An otherwise smart friend left a message on my machine today to say that he was watching Dick Cheney on Meet the Press, and was "terrified" by the Vice-President. I haven't called him back, but apparently what bothered him was the VP's insistence that we must take Saddam Hussein out of power. I am not gung ho pro-war -- I'd rather exhaust other options first, and quickly -- but it's very difficult to consider myself on the same side of the issue as somebody who can work himself up about a threat he believes our (calm and dispassionate) Vice President poses while conveniently demurring on the danger that may be posed by biological, chemical, and, someday soon, nuclear weapons in the hands of Saddam Hussein. Is this what unthinking liberals around the country have been reduced to? This is why I can't talk politics with 70 percent of the people I know anymore: not because I'm brilliant, but because they're, well, not.