Dick Cheney - slumped over, with eyes blazing and hands rubbing together in glee - did his best Darth Vader impression last night during the debate with John Edwards. And he got in some telegenic if not honest digs against Edwards and Kerry.
Too bad his best line - "I've never met you before tonight" - was a lie.
Of course they'd met before, and the helpful political bloggers wasted no time in trotting out images, news stories and video proving that.
But his biggest lie of the night, "I never suggested there was a link between Saddam and 9/11," has become so ingrained in the public consciousness that it probably didn't register outside the limited ranks of political junkies. Fact is, Cheney and his flying monkeys have been pounding home the supposed connection between Saddam and 9/11 for years, and even their denials serve to at least enter a sentence into the public record that includes both terms.
It's basic advertising - Volvos are safe. Thinking safety? Think Volvo. Safety is the most important thing for Volvo. Volvo owns "safety."
Unfortunately, Edwards wasn't strong enough to counter Cheney's Vader-like stare and obvious command of the rhetoric. Edwards got in some good jabs, like pointing out how Cheney voted against Head Start, MLK Day, Meals on Wheels, and probably, puppies. But he missed many many opportunities to counter Cheney's lies - most likely because there were just so many of them. So it's probably a wash. Luke Skywalker got his hand chopped off, but he stayed alive.
Still, I keep wondering if the voters are going to start to ask themselves, why did the VP do so much better with basic things like full sentences than the President did? Who's really in charge here?