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Thanksgiving with the Cheneys
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“The holiday turkey sure looks grand this year,” Dick Cheney said. “Why don’t we go around the table and say what we’re thankful for?”
Daughter Mary squeezed Heather Poe’s hand and declared, “I’m thankful for my wife.”
“Daddy, there she goes again!” daughter Liz yelled. “She keeps trying to promote her agenda!”
“Get off your soapbox and pass those yams,” Mary spat. “You’re not pandering for that Senate seat today. Daddy, tell her that there aren’t any Wyoming yahoos in this dining room.”
“Leave Daddy alone, Mary. And get your own yams. I love you, and I love Heather, and I love your children, but your family unit has no family values, and the Republican primary voters in Wyoming agree. Daddy, tell her I’m right. Daddy, are you listening to me?”
“Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against us...”
“Daddy’s floating down memory lane again,” Mary scoffed. “Which is fine with me, because he always liked you best.”
“No, he likes you best,” Liz sneered, stabbing the breast meat with the serving fork. “Years ago he said that people should be free to enter into any kind union they wish. Daddy, why aren’t you endorsing my Christian behavior?”
“Hel-lo!” Mary mocked. “Didn’t Daddy show up, just other day, at your campaign fundraiser? When the chips are down, he can’t do enough for big sister. Big sister, who’s on the wrong side of history. Big sister, who sees herself as a new generation of Republican leader. Big sister, who wants to set back the Republicans by 40 years. And I don’t like the way you’re holding that serving fork.”
“You know what, that cranberry sauce over there has more substance than you. Haven’t I always been compassionate to you and Heather? Haven’t we all spent time together? When you guys got married...excuse me, ‘married’...didn’t I make a point of telling you how happy I was for you?”
“Maybe a mouthful of stuffing will shut you up,” Heather Poe piped up. “Take this dish and start spooning it in, because I can’t listen to you anymore. Mary and I have hosted you at our home, and you were all warm and friendly - ‘the Christian way to behave,’ you’ve call it - and then, a couple weeks ago, you go on Fox News to say that you oppose the legitimacy of our kind of family? That’s offensive, to say the least.”
“Couldn’t have said it better myself,” Mary chimed in. “Right, Daddy?”
“Saddam has been very, very good at hiding his WMD efforts. We believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.”
“See what you’re doing, Mary?” Liz bellowed, pounding the table and sending the pumpkin pie skyward. “You’re upsetting Daddy! - you and your ‘spouse,’ who’s actually not a spouse in 35 states! You think you’re so smart, haven’t you heard of state’s rights? Or is that not part of your agenda?”
“Hey, take it easy over there!” Heather yowled. “I spent hours making that pumpkin pie, but if it’s too gay for you, then don’t eat it. And if you don’t think that ‘freedom’ means freedom for everyone - as your own dad has said - then spare us any more of your political lectures!”
“I love you both so very, very much, but how about I take this drumstick and knock some sense into the two of youze?” Liz said, brandishing a leg. “Look, I’ve got a tough primary in Wyoming next year. If I can’t win over the conservative base, I’ll have moved out there for nothing. In the spirit of family values, Mary, why won’t you support your own sister?”
“Oh, now I get it, Heather and I are supposed to be roadkill for your ambition - just red meat for the bigots to chew on. Speaking of meat, gimmee that turkey platter. That hunk of breast is going right in your face!”
“Oh yeah? Well, maybe I’ll take this gravy and splash it all over your lesbo blouse!”
“Just as well, because I saw you spit in the tureen!”
“Did not!”
“Did too! I got it on my phone, and it’s going on Facebook!”
“Daddy,” Liz cried, “tell Mary she’s wrong! Hey wait - Daddy, what are you doing? Put your dish down! Where are you going?!”
“To get peace and quiet. In my secret undisclosed location.”
Dick Polman is the national political columnist at NewsWorks/WHYY in Philadelphia ( and a “Writer in Residence” at the University of Philadelphia. Email him at