If you can't trust these guys with one gun, how can you trust them with 150,000 soldiers carrying them? If they can't see a guy in an orange vest 30 yards away, is there any question why they can't see the terrorism that's increasing worldwide? Did Cheney expect "to be greeted as a liberator" after shooting Whittington?*
The cheap shots (as opposed to wild shots, I guess) come easily, but the serious questions remain: Why the reporting delay? If they were trying to hush up this incident - why? What don't we know yet? And does it signal the end of Cheney's dark career?
For all the buzz over the Downing Street memos, for all the copious documentation of the Administration's lies (and Cheney's in particular), the irony of this incident may be that a hunting accident does what none of Cheney's other well-publicized deceptions and dirty tricks have done: it may bring the man down.
Timing is everything. The revelations are coming faster now in the Plamegate scandal and, as Jane reports, the Administration may be looking for a way to dump Cheney. That makes sense. They're always looking for a fall guy. If Libby proves to be as unwilling to volunteer as Brownie has been lately, they'll have to look a little higher. Sure, Dick's one of our own, but if he has to take one for the team ...
Why do I say Chappaquiddick? After all, the wingers will shriek, nobody died at the Armstrong Ranch. Of course, that's just dumb luck. If a pellet had gone into Whittington's eye, straight to his brain ... And however much they spin it, the guy's still in intensive care on the third day after being "peppered" and "sprayed." (Note to the press: Christmas turkeys get "peppered" and "sprayed." People get shot. Courtesy of skippy, a plastic surgeon on the Daily Kos tells us what's in store for Cheney's "peppering" victim.)
The reason Chappaquiddick haunts Ted Kennedy thirty-plus years later is because he covered up. He hid out and didn't file a police report, instead of doing the right thing immediately and reporting the accident. People have speculated since then that he was hoping the incident would never come out, or that he could pin the blame on someone else, or that he just needed time to sober up.
Hmmm ... here's a multiple-choice question: which of these explanations might also apply to the Cheney shooting? And let's not leave out "D," all of the above. Sure, Cheney supposedly quit drinking after those multiple drunk driving convictions, but then so did his boss, and questions have been raised with him, too ... And new reports suggest that local law enforcement officials weren't allowed to speak with Cheney after the incident, despite the fact that the incident might have constituted criminal negligence.
People who say I'm indulging in wishful thinking are wrong. Frankly, I don't care much about Cheney - or Bush, for that matter. The real enemy, as I've said before, is the corrupt political system that today's GOP represents. I think Democrats, bloggers, and others who vilify Cheney and Bush just make it easier for the system that created them to stay in power. They distract us from the real problem, which is why I'm already on record as to my prediction for the next President (hint: not a Democrat.)
I may be wrong, of course. They may not be looking to dump Cheney. And this story may blow over in a day or two. If I'm right, however, it won't be because our political system expels wrongdoers as if they were infections. It will be like other publicized scandals- an internal power struggle that's played out in public, using the press as willing messengers to tell someone that their services are no longer wanted.
And this story creates a nice narrative: the guy's getting unsteady, we gotta send an ambulance everywhere he goes, he feels real badly about the incident - and there's always this old chestnut: "He wants to spend more time with his family."
Whatever the truth, Cheney and his staff behaved like people with something to hide. They're still acting that way. Ted Kennedy's accident occurred many years ago, and he's since straightened out his life. Dick Cheney's accident occurred two days ago, and he's acting like the Teddy of old.
The HuffPo's all over this story, from Franken's hilarious riff (with Johnny Cash reference) to Roy Sekoff's equally funny piece (with its Aerosmith-inspired title), as well as Michelle Pilecki's early questioning of the reporting delay.
Time will tell whether this is the shot that takes down Richard (Dick) Cheney - whether we'll soon see him clutching his test like Edward G. Robinson in "Little Caesar" and shouting, "Mother of Mercy, is this the end of Rico?"
* Honor obliges me to give my brother John co-authorship of the "liberator" line ...
The new gunfighter ballad, Dick-O-Lee, is here.