Skip to comments.Cheney's Daughter Given Starring Role In Arab Campaign
Posted on 06/22/2003 1:33:17 AM PDT by bruinbirdman
On the shimmering shores of the Dead Sea, Liz Cheney, daughter of America's vice-president Dick Cheney, emerged yesterday as the Middle East's new pin-up.
She has been armed with a new budget of more than £65 million and charged with sparking an Arab renaissance to undermine the influence of extremists and to encourage democracy and equality for women.
Cheney's pinup daughter
Ms Cheney, 36, a comparatively junior member of the State Department, was singled out as the official to get to know over canapes and fruit juice by many of the 2,000 delegates attending the World Economic Forum in Jordan.
The prospect of meeting the woman tipped as the rising star in the Bush administration was one of the main attractions for the besuited and kaftan-wearing delegates.
Ms Cheney is officially the deputy assistant secretary of state for the Near East. She was, at first, reluctant to take the job. "She was concerned," says Margaret Tutwiler, the US ambassador to Cairo and an old friend. "How could she be treated normally? Her father is not just the sitting vice-president, but an extremely influential one."
Now she is being taken on her own merits. Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, who is also in Jordan, has been a cheerleader for Ms Cheney's programme that promotes literacy and democratic reform, describing it as a "firm foundation of hope".
In a speech last month, President Bush personally pledged his support. Queen Rania of Jordan is among several high-profile supporters in the Arab world.
Since taking up her post in March last year Ms Cheney has tried to keep a low profile but has been singled out as a lynchpin of the "neocon" Washington establishment by Maureen Dowd, the New York Times columnist.
An "incredibly positive" champion of efforts to topple Saddam Hussein, she was, according to Dowd, part of the pro-war "fifth column" at the State Department. She is said to be a tough and determined ideologue, which she inherits from her father and mother Lynne, who is also a political pundit. Ms Tutwiler says she is "forceful, but in a way that's non-abrasive".
Those who have seen her in action say that she shares the family trait of steeliness. She has learnt the Arabic for "no" and uses it frequently in public to rebuke those who suggest that government intervention is the only route to reform.
She is no rebel - unlike her younger sister, Mary, a lesbian who was pointedly not invited to the presidential inauguration.
She is the eldest daughter and was raised in Wyoming and Washington and is quoted as fondly remembering family holidays spent driving around America in a Toyota estate as her father pursued his passion for civil war re-enactments.
She graduated from the University of Chicago law school, then went from working on small business development for the American overseas aid agency in Budapest to the World Bank's Washington office. She has two children and her husband is also a a career bureaucrat.
Ms Cheney emphasises the role of women to try to neutralise the influence of extremist groups and mullahs who exploit frustration and poverty. She aims to teach women their legal rights and help them run for office.
She has claimed progress in raising women to the political level of equals in Bahrain, Morocco and Qatar but suffered a setback this month in Jordan when women failed to gain more than the six seats reserved by quota in the parliament.
Her critics claim that her initiative is little more than window dressing for a presidency that is intent on reshaping the Middle East through war and brute political force. She has an answer for them. It is: "No".
This is Great but them dang rats will spin and twist, in their Spin cycle.
This article did tell me one thing....that Matgaret Tutwiler (an Ann Archy FAV) was the Ambassador to Egypt.