One of the things a sitting Vice President has to do is to go out and raise money for people of their own party who are running for public office.
Vice President Dick Cheney, the other day, went to beautiful downtown Newark, New Jersey to do a fundraiser for State Senator Tom Kean, Jr. who is running for US Senate in November.
The event raised about $400,000 for Kean, so the money was there. The crowd was there. The donors were there. The Veep was there. Kean didn’t make it.
It seems he HAD to stay in beautiful downtown Trenton, New Jersey to vote on some crucially important legislation and then hopped into his car and zipped up to beautiful downtown Newark.
Kean missed the event by 15 minutes.
It seems that instead of traveling via the New Jersey Turnpike (according to my Delorme mapping program a trip of about 1:15) he decided to take a shortcut up Route 1.
The Route 1, um, route, takes a half hour longer, 1:47. But you get to travel through some of the prettier parts of NJ: Beautiful downtown Penns Neck; Beautiful downtown Metuchen; Beautiful downtown Rahway; Beautiful downtown Linden; and, of course, Beautiful downtown Elizabeth.
Fifty miles of heavily built-up New Jersey. About 1,758 stop lights. Stop and go. S…T…O…P and go.
According to the Trenton Times Kean said his driver went as fast as he could but, “by the time he arrived in Newark, he told reporters, ‘I ended up running down the street.’”
The Trenton Times does not record whether Kean was running in the direction of, or away from, the Vice Presidential Motorcade. Nor was Kean asked to explain what, like the dog who chased the car, he intended to do if he had caught up with the Veep.
Tom Kean is the son of a highly respected former Governor of New Jersey and, by all accounts is a perfectly likeable man.
It is clear to anyone who ever took high school civics that Kean didn’t want to be in a photograph with the Vice President.
Ok. Everyone gets to make those kinds of decisions. A few months ago the he-bull of Democratic politicians, Hillary Clinton, “narrowly avoided political disaster … by staying at least 15 feet away from Harry Belafonte at all times during the Children's Defense Fund lunch in the Rainbow Room,” according to the NY Daily News’ Lloyd Grove.
According to Grove,
“When the 58-year-old Clinton swept into the room mid-meal, she didn't do the usual thing and stop by Belafonte's table for a quick hello. She didn't even acknowledge his presence. She simply pretended he wasn't there.
“She strode onstage to deliver 10 minutes of remarks, sat through somebody else's speech, then bolted out the door - moments before Belafonte's turn at the mike.
I think there may be a market for coming up with excuses for politicians missing photo ops with people they don’t want to be photo opted with.
Certainly the “My driver took Route 1 instead of the six-lane superhighway New Jersey Turnpike” is workable. More so, if you say,
“It was ironic, really. Here we didn’t have enough money for the Turnpike toll and there the Vice President was bringing in $400,000 for my campaign. Go figure, huh?”
Another good one is the “We ran out of gas” on the way to the appearance with the Jeffery Dahmer of American politics. This is enriched by taking a shot at the “environmentalists who refuse to allow drilling in Anwar. “Take oil out of Anwar and it becomes gasoline in New Jersey. Democrats stopped it. If that’s not a dirty trick, I don’t know what is.”
Before you get upset about this keep in mind that the New Jersey DID raise (as we like to say in New Jersey) 400 Large.
Also keep in mind that Kean might have been stuck on Route 1, but the Democrats haven’t been able to gain any traction anywhere in the country.
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A link to the Trenton Times editorial about the Kean miss. A Mullfoto from the Air Force speech the other day, and a Catchy Caption of the Day.