Our team did not set out to make any profound political statement at the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, but we quickly found that Cheney ‘08 jerseys were an excellent Rorschach test for this election season.
Our team name was inspired, in part, by the political presence at last year’s RAGBRAI, when riders were still gearing up for the Iowa Caucuses. Every candidate made his or her presence felt in 2007, so this year we decided to campaign for an unlikely contender for the presidency: the current Vice President. Though the presumptive nominees from both parties had already been established, we still encountered dumbfounded riders who merely replied, “I didn’t know Cheney was even running.”
Many riders wanted us to explain the inspiration and motivation for our jerseys in a simple and categorical manner. Either we didn’t like Dick Cheney and were therefore making fun of him, or we did like him and honestly wanted him to be the next President of the United States of America. Surprised by how undiscerning many of the riders were, and put-off by the often aggressive questioning with which we were assailed (always from angry liberals, not angry conservatives), we generally refused to give a straight answer to questions.
After all, we thought the jerseys should speak for themselves.
Colored in bright pink and olive drab, our jerseys read “Cheney ‘08” front and back. The sides read “Vote Dick,” and had a picture of Cheney’s head on a cartoon body. The shoulders proclaimed “Small Dicks” and “Big Victory.” And on the back of the jerseys, Cheney was celebrated as a “Freedom-shitting Death Eagle.”
We rode down the Iowa highways declaring that “water-