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Mathew Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., ( a television company which executive produces programs and consults with industry companies on a variety of issues. Intermat, Inc. is currently involved in approximately thirty hours of television in various stages for a variety of networks. He is one of the Executive Producers of OFF TO WAR, a ten hour series for Discovery Times and for a one hour on international adoptions for Discovery Health. He has consulted a variety of companies, including Ted Turner Documentaries, WETA, Betelgeuse Productions, and Creation Films, Lou Reda Productions as well as many others.

February 17, 2006

All Cheney, All The Time - But Why?

Often I ponder about what to write but this past week there came a moment when there simply was no choice but to write about the misadventures of our embattled Vice President, Mr. Richard Cheney.

Over the last weekend, while the east was pummeled by snow and cold, I, in a moment of unconscious competence, was lounging by the pool of friends in Rancho Mirage. While we were prepping for a Sunday poolside brunch someone came out to announce that Mr. Cheney had shot someone.

Certainly it got our attention.

This hasn't happened since Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Burr was Vice President and the duel pretty much killed his career as well as Mr. Hamilton [who's grave I frequently walk by in lower Manhattan, occasionally tipping my hat to one of the most brilliant men of that brilliant period].

Mr. Cheney did not [unless we are not being told] challenge Mr. Whittington to a duel. He simply fired at a quail at the wrong moment and Mr. Whittington was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Accidents such as this do happen. Growing up in Minnesota, every hunting season was marked by unfortunate accidents.

Given that, it didn't seem like much. I was willing to let it go. I actually felt sorry for him this round, suspecting that even the robot like Mr. Cheney must feel regret at having peppered a friend and political supporter with buckshot, the latter perhaps being more important than the former.

It is, I think, a testament to the scrutiny that people have wanted to give to Mr. Cheney that we now have the ALL CHENEY, ALL THE TIME world. Unable to really pin the Veep down on much of anything these past years, the man has provided the world with a perfect opportunity to do nothing BUT focus on him.

Years ago, Mr. Cheney was once asked why he kept such a low profile and he replied: in this town [Washington] if you stick your head up, you get it shot off.

Well, since shooting his hunting friend there hasn't been a place for Dick to hide; his head went up and it's getting shot at. I rather suspect the noise is more about all the other questions Mr. Cheney's actions have raised in the past than the questions raised by his flawed actions since he unfortunately shot Whittington.

In the silence that followed the accident, it has given reporters a prime opportunity to dissect the silence and secrecy that seems to have surrounded many of the actions of both the Vice President and the administration in which he serves. When he finally spoke, it was only on the Bush friendly Fox Network

When six days later and the first words I heard after waking were: 'Vice President Cheney' I knew the storm had become a firestorm. There is a certain charm in knowing the President is annoyed with Cheney - if only it had happened sooner.

One of most blue blooded Republicans I know, who has long since broken with this administration over Iraq and the deficit, forwarded to me an e-mail chronicling the fun late night hosts have been having with Cheney. He felt it was about time Mr. Cheney provided us with some laughs.

The problem I have is that while I appreciate all the chuckles Mr. Cheney has given us with this incident, I am not particularly amused it happened at the expense of a man who is lying in a hospital, peppered with buckshot and having suffered a heart attack because a pellet was too close to his heart.

And it is sad to me that only because of a badly handled hunting accident have reporters and the general public started asking the kind of hard questions we should have been asking seriously for the last six years - or is it that we are taking the questions seriously only because we have been able to laugh at the man first?

Has Cheney finally fallen to earth in the dirt fields of Texas?