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Jan 18, 2006

De Feet of Inquiry


So, who noticed that the Vice President met Hosni Mubarak this week in casual oxfords?

Social psychology tells us that most people try not to attend too closely to infirmities in others.  To focus on a physical deficit (such as a deformed limb), or a psychological affliction (such as a nervous tic), is considered indiscreet or an act of disrespect.  And this attitude applies doubly when the situation involves an "elder." This might be one reason why images involving Dick Cheney's recent public appearances haven't circulated widely, or why certain details might be missed or minimized when they do.

As a physical disaster zone, Mr. Cheney seems happy to take advantage of the social discretion.  If one were to look more freely (at the press reports as well as the pictures), it would be hard to miss that Cheney is hobbling.  He has made a number of trips to the hospital in recent days and months, which the Administration has either downplayed or tried to keep silent.  The last visit (based on shortness of breath) was quickly waved off as a medication issue, although the L.A. Times did have the courage (the White House would say, the "audacity") to raise an eyebrow over the incident, even quoting a specialist who questioned whether the administered treatment fit the purported diagnosis.

"Lower shot" of Veep at Fort Leavenworth while awarding medals to troops -- January 6th

Concomitant with (and possibly even related to) Cheney's heart condition is a persistent foot ailment which has no clear explanation, or else multiple explanations (a toe? a heel? gout? a bone spur?)  (... Assuredly though, it has nothing to do with the surgery last September to remove aneurysms from behind both knees).  Whether it's just his feet, or a more dire set of problems, however, it would be a lot easier to tell if Cheney can still fill the V.P.'s shoes if the press and the people stopped giving him the free pass.

On the other hand (or foot), however, one might also consider that Cheney met Mubarak "out of uniform" based as much on pure arrogance.  (Remember when Dick caused something of a stir last year when he showed up at the Auschwitz liberation ceremony in a parka and a ski hat?)  More likely, it seems that health considerations and arrogant disrespect are both factors, especially (if Cheney's health gives him the excuse to flaunt rules of dress).


The best evidence for this is the condition of these shoes.

Personally, I wouldn't let my young son attend an official function with his shoes looking near as shitty as Cheney's do.  I mean, don't they have valets for that?  Also, you can't tell me that Cheney -- when he was trolling for international business at Halliburton -- would dare sit down with a client with footwear in this condition, especially the way he's known to attend to his shoes.

And then, aren't the Arabs particularly sensitive to this type of discourtesy?

(image 1 and 3: Khaled Desouki/AFP.  January 17, 2006.  Cairo, Egypt. Via YahooNews.  image 2: Ed Zurga/AP. Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. January 6, 2006.  Via YahooNews.)


Progressive congestive heart failure often causes swelling in the lower extremeties that gets worse and worse over time. Previously I thought that Cheney's shoe issues were due to his heart condition. That explanation would cover the mismatched shoe photo. But that bottom picture -- oy! I can't even think of a charitable explanation for those! If he couldn't get them in black, maybe someone could take some saddle soap to them!

Can't be, Phredd - ain't nothin' progressive about Cheney!

Foot condition? He's the vice president of the United States, for crying out loud. Whatever shoes he needs can surely be acquired for him. At least get them in black.

I don't get it. Unless the shoes are a way of sending messages in secret code.

Holy shit! I swear I just threw out those shoes last week. I knew the grumpy guy in my trash looked familiar. If Cheney starts wearing a somewhat frayed dress coat with tie-dyed elbows, I'll know he's my guy.

And I'd have to agree that those shoes were an insult. They might somehow be part of his "condition" , but I seriously doubt he couldn't do better. I think it's all part of Cheney's "F-You Attitude". Hey, that'd be a good name for a self-help book he could write after he's forced to resign.

Remember who he is. Remember what he stands for. Remember everything he has done in his life. And then feel free to say out loud: I hope it hurts. I hope it really fucking hurts.

So who becomes president if Cheney dies in office? Rove?

Ok, let's put together what we know and can reasonably extrapolate. The Veep has a pacemaker, and has had several cardiac episodes. I'm certain he's on Coumadin to try and prevent clotting (though the reduced brain functions, repeating disproved talking points, may indicate his cardiac ischemia has travelled north), along with a ton of anti-hypertensive drugs. So he's definitely got ankle swelling and a screwed up biochemistry.

But given his lifestyle (remember all those DUI's?), I gotta go with gout. Which Keir will be happy to know, really F*$*&#! hurts.

In photo #2 his pants look like they don't fit. Perhaps he left his belt at Jeff Gannon's apartment the night before.

Refusing dress assistance fits in with his introvert behavior.

GOUT !!!

My telepathic diagnostic skills must be rusty.

"Oh Grampa, what big feet you have!"

"The better to kick liberal butt with, that is until my ticker stop ticking!"

As one who has foot troubles (spur, broken toes, arthritis, etc.) I know the necessity of having at least one pair of old shoes that doesn't hurt. Mine is several years old and splotchy. But I don't have Darth's power and money. So I cut him no slack.

Okay, he's got problems. NOT OKAY is wearing scruffy shoes. He has people to point out that his shoes are dirty, even if he has a brain fart while dressing. So I come down on the 'fuck-you' side. Which seems to be the attitude of this entire admin when dealing with the outside world.

About his mysterious hospital trips, I wonder if it could all be political. Yeah, he's sick. Obviously he can't run for office in '08 (the obvious, usual choice). So what are the reps going to do? Leading contenders are being hauled off at record speed. But what if Darth suddenly becomes too ill to continue in office and must retire to Wyoming luxury? W could appoint one of his baby brothers as veep. Problem solved. The succession is in place.

Does he have diabeties perhaps?

Cactus, you beat me to it, this looks an awful lot like diabetic problems.

I don't know if the Bag will comment on this pic or not but I found it interesting so here it is:

You can find my comments (and leave your own if you like) here:

Cheney in "fuck-you" mode. No other way to explain it.

My sense is that how shoes are worn is important in Arab culture, so it is probably a double-fuck-you. The Egyptians surely noticed.

I appreciate the way that in the intro the BagMan wrote "goat" instead of "gout", because goat is so appropriate for this man. Goat is often aligned with the Devil, and Cheney has evil all over him. Riddled with evil.

Further, it turns out that gout is caused by an excess of uric acid, or more easily said, Cheney is too full of piss crystals.

Back to the photos: in photos #1 & 3, it looks like Cheney's slacks are inappropriate, not quality at all. In fact, it may be that his jacket and slacks are not matching.

And the tie? That is really tacky. Looks like he's ready to go back to Wyoming.

Even if Cheney himself is oblivious to his personal appearance, doesn't his wife (or one of his daughters) at least take the trouble to make sure that he's appropriately dressed before he goes out in public? Lynn Cheney is always trumpeting the virtue of "family" and devoted wifehood--where's Cheney's family when he needs them? These photos show that Cheney womenfolk aren't taking very good care of their man.

Those leathers are the Veeps Halliburton Expeditionary Boots, dropping in on this or that leader is cover for business and incidental expenses.
It was also his turn to get on the Middle East Carousal.
A recurring injury from youthful glory days as El Numero Uno Capitano of his football team ?

I don't think Cheney has a lot of friends. Bush isn't as close as he used to be. There are very few people that Cheney would consider peers.

The ugly shoes draw attention to Cheney's feet. I think he subconsiously wants people to know that he hurts. He wants a little sympathy because he's just human.

That's where you're wrong, error27, Cheney is not human.

And what Yalie would be caught dead in a black/navy suit wearing brown shoes? Fashion etiquette is one of the first things these people learn in prep school.

Cheney has no class. He has only contempt for anyone who is not a gazillionaire like him. I hope his feet hurt like hell.

It's hard getting comfortable shoes for cloven hooves.

What I can't figure is why a rich guy like Cheney with all of those health problems can't get his life together. His food is prepared especially for him, he can have a personal trainer, somebody to buy his clothes, etc. etc. What does this guy put into his body? What is he pigging out on? The other day I heard Imus describe Cheney as "a big fat mess." Very apt. I guess he's an appropriate symbol of the worst of America: a reverence for head over heart. Notice how big his head is in comparison to his legs which are starting to look pretty spindly in his dotage? Ugh!

Well, it is definitely his left foot that's the problem, which is worthy of snark on many levels, but my son is home from school today and wants me to watch him play Zelda while he "recovers", so maybe someone else can come up with something.

I thought of the movie with Daniel Day Lewis, but the subject matters are so diverse that to attempt to combine them might make the universe explode.

I never thought I'd actually have to _defend_ Cheney, but in this case, as a Coloradan, I cannot stand idly by:

People dress less formally out West. (and Cheney grew up there.) You can get snarky about it, but I happen to think it's a better culture. (Dressing functionally helps to reduce overt manifestations of class snobbery; and, as an added bonus, you don't end up dying of hypothermia because you wore weak shoes or a fashionable jacket...)
Really: isn't it more important that he _went_ to Auschwitz, and didn't bail out because "it's too cold"??

Me, I wear hiking boots most of the time..even though I'm a recent transplant to Boston. And yes, I have a serious job where such shoes are inappropriate... and yes, plenty of brahmins visibly sneer at me for it. But to hell with them.
In this (one single issue alone), I'm with Cheney.

Criticize Cheney for his disengagment from reality, for his machiavellian egotism, or even for his attempt to hide his serious health issues from the public;
But criticizing a man for his choice to wear functional shoes is peevish and snide.

To David,

It's not just about functional shoes versus formal. As many have pointed out he can afford appropriate footwear and has people to care care of them. The man is on a diplomatic mission; the issue is one of respect.

Last summer there was a bit of a flap about some college (?) girls attending a White House gathering wearing flip-flops. Cheney's shoes are even more inappropriate.

If ill-health prevent him performing his duties in a professional manner, he should resign.

I'm with you, momly, 99.9%. This is a peevish and snide criticism of Cheney. (But I don't think concealing his ill-health is criticism-worthy either.)

If the issue is one of respect as David says, then have respect for an old, ailing man whose feet hurt. And David, if you feel wearing shabby shoes is grounds for resignation, do you also feel Clinton really should have been removed from office? He certainly engaged in far less professional behavior than that.

I'm a pretty left-leaning guy in a lot of ways, but this is just cheesy. Really.

I have horrible feet (two surgeries so far.) Fortunately I have reached that stage in life when I don't give a sh-t what anyone thinks about my shoes--or my outfits, or my hair, for that matter. I think this entire thread is stupid and petty.

My mistake. I agree with David, and disagree with PaminBB. (Those footers really look like headers.)

I seem to remember in the bible stories about washing feet. I believe Jesus did that as a show of respect and humbleness. (Not necessarily qualities found in this crowd.) Point being, the symbolic washing of feet is probably wide-spread throughout desert peoples be they Israeli or Persian or Arab. In which case, evidence piles up on the side of intentional contempt.

And for those who think comfort trumps (and I'm not far from that, myself), Darth could AT LEAST have bought a new pair of black suede comfies. He didn't. He CHOSE to wear those particular shoes.

Pamin BB's comments are 100 % on target.
The U.S.A. doesn't need another copy of 'The Ugly American' at this time.
RTBAG asks the critical question concerning the Veep.

David said: "isn't it more important that he _went_ to Auschwitz, and didn't bail out because 'it's too cold'??"

What ever happened to going to Auschwitz because it's HIS JOB? He doesn't get extra credit points for it.

Maybe Cheney means no intentional disrespect by his choice of footwear, and maybe he's not even in any real pain in this photo. Maybe the guy is just a slob.

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