Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas With The Cheneys

What a night! Let Mark Silva tell you all about it...

"Merry Christmas," said Vice President Dick Cheney and wife Lynne, stationed by a white-lighted tree in a parlor of the mansion on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory which serves as the official residence of the second family.

They had filled a huge party tent on the grounds of the hilltop observatory in northwest Washington with an eclectic - OK, about as eclectic as crowds get in Washington - crowd of holiday guests: Power-brokers, former power-brokers and media celebrities.

Some of the other guys who started the war in Iraq were there: Donald Rumsfeld, the former secretary of defense who resigned after the "thumpin'" which the Republicans suffered in the last congressional elections: Paul Wolfowitz, the former deputy defense secretary whose reign as president of the World Bank was cut short by the deal he cut for a girlffriend who worked at the bank (Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is making Wolfowitz chairman of the International Security Advisory Board, an appointment that the White House wasn't ready to comment about this morning); and others.

It wasn't only the Neo-Cons who came out last night. It was the plain Old-Cons (as in Conservatives) as well: Newt Ginrgrich, the former speaker of the House from Georgia who had given a campaign for president some thought this year, but then thought better of the idea; Retiring Sen. Trett Lott of Mississippi, whose career has not been the same since a certain birthday party; and others.

Mike Hayden, the affable Central Intelligence Agency director, was there as well. Hayden, clearly dismayed about the outspokenness of that retired CIA agent who has testified in the media this week to the effectiveness of "waterboarding'' in terrorist interrogations, carried on off the record. Of course, there was a certain "not on my watch'' ease about the CIA chief's demeanor -- his predecessors were responsible for those videotapes of terrorist interrogations which the CIA had destroyed.

Daniel Silva, the affable author of many successful spy thrillers who bears no family relationship to this writer -- though this writer's dad, also named Dan, has read all the books -- was there with his media-star wife, NBC News' Jamie Gangel. And Alan Greenspan, the retired Federal Reserve chairman, was there with his media-star wife, NBC News' Andrea Mitchell.

And, as hundreds milled about in the big tent on the mansion lawn, the Cheneys stood sentry by the Christmas tree posing for photographs with guests filing through the house -- past a bookshelf filled with leatherbound volumes about fly-fishing in America and books about trout.

The Cheneys appeared filled with holiday cheer, with a restrained smile breaking the lips of the vice president greeting the media-stars and lesser lights passing by -- though we didn't talk about too much in passing. And all that we talked about in the big tent with the Neo-Cons Old-Cons and smiling CIA director -- whose wife comes from Chicago, by the way -- well, some things said in Washington do stay in Washington. Not much, but some.

Do visions of ponderous chains come to mind?

Something to consider, isn't it?

I'm traveling today. Be well.

Best bar bet in the world: Delilah didn't do it.
Judges 16:19--


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