Cheney 2008

Kathryn Lopez

10/20/2007 12:01:00 AM - Kathryn Lopez

Rudy? Fred? Mitt? McCain? How about Cheney?

Lynne Cheney, that is.

The beloved wife, mother and grandmother is an accomplished historian and the author of more than 10 books, several of them best sellers. As a former National Endowment for the Humanities chairman and current American Enterprise Institute fellow, Mrs. Cheney has also been married to a White House chief of staff, defense secretary and vice president -- giving her intimate knowledge of the ins and outs of Washington. She seems to know her way around the media as well.

Recently, Mrs. Cheney has been touring to promote her new book, "Blue Skies, No Fences: A Memoir of Childhood and Family" (Pocket Books), going on nearly every talking-head show, including the hostile "The Daily Show." Having no fear going on Jon Stewart's patronizing comedy news show is quite a feat but should be no surprise. Mrs. Cheney is a woman who knows how to make herself heard.

Recall that in a 2004 debate, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., tried to use the Cheneys' daughter, who is gay, against President Bush, who supports a federal amendment to protect traditional marriage. Lynne Cheney shot back the next day, calling it "a cheap and tawdry political trick" and that Kerry "is not a good man" for lowering himself.

Or find more proof in that much-viewed YouTube of her having at Wolf Blitzer when he decided to grill her on U.S. torture policy instead of her children's book. She not only ably defended the administration, but also turned the tables on the veteran newsman, scolding CNN for airing enemy propaganda -- quite unconventional and daring, as Mrs. Cheney used to co-host CNN's "Crossfire." Mrs. Cheney breaks the political mold in every situation she is presented.

Rather than join the conventional chorus that venerates former Democratic presidents, Mrs. Cheney bridled when asked about Jimmy Carter's description of her husband as a "militant." "I really lost respect for Jimmy Carter in 1991. ... He didn't like the idea that we were going to get a United Nations resolution to kick Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. And so, he, as a former president, took it upon himself to write heads of state, urging them not to let their representatives in the United Nations vote for the resolution, supporting the action in Kuwait. You know that -- he really has crossed some kind of line here." Lynne Cheney loves her country and won't let anyone tear it down -- TV network or former president.

And while I don't agree with her on every policy issue -- she's against a federal amendment to protect traditional marriage -- I find her demeanor and approach to life overwhelmingly refreshing. Unlike so many female pols, she goes after what she wants. It's natural for her. "Blue Skies" is a delightful memoir of more innocent days, reaffirming that there's no gender-victimization whining with Mrs. Cheney.

She writes: "It never occurred to me that my chances of doing this were diminished because I was a girl. ... My first-grade readers might show mothers at home and fathers off at work, but I saw my mother working and my grandmother, too."

The best reason to back Lynne Cheney for president, though, is the sheer fun of it: She would shake up the race, and she would make watching it a treat. The woman knows what she wants to say and says it well. I think we have a candidate.