there are the headlines and the pictures.'"
There you have it. A Cheney visit spurs the press to attack him which, in turn, leads the public astray. Instead of "reporting" the press is inventing the story.
The fact is, the Vice President is one of the strongest advocates for the Global War on Terror in the entire administration and the press just hates that aspect. Yet, most of the rank and file members of the GOP love that in the VP.
"'He says what he means and he means what he says and he follows through,' she (Shari Kotsch) said. 'I love that in any man.'"
That about explains his biggest appeal right there. He is not much of a dissembler nor is he an empty suit that spouts platitudes. He usually says what he means and means what he says in a tough, no-nonsense manner.
The press just isn't used to a man of principle, their hero being Bill Clinton, after all.