1. Actually, it’s pronounced ”Cheeney”.

2. He might have been of military age and sound physically, but Cheney did not serve in the Vietnam War. Instead, he applied for, and received, five draft deferments. In April 1989, The Washington Post quoted him as saying, “I had other priorities in the 60s than military service.”

3. He ”picks up chicks by pretending to be Alan Greenspan” (according to David Letterman).

4. His wife Lynne is one of America’s outspoken cultural conservatives. She has a doctorate in English (in her thesis she explored Kant’s influence on the poetry of Matthew Arnold). It’s been said that long before Dan Quayle discovered Murphy Brown was pregnant, Mrs Dick was ranting about moral decay. That’s probably why her novel Sisters isn’t mentioned nowadays in her biographical notes – the book is a torrid tome that explores brothels, rape attempts and lesbian love in the Wild West in 1981. Here’s an extract: “Let’s go away together, away from the anger and imperatives of men. There will be only the two of us and we shall linger through the long afternoons of sweet retirement…and then we shall go to bed, our bed, my dearest girl”.

5. For all that, the Cheneys are a broad-minded and accepting couple. The younger of their two daughters, Mary, is in a same s-x relationship and she and her partner are adopting a child – with the blessing of the grandparents-to-be. The Cheneys’ elder daughter Elizabeth is married to Philip J Perry, General Counsel of the Department of Homeland Security. Neither is lesbian.

6. According to The Smoking Gun website (and why wouldn’t we believe them?), Mr Cheney likes his hotel suite kept at a comfy 68 degrees, all the televisions need to be preset to the Fox News Channel, decaf coffee should be ready upon his arrival along with four cans of caffeine-free Diet Sprite. And when Cheney is travelling with his wife, the second family’s suite needs an additional two bottles of sparkling water. Mrs Cheney’s H2O should be either Calistoga or, curiously, Perrier, a favoured beverage of French terrorism appeasers.

7. Um.

8. Dick Cheney is the vice-president of the United States.

9. Dick once mistook campaign contributor Harry Whittington for a small bird. This had potentially fatal complications.

10. The last American VP to visit Australia was Dan Quayle, who isn’t a bird either. Dan was a man who thought deeply on issues pertaining to official function: “One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice-president, and that one word is ‘to be prepared’.”

Peter Fray

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