As if in a time warp from the '50s, liberal commentators like Sally Quinn have questioned whether a woman with five kids can handle the job of being vice president. But for those who picture Sarah Palin coming back from her office at the White House each evening to cook dinner and wash dishes, here’s what the life of a vice president really is like.
The vice president lives rent-free in a handsome 9,150-square-foot, three-story mansion overlooking Massachusetts Avenue Northwest. Complete with pool, pool house, and indoor gym, the white brick house was built in 1893 as the home of the superintendent of the U.S. Naval Observatory. Congress turned it into the official residence of the vice president in 1974 and gave it the address One Observatory Circle.
During the day, at least five Navy stewards attend to every personal need of the second family, including cooking, shopping for food, cleaning, and doing the laundry. The stewards, officially called Navy enlisted aides, make a mean latté, which they served me when I interviewed Lynne Cheney about her book “Blue Skies, No Fences: A Memoir of Childhood and Family.” [Editor's Note: Get Lynne Cheney's book. Go here now.]
Owned by the Navy, the home sits on 12 acres. At least two groundskeepers take care of the outside, supplemented by contractors hired by the General Services Administration.
Staffers with offices in the residence and in the west wing attend to planning trips and social events, which Vice President Cheney tends to give a few times month. At times, the staff also helps Lynne Cheney with shopping.
Beyond the incremental cost of food for themselves, the Cheneys receive all services free of charge. They do not have to pay for heat or electricity. Nor is there any need for ADT.
The Secret Service maintains a round-the-clock vigil at the home and drives the Cheneys wherever they want to go. As at the White House, the Secret Service outfitted the home with an array of sensors, video cameras, and other intrusion detectors.
To be sure, Dick Cheney works hard. He arrives at the White House by 8 a.m. each day, leaving in time for dinner. He even fetches his own coffee at the White House mess. But he also manages to spend weekends at his home on the eastern shore, flown there by Marine helicopter.
Not a bad life, especially when one considers that if Palin is elected vice president, her husband Todd says he plans to be a stay-at-home dad. But the fact that any response is needed to claims that Gov. Palin cannot be a mother and vice president at the same time, demeans women.
The irony is that, in their eagerness to attack John McCain’s running mate, liberals who stand for equal rights for women sadly are sabotaging their own cause by suggesting that being a mother disqualifies a candidate for the second highest office in the land.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via
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