Cheney, Stress And The Mideast

Stressful Jobs Abound

I've been thinking a lot about Vice President Cheney lately and what a tough position he's in.

He's the most experienced member of the new administration, so it's certainly important to all of us that he stay well. You want a guy around who can say, "I remember something like this came up in the Ford administration."

The vice president has been having heart attacks, since he's 37 years old. He had a heart attack in 1978, 1984, another heart attack and a quadruple bypass in 1988. In 2000 he had a heart attack and an angioplasty to clean out a heart artery and in 2001 they redid the angioplasty.

The vice president feels his heart problems are genetic and have nothing to do with stress, and even if they do, he had this to say the day after he was discharged from the hospital: "I very much enjoy my job. I'm having a very good time and don't consider it stressful."

Does anybody out there have a job that's not stressful?

Mr. Cheney has a doctor follow him around all day long. That's stressful right there. Would you want someone watching you all day long to see if you wince or worse? The vice president was at a meeting with the president of South Korea, where I'm sure they talked about North Korea.

North Korea. That's a relaxing subject. Again, this is a day after he got out of the hospital. And he's sitting in on meetings about what to do with the Middle East, and plenty of other subjects that are a lot more stressful than say, a hot bath.

Now I'm not suggesting Mr. Cheney spend most of his time in the tub, but it's really not that easy to figure out what's OK or not OK to do.

If I had a heart condition and were the vice president, I'd probably do just what Mr. Cheney's doing, carry on business as usual.

What I'd like to say is, "Let me just sit out the Saddam stuff."