Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Cheney, guns, outrage, conspiracy and laughter

I can’t help myself. I must post about the Cheney shooting... Look we all know Cheney f*cked up, that the shooting was his fault, and that it was an accident that may or may not have been fueled by alcohol. So far, it’s your garden variety hunting accident. But what makes this incident noteworthy (besides the celebrity status of the shooter) was the reaction of the Cheney camp to the accident. The news was suppressed 24 hours, secret service agents blocked local sheriffs from visiting the scene, and Cheney was weirdly silent for too long. John Dickerson’s take on the incident over at Slate pretty much sums it up for me:
Cheney's silence has forced White House aides to answer for the 21-hour delay without being able to give the real story (there is still no official account of what happened). The Cheney delay has also exacerbated questions about the Bush administration's candor and truthfulness. Those topics were already in the news enough. Last week, the former CIA official who coordinated U.S. intelligence on the Middle East until last year charged White House officials with "cherry-picking" intelligence on Iraq to justify a decision it had already reached to go to war. This week, Republicans in Congress will issue a report that says the Bush administration delayed the evacuation of thousands of New Orleans residents by failing to act quickly on early reports that the levees had broken during Hurricane Katrina, a charge that contradicts the president's assertion about when they knew the levees would fail....
Or, as written on Carpet Bagger:
But the way the White House has handled this has been so inept, and the Bush gang's attempt to conceal the incident has been so clumsy, that I'm left to assume that there must be more to it than just a random hunting accident. Honestly, the way events have unfolded over the last 48 hours, you'd almost think White House officials wanted to make this a big deal by acting as if they have something to hide.
And remember, initially the news reports dutifully reported the Cheney narrative, blaming the victim for the shooting, downplaying his medical condition, and leaving questions unanswered. Thanks to the blogosphere, those questions were forced on the media. And the humor! Man! It was a field day for satire. Digby’s satirical post was the best; he inflated the shooting into a tinfoil-hat-parallel-Vince-Foster scandal...which some overly-serious anti-progressive took seriously...even some local bloggers are getting their panties in a knot over the liberal blogosphere’s reaction. But the post of the day goes to a comment at Catch from Trox:
Okay, so Cheney has been portrayed in the media as the Most Evil Man in the Galaxy. The Emperor behind Darth Bush. Soulless. Heartless. Mean. A guy who drowns puppies to relax. Now, after the hunting accident, he's somehow achieved "lovable loser" goofball status. Everyone's joking about him like he's, say, The Runaway Bride, or Hugh Grant after the Divine Brown incident. Editorial cartoons are drawing him as Elmer Fudd. Only Dick Cheney could improve his public image by shooting a guy in the face.

Given that the victim has since had a near heart attack, you gotta wonder (ok, I gotta wonder) if maybe the delay was to make sure the old codger didn't die --- after all, shooting someone is one thing, killing them quite another...
Stories in both the <
New York Times
> and <
Washington Post
> are speculating on the political consequencesof Cheney's famous face shot.

Basically, the idea is that the incident demonstrates the insulation of Cheney's staff from the President's. For example, McClellan wore an orange tie and cracked about not getting shot by Cheney--two hours after the guy had a heart attack. Not the sort of thing good communication would allow to happen.

Bush seems like the kind of guy who would like to appoint his successor. Cheney's staff has seen a lot of turnover in recent months, and not just because independent prosecutors are hauling them into court. Cheney's not running for President. Bush has a kill-my-father tendency evident in his love of secrecy (Daddy was the CIA chief when he was a teenager.). So here's some wild speculation since that's what blogging is all about.

What if Cheney resigned before this term was up? The face shot is not going to be the impetus but could be considered an element of a constellation. I don't think the pieces are all there yet. But even the Wall Street Journal said the following:

"White House distress grew as Cheney's hunting mate suffered a "silent heart attack" brought on by a birdshot pellet in his chest. Whether the incident causes lasting political damage may depend on how Cheney responds."

"Lasting political damage" in the lead paragraph? No one is calling for Cheney's resignation and this is the least criminal thing the guy has had a hand in. But it could be expedient for the President, should he decide appointing a successor is his desire.
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