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Desperately seeking Dick 

When the candidates for congressional seats representing parts of Monroe County came in for interviews, we barraged them with a stream of tough questions: "Do you support an invasion of Iraq?" "How can the US create peace between Israelis and Palestinians?" "Should Medicare cover prescription drugs?"

            But the last question was by far the toughest: "Where's Dick Cheney?"

            The second-most powerful person in the free world (or the most powerful, depending who you ask) has been as elusive as a straight answer from White House press secretary Ari Fleischer. While we have no doubt Cheney's earning his $174,475 VP salary by working tirelessly to promote the interests of all Americans, we can't help but be curious about his whereabouts.

            We figured incumbent Democrat Louise Slaughter would at least have a clue as to where Cheney's been hanging. After all, she spends a lot of time in our nation's capitol and, like all Democrats, works closely with the administration in the constructive spirit of bipartisanship we've come to expect.

            "All I remember about Cheney was when he was asked why he didn't show up in Vietnam, and he said he had other priorities," Slaughter says. "Who knows? Nobody ever insists on knowing where the vice president is."

            Except us.

            Slaughter's Republican challenger, Henry Wojtaszek, must be in constant contact with Cheney as he tries to bolster the Elephant Party's power in the House, right? But when we asked him where Cheney was, he said, "Probably brokering a stock deal with Barbra Streisand or holed up in a mountain." (It was recently reported that Streisand, a vocal critic of the current administration, bought and sold stock in Halliburton while Cheney was the petroleum giant's CEO.)

            "Maybe he's out in the [Middle Eastern] oil fields that he helped to rebuild, helping them figure out where the bombs should fall so it doesn't disrupt too much of his firm's work," guessed Stephanie Aldersley, the Democratic contender for James Walsh's District 25 seat.

            "I know he's not pumpin' gas in suburban Washington, that's for sure," said Green Party candidate Paul Fallon during the DC sniper terror. "I think he's probably in Air Force One, running everything. He's keeping an eye on Georgie Boy to make sure he doesn't screw up."

            We can only hope he's right.

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