Dick in the dark

That Dick Cheney is quite the elusive, private person for such a public figure. The vice president showed last week that even though he’s an elected official, he’s not about to let a lot of sunshine in on his form of democracy.

In Washington, the General Accounting Office sued Cheney when he denied them access to basic information regarding the attendees and cost of an energy task force meeting. The first question that comes to mind: What has he got to hide?

In Sacramento, he used government expense to travel here for an event staged simply for the benefit of a fellow Republican politician. The press and the public were denied access to Cheney. City and state police kept everyone back, unless they were on an approved list and paid handsomely.

So, it appears our vice president used taxpayers’ money in both instances to do political work while simultaneously wearing the cloak of government, and yet he refuses to be open about it.

The price of access was steep last week at the Memorial Auditorium. It was $100 to get into the John Doolittle fund-raiser and another $1,000 to stand next to the less-than-photogenic Cheney and get a snapshot. The incumbant Doolittle is facing a primary opponent (see “When Elephants Collide” by Steven T. Jones), and Cheney’s presence brought in the bucks. Since we paid for our vice president’s transportation and security, it would have been nice for him to make some remarks to the public, but that would have killed the need to buy a ticket.

One of the reasons the public thinks that politicians are up to no good is because of exclusionary practices like these. Dollars, whether from Enron executives or Sacramento area Republicans, will get you access and everyone else is shut out. Why?