Friday, July 28, 2000

Dems: Cheney a thing of the past

N.Ky. leaders note tie to elder Bush

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush took a step back by selecting former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney as his running mate, some of Northern Kentucky's top Democrats are saying.

        “When I think about a Bush/Cheney ticket I think about the past,” said Edgewood lawyer Ed Worland, a Democratic strategist.

        “The Democratic leadership we've had in this country, and for that matter in this state, is the future. Dick Cheney is probably a decent guy, but he is from the past,” Mr. Worland said.

        On Tuesday Mr. Bush, who next week will accept the Republican nomination for president during the party's national convention in Philadelphia, chose Mr. Cheney as his running mate.

        A former six-term congressman from Wyoming who has been working as an oil company executive, Mr. Cheney served as secretary of defense under Mr. Bush's father, former President Bush.

        “It seems to me that this selection was more his dad's than his,” said Chris Mehling, an Edgewood lawyer and a member of the Kenton County Democratic Executive Committee.

        “It was a looking-back choice instead of a looking-forward choice,” Mr. Mehling said. “But I'm actually more interested in who Al Gore is going to pick as his vice president.”

        Several Democrats, including Terry Mann of Fort Thomas, said Mr. Cheney was a “safe” pick for Mr. Bush.

        “Dick Cheney is a very safe choice who I'm sure comes very highly recommended by the candidate's father,” said Mr. Mann, a member of the Campbell County Democratic Executive Committee.

        “It's a good, safe choice,” he said. “He passes muster with the factions of the right of the Republican Party, but he is not a charismatic individual who is going to upstage the presidential candidate.”

        Mr. Mann also said that Mr. Cheney will do little to broaden the Republican base and win the moderate voters who fled the GOP for Bill Clinton and Mr. Gore in the last two presidential elec tions.

        “I think Bush is going to be the guy to reach out to people,” Mr. Mann said. “Because Cheney isn't the guy to do that.”

        Covington City Commissioner Jerry Stricker, a delegate to next month's Democratic Convention, said he thinks Mr. Cheney is actually the best candidate for president.

        “As far as the country is concerned, it's a good pick,” Mr. Stricker said. “Too bad the ticket is not reversed. Dick Cheney is a lot more qualified for the job.”

        Kentucky Gov. Paul Patton, a Pikeville Democrat now traveling in Israel on a trade mission, released a statement saying that by choosing Mr. Cheney “Bush isn't strong enough to be independent in the development of his own foreign policy.

        “Cheney's selection as a vice presidential running mate shows that Bush is captive of the old-guard, right-wing element of the Republican Party,” Mr. Patton said.

        But not all Democrats took issue with Mr. Cheney's presence on the Republican ticket.

        “I think it's a good pick,” said Campbell County Commissioner Dave Otto, a Fort Thomas Democrat. “Dick Cheney is well-respected, he would do a great job on foreign affairs, and he's a good, father-type figure.

        “I don't think it hurts Bush at all,” he said.


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