Dick Cheney, America's Newest Idol

After years in the shadows, everybody's talking about him

For eight long years of the Bush administration, citizens slept soundly in their beds knowing that even if the ostensible president seemed like a callow, incurious doofus who could not identify North America on a map, the real president -- a quiet gentleman named Dick Cheney -- was running the nation's affairs with devastating efficiency and competence from a top-secret lair buried 20,000 fathoms beneath the Earth's crust.

We liked knowing that Cheney was around, the chess player behind the checkers-playing Bush, the secret genius silently goading half the planet into war. And we loved him for his wonderful modesty and unassuming nature.

Now, of course, we love him all the more for splattering his face all over every major talk show and news outlet, singing the praises of torture and other fun things.

In modern America, we measure public adoration in units of media coverage. The more beloved you are, the more frequently you appear on the television and in important newspapers. Therefore, we can take the fact that the former vice president has appeared as the lead newsmaker in 133 recent print, network TV, cable, online and radio stories as clear evidence of our national love affair with Cheney.

The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism tells us that Cheney's exposure has skyrocketed since President Obama's inauguration, reflecting the American public's obvious (and instantaneous) nostalgia for the halcyon days of the Cheney presidency.

Poor Cheney toiled unnoticed while he was in office. In the year before Obama's inauguration, he appeared as the main guy in a mere 96 news stories -- but we've come to regret the error of our ways. These days, the more we see of Dick Cheney, the more it seems we want to see of Dick Cheney. 2012, anyone?

Dick Cheney Fanclub founder Sara K. Smith writes for NBC and Wonkette.

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