Last summer, the vice president of the United States had what the White House called a "frank exchange of views" with Sen. Patrick Leahy. Translated, that means that Leahy said whatever he said, and then Dick Cheney said, "Go fuck yourself."
Touring the destruction of Hurricane Katrina today, Cheney got a little of his own medicine. While Cheney was taking questions on live television, someone nearby shouted out, "Go fuck yourself, Mr. Cheney." A reporter followed up by asking the vice president if he has been hearing a lot of that sort of thing. Cheney said he has not.
Which is no surprise, really. Neither the vice president nor the president spends a lot of time within earshot of regular Americans. As George W. Bush once observed, men in such a lofty position don't often "run into people." And if you're spending your time vacationing at home in Wyoming or shopping for an oceanfront estate on the Eastern Shore of Maryland -- as Cheney has been doing lately -- you really don't hear from a lot of regular folks, at least not the kind who would suggest that you perform an anatomically impossible act.
But maybe Bush and Cheney should get out more. They might be surprised by what they see. A new Zogby poll out today has just 41 percent of the public approving of Bush's job performance -- an all-time low for that poll. Zogby asked Americans how they'd vote in hypothetical matchups between Bush and candidates from the past. The president would still beat John Kerry by a within-the-margin-of-error percentage point, but he'd lose to every recent president -- including Jimmy Carter and his own father.