Looking for Dick Cheney's Heart

Dick Cheney is not heartless. He just has less of a heart. The New York Times says Cheney's heart will never beat at full strength again. His new mechanical pump leaves patients without a pulse because it does not mimic the heart's own beat.

So Dick Cheney has no pulse. Yet he walks among us. This is the Twilight Zone, verily.

He looks gaunt and frail, sitting down, holding a cane. What is scary is he looks almost human, an old man. It's as if Darth Vader took off his cloak and it turned out to be the Tin Woodman looking for his heart.

The irony boggles the mind.

But there's more. Within a few years he is going to probably need a full heart transplant.

Now we have the potential for the Great American Story. Imagine, said a colleague, that he gets the heart of an American soldier, brain-dead from being blown up in Iraq.

Then the war he unleashed based on fabricated intelligence would tick inside of him everyday. Would it drive him crazy? Or would it cause the heart to implode knowing it was trapped inside Dick Cheney?

For the last decade Dick Cheney has been the poster boy of evil, the grand vizier of an imperial presidency, sinister in his avuncularity. He was the one the anti-war people, the anti-neo cons, the anti-corporate types could all rally around. He was the one America loved to hate. He gave Bush cover. In 2007, Cheney came close to matching Dan Quayle for the least popular Veep ever with a 59% disapproval rating. At one point only 13 percent of Americans had a favorable rating of him. Though his ratings did improve after he left office, in 2009 55% of Americans still disapproved of him.

Looking at his photograph now, you almost feel sorry for the man. You can hardly recognize the menacing Veep, our own Dr. Strangelove.

He is suddenly like any other aging war criminal, the Pinochets, unrepentant but frail, Goliaths turned David. I imagine the sympathy factor will rise.

And the bloodlust of the Impeach Cheney crowd will never be satisfied.

More importantly America will have to find another prototype for implacable evil, because its current model is falling apart.

But I cannot get over the image of Dick Cheney looking for a new heart. It could be our century's version of Pilgrim's Progress, traveling the world with his hunting rifle, weighed down by the burden of sin, seeking deliverance. What role will Harry Whittington play in that parable, shot in the face by Cheney, but big hearted enough to take the blame?

More likely it will be the Goldilocks story -- looking for the perfect heart, not too soft, not too hard (remember he does accept his gay daughter) but just right for Dick Cheney. Now that would need to be some Brave Heart.