A few months into the Iraq war, when we found out we couldn't just scare the natives into compliance with cap guns, the media got a good lickin' for helping to sell the war as a cakewalk by acting as a transcription service to the president. Since then, political journalists have redoubled their efforts and honed their skills to instead become a transcription service to any fool who wants to run for president.

A few months into the Iraq war, when we found out we couldn't just scare the natives into compliance with cap guns, the media got a good lickin' for helping to sell the war as a cakewalk by acting as a transcription service to the president. Since then, political journalists have redoubled their efforts and honed their skills to instead become a transcription service to any fool who wants to run for president.

People who need to know within seconds every empty platitude Mitt Romney has uttered in the last three hours are served very well in the current media climate. When Obama orders lunch, they can count on CNN sending two camera crews and an anchor, all ready to kick back to Wolf Blitzer in the studio for some pundit analysis on how ordering egg salad will affect his chances in South Carolina ("remains to be seen, but Edwards' club sandwich is polling well in Michigan").

The quote that stood out to me of late is one in which Hillary Clinton made the oft-repeated comparison of Dick Cheney to Darth Vader.

I am instinctively wary of all such comparisons because they're too easy to make, and the TV people are all too eager to jam a microphone in the face of anyone willing to make them.

Take the Bush-Hitler comparison, a favorite among your less scrupulous lefties. Given, there has accumulated in the past few years a fair amount of evidence to suggest that our president is, by many reasonable measures, a total chump. It could even be said that he is approaching a dangerous level of chumpitude (chumpocity? chumpiness? I've misplaced my dictionary). Now, perhaps I'm missing something, but I just don't see the same level of evidence indicating that he is a genocidal fascist. Though you might be able to pin some of his lackeys as recreational fascists.

So, getting back to the Cheney-is-Vader bit, I'm not inclined to just take Clinton's word on it. I think it's important that we in the news business evaluate the claim as a service to the electorate, or absent that, as a diversion from whatever other crap the candidates are spouting at the given time.

To begin, the arguments in favor:

– Just as Vader's offspring was a hero of the resistance to his power, Cheney opponents love to rally around his lesbian daughter. Though, to be fair, he never cut off his daughter's hand with a lightsaber.

– Cheney has a pacemaker, which by the standards of shoddy political logic is the equivalent of having bionic arms and legs.

– If Cheney could shoot his own friend in the face, he's probably crazy enough to send the Imperial Fleet into an asteroid belt to catch the Millennium Falcon.

As for the arguments against:

– First off, the logical extension of Cheney as Darth Vader is Bush as Emperor Palpatine, which is unfeasible given the above-mentioned chump qualities. Also, if the president could shoot lightning out of his hands, I think we would have seen him do it by now.

– Dick Cheney does not have the ability to choke people with the force. Otherwise, Nancy Pelosi would not be Speaker of the House.

– Not to fixate on personal appearance, but Cheney is just a bit husky to be a convincing Darth Vader, and a couple inches short to boot.

Get him some platform shoes and a girdle and we'll talk.

E-mail Noah Blundo at noah.blundo@timesreporter.com