Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cheney Shoots Himself In The Foot While Hunting

I'm sorry Cheney didn't shoot himself in the foot, he blasted his hunting friend in the face with birdshot instead. After sitting back for a few days and watching the media coverage of the Dick Cheney hunting incident I've come to the conclusion that this would not have been quite as big of a story had Cheney come forward and told what happened.

Yesterday his victim Harry Whittington had a mild heart attack due to a pellet that had come in contact with his heart muscle. He has been readmitted to the intensive care unit. The condition of Whittington would have been the continuing story (and rightly should be) if Cheney had been more forthright.

Now, it's not unrealistic to wonder if the Vice President has been covering up something for several reasons.

First was the fact that the owner of the ranch was the one who informed the media but not until the next day and then only to a friend reporter. Why didn't Cheney with his coterie of aides not be the one to do the informing? Not one of his aides could begin the process?

Second, now that the incident is out in the open, why has Cheney STILL not spoken to the media, even after returning to Washington? Remember Cheney has no problem talking to the press and giving speeches when it comes to terrorism.

Third, why is his friend former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson all over the cable talk shows describing the hunting incident as if he was there? Apparently (but not confirmed) Cheney took the time to call Simpson and ask that he be the one to play the spin. The spin being that Whittington was out of position when Cheney took his shot at the birds. So Cheney had time to phone Simpson and describe the shooting, yet not the time to inform the public? Or Cheney had someone else call Simpson, but the spin seemed inportant to Cheney, more than facing the public.

Fourth, Cheney has paid a $7.00 fine for not having a Texas hunting stamp. It seems unlikely that this small mistake is a reason to run from the media, but maybe this was what he was worried about. Maybe all of his other hunting trips that's he's been on since he's been the VP have also entailed failures to obtain a liscense. Maybe he's worried that a connection will be made and it will make him seem unlawful as well as an elite above the law.

Fifth, maybe there were other things going on during this hunting incident. Could drinking have been involved? The police weren't notified until long after any alchohol consumption might have been detected. Or could the other people involved be subject to scrutiny for their association to the VP, such as oil or arms industry?

Sixth, it's been reported that Cheney didn't talk to President Bush until Monday, two days after the shooting. One wonders why he didn't talk to his boss as soon as possible.

Seventh, there is no seventh that I can think of yet, someone else may come up with various other reasons to suspect Cheney of covering up something. If the informing had been forthright, Cheney wouldn't be under the microscope to the extent he is now.

One also may wonder why White House Press Secretary Scott McLellan has been completely closed mouthed about all this. Yesterday even though he had been informed of Whittington's heart attack he refused to reveal this to the press in that days press conference. As to the entire incident he has been telling the reporters that the need to refer to the Vice Presidents office for questions. This is common practice by McLellan on any issue he isn't going to speak about, usually with the result of the pertinent office also declining to answer questions. It's a practice that might be called "the silence-go-round."

As a reminder, this is the third hunting trip that Cheney has gotten unwanted press coverage for. The first was when he went hunting with Supreme Court Judge Antonio Scalia at a time that the court was preparing to hear a case against Cheney for his secret energy meetings that involved forcing the release of the meeting notes and list of attendees via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). It certainly appeared that this hunting trip smelled of something unethical.

The second trip that the media got wind of was a trip in Pennslyvania where Cheney apparently bagged something like 400 doves in a cage release hunt. Not exactly hunting by the standards of most hunters.

Now, he has shot a person hunting and Cheney has to be worrying that Whittington fully recovers. Whittington is in his 70's and at that age complications are more common and could result in his not recovering. At the least, his face will probably have some unsightly scars.

Cheney's lack of an appearance before the public seems so common of him when the focus is on him when he doesn't want it to be. It also is similar to the whole administration, a veil of secrecy when they want it, openness when they have something to spin.

I think it's time for Cheney to stop his hunting until he has left office. All those trips are paid by our tax dollars and I think he has given up the right to frivolously waste those tax dollars by his "accident." And I think we've finally figured out his "undisclosed location," it's in the field and woods.

This story is not over. There are plenty of questions to be answered by Cheney and you can bet when he finally does talk he will control the scene. He will only answer questions he wants, or he won't even answer questions, only reading a statement. The last time I saw a poll about Cheney his approval rating was less than 30%, even some Republicans apparently don't like him. You've got to wonder how many like him now that he won't talk to the American public about him shooting another human. You have to go back to the 18th century to find a vice president shooting another human, Aaron Burr, remember him?


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