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Lunch With Dick



Monday, I had lunch with Dick Cheney. Well, that’s a lie. Actually, I was invited as a g-u-e-s-t of a local Republican to attend a $1,000 per plate luncheon at the Grand America Hotel. Vice President Dick Cheney was the featured speaker and the recipient of most of those one-thousand dollars. Lord knows the money didn’t go to the lunch itself. Even the Veep skipped out on lunch.

However, my drinking glass was filled continuously, unfortunately, though only with orange juice. But, this was a Republican gala, their party and their drinking rules. I wasn’t put off by not having any vodka for the orange juice, and I really do hate drinking alone which would have been the case in that room, filled as it was with compassionate conservatives. I did wonder, though, just how compassionate they really are, having a steak and potato luncheon in honor of a man with a cholesterol problem.

I imagine that the Democrats would have had more Hispanics in the room if it were their function. Not that there weren’t any at the Cheney fete; Hispanics were there—serving tables. Sure, sure, if John Kerry had been the speaker, Hispanics would have been serving the Democrats too. I simply think the room itself would have been a bit more colorful. At this point, fair play shall be given to the handful of black men in attendance, plus Molonai Hola. I think most of them hold elected positions locally (like James Evans, who said he recognized my name because it’s on “lots of contributors lists.” Say what, bro?). But I didn’t see any black women. No matter, because there weren’t many women there anyway, even counting the seven seated at the table directly behind us, as far back as you can get. It wasn’t meant that way, but, talk about feeding stereotypes!

I never mentioned that there were three of us. The other guy, a prominent Democrat, had paid the other part of my admission. Maybe they wanted to teach me a lesson. Maybe they just felt brown in a pasty world. Thus, our table comprised the Mediterranean contingent (the room’s only other Italian, Frank Pignanelli, was seated up front with his fellow Republicans).

At some point, one of the few Republicans that I’ve met and kind of liked lately, Spencer Stokes, sat down with us. Just as the Hispanic crew was about to serve our food, Stokes said, “Now’s the time to leave if you want to eat well.” So true. Anyway, he’s a nice fellow. I never saw him after the lettuce was served. Him and Cheney are two smart guys.

Despite few Hispanics, blacks, women and ethnic Europeans, the room was a fair glimpse of Utah. That is, a bunch of white guys shaking hands and asking for money. Like John Swallow, who has a bit of a scary look in person. I barely recognized him without his horse.

By 1 p.m., I had learned nothing new. Bush-good, Gore-bad, Bush-good, Clinton-bad, Bush-good-Bush-good, pause for effect and applause, screech, a broken record. In the end, a boring, expensive affair.

The day lacked spark. That spark could have been supplied by Cheney, father of a gay daughter, if he had told Orrin Hatch right then and there that he supports a wider gay platform than that of most Neanderthals in his midst. But, at a thousand bucks a pop, some things are better left unsaid, eh?