Back on our organic commune in western Massachusetts we often laughed about a fabled farmer who owned a manure spreader.  This fabulous device flung cow, horse and chicken droppings high and far onto corn and hay fields. 

We had one.  It worked great.

Allegedly this mythical farmer once used his to render the home of a corrupt Selectman terminally fragrant.  It was a great story. 

So amidst our endless disputes with local officials and polluters, we fantasized about arming our own crap flinger for a few choice passes at town hall or the local utility office. 

But there was nothing explicit in the law books about airborne poop, and we weren't sure Gandhi would have approved.  So despite the great laughs, we never actually did it.

No such qualms plague Dick Cheney or Karl Rove, disciples of the ultimate filthy trickster, Dick Nixon.

Cheney-Rove have already escalated their infamous crap flings.  As election day speeds toward us, expect their runs to include such offal as John Kerry's divorce files, more fabricated swift boat libels, and whatever else still lurks at the bottom of the GOP cesspool.  And expect the mainstream media to feed on it all with craven delight.

The latest airborne offal has been about Mary Cheney.  After John Kerry demolished George W. Bush for the third time in three debates, Dick and Lynne Cheney howled their "outrage" over Kerry's brief mention of their daughter's lesbianism.

Their crocodile tears have all the credibility of an airborn cow pie.  Mary Cheney made her sexual orientation public long ago.  But her parents either haven't adjusted or are all too happy to use their daughter as a political buffalo chip.

The Cheneys' carefully calculated moanings ate up two days of media bloviation that might otherwise have focussed on the pitiful peformance of a hopelessly outclassed incumbant.  The dour, frumpy Cheney himself appeared equally obsolete in his debate with John Edwards, where Mary Cheney's sexual orientation was a subject for civilized discussion. 

But no matter.  Cheney-Rove need a crap screen to distract from their president's mean-spirited incompetence.  If it hadn't been Mary Cheney, it would have been something else.

In the final lead-up to election day, one certainty is that Cheney-Rove will ride their swift boat manure flinger all through the national media, hurling vile toxins at John Kerry, John Edwards and anyone else that dares oppose them.

Rain or shine, as we head to the polls, carry a thick umbrella.  And hold your nose. 

But keep your eyes wide open.  It'll be hard not to step in the deepening piles of whatever Cheney-Rove continue to fling all over the national mindscape. 

HARVEY WASSERMAN'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES is available at  He is senior editor of, and co-author, with Bob Fitrakis, of IMPRISON GEORGE BUSH.