Wednesday, April 4

Excursus: Brigham Young University Students Circulate Anti-Cheney Petition

Ed.Note: An intriguing piece of information from the U.S. Justice Department has delayed my next installment in Milkhouse Mouse's "Tax Day Honesty" series. Until I incorporate that information, I'm posting an email I sent earlier today to a group list.--Moose

In October 2002, Vice President Dick Cheney's Secret Service detail had halted all car and light rail traffice on the street to the boss's four-star Salt Lake City hotel in preparation for his limo ride to the airport and return flight to Washington.

Cheney had come to town to speak to a convention of retired military veterans in which he needed applauding attendees for that needed those coveted TV sound bytes in promoting the White House's pro-Iraq War position. Now Cheney was leaving town, in arguably the most conservative state in the nation, where he visits regularly for that good crowd ju-ju vibe his PR-team televises out to the rest of America.

So I'm standing in the light rail train commuter car, hand in the overhead strap, for ten minutes before I ask no one in particular what the holdup is.

"Big Dick Cheney's leaving in his limo," a dishevsled college student-type impatiently tells me.

And sure enough, a black stretch limo just then turned out of the underground parking garage to exit the wrong direction down the one-way street and zip off to SLC International Airport.

Ah, the good ol' days, Dickie C., you thought they'd never end...

Dick thought his Utah stock was still rising when his recently asked BYU's board of directors to invite him to deliver the university's commencement address 26 April; they "accepted his request." (

But judging from a petition now circulating at BYU, the conservative Church of Latter Day Saints' privately supported flagship university, younger Utahans concerned about their futures have had they fill of Big Dick.

According to a 2 April Wall Street Journal post ("Et tu, Brute,", 2,300 mostly students have signed a petition asking the tranced adults who invited the VP to withdraw their "invitation for Cheney to speak at commencement later this month. Critics at the school question whether he sets a good example for graduates, citing his promotion of faulty intelligence before the Iraq war and his role in the CIA leak scandal."

Here's an excerpt of the petition:

..Cheney has made misleading statements about the tragic war which continues in Iraq, levied outrageous partisan accusations against his Democratic opponents, and used vulgarity on the Senate floor. He has been linked to serious scandals involving botched intelligence reports, no-bid contracts awarded to friends and political donors, and perjury convictions handed down to his own staff. Mr. Cheney is simply not the type of role model to whom we wish to bestow the responsibility of addressing our best and brightest as they "go forth to serve".

Warner Woodworth, a university business professor who sponsored the petition, noted “Cheney just doesn’t measure up" to the university's "heavy emphasis on personal honesty and integrity in all we do."

Dr. Woodworth's observation suggests he is audting a BYU graduate lit class this semester on understatement as a literary device in American post-World War II novels.

So ladies and gentlemen, there you have it; it is official: If BYU students sack Cheney, the old Texan quail hunter will be politically comatose as yesterday's Fox News Network headlines.

Related mention:

BYU commencement speech petition:

Postscript: Iowan Supports BYU petition

An Iowan reads a local news report on BYU's anti-Cheney petition at BYU for the first three minutes of his 4.5 minute video response to the story.

You also may wish to view a 1.5-minute video post from 24 March by a squeaky-clean BYU student after learning about Cheney's invitation to speech at the university commencement exercise. A denizen on the BYU campus in Provo, Utah, he politely rants against Cheney's invitation--and SLC major Rocky Anderson, a civil liberties Democrat attorney, who publicly denounced--oh, no!!!-- the Bush administration during the run-up to the Iraq War.

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