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.
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
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
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
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