Meet Cheney

john mark carr
American voters will meet George W. Bush's running mate Dick Cheney on Night Three of the Republican National Convention. For most people, it's a first time introduction.

Although Cheney served in government for 20 years as congressman, Cabinet member and White House staffer, he is not widely known outside political and national security circles.

In less than two weeks as Bush's running mate, Cheney’s stumping style has been reserved and self-effacing. He'll have to let his hair down a little to fire up the crowd and connect with the television audience.

Republicans like Cheney because they believe his resume will complement Bush's experience. But for Democrats, Cheney's ten-year conservative voting record in Congress has been an easy target.

Cheney will need to make a speech that places him inside the friendlier, "compassionate" conservative circle that the Bush campaign has expanded to include minorities, immigrants and even - gasp - homosexuals.

The convention's theme Wednesday is "Prosperity With a Purpose: Keeping America Prosperous and Protecting Retirement Security."

With George W. Bush's plans for a large tax cut and Social Security reform as the night's policy focus, and speeches by Cheney and boogeyman-to-the-left Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, it should be an evening of traditional Republican messages and images.

Expect a full-throated defense of the Bush tax cut. On the campaign trail, Al Gore has depicted the Bush tax cut as irresponsible, telling audiences that the surplus can be used instead to extend the solvency Social Security and Medicare, and expand health care.

The convention will continue to roll out "real people" who will tell their own stories of bootstrapping their way out of poverty through hard work and clean living.

In addition to live speeches by a Latino small businessman, a family farmer and a struggling divorced mother, there will be at least one more installment of the 'Profile in Compassion' video series the convention has produced to showcase private philanthropic and education projects.

World Wrestling Federation personality "The Rock" will call the convention to order, introducing an evening of high culture that includes pop singer Jon Secada, country western crooner Lee Greenwood and "Regular Joe," a rock band featuring conservative Florida congressman Joe Scarborough.