Report shows Cheney has been linked to leaks . . .
Yes, it's a cheap shot, but I can't resist. It was the first joke I thought of, and so far no one else has come up with anything similar on the talk shows. For those who haven't heard (and where the hell have you been? You've been missing quite a frenzy), Dick Cheney accidentally shot a 78-year-old friend of his in the face and chest while quail hunting.
What kills me most about this whole situation is that it really is comeuppance for this administration. A lot of folks on the crazy-extreme left are trying to make this whole thing a metaphor for the sins of the Bush White House. Admittedly, at least one of the conspiracy theories---that they waited for 18 hours to get the word out because Cheney was drunk---seems quite a plausible explanation for their actions. But most of the claims are really a stretch, and try to turn a simple accident into something nefarious and frightening.
But honestly, you don't even need to squeeze that hard to see the poetry. The fact is, Cheney made an embarrassing blunder, and it would have blown over in seconds if he'd simply admitted an error immediately. But this White House's response to everything is the same every time: a.) They say "trust us--we know what we're doing." b.) Then when something goes wrong, they try to cover it up or hope it goes away. c.) They resist being investigated by people (like, say, the local police) who need to do their job. d.) Then they provide a lame cover story that has tons of holes in it. (Current holes include: if the man was "lightly peppered," why was he in ICU for two days?; if he's in good health, why are they leaving bits of shot in his body instead of operating? ; and how the hell do you get 200 pieces of shrapnel in a guy if he's 30 yards away?)
Even with the press playing softball (they're all taking the report at face value, they're calling the shotgun a "pellet gun," and at Slate they even seem to be buying the idea that the whole thing was Whittington's fault, which would surprise anyone who's taken a gun safety course), this is bound to make the administration look callous, vicious, and arrogantly above the law. And above all, obviously and hilariously inept. You can't say they haven't had it coming.
This administration is supposed to be great at managing the media, but they're not; they're great at creating a cult of personality, which is not quite the same thing. This means that they've been able to get most of their early policies enacted by saying, "Never mind the naysayers---trust us! There's an emergency (in Iran, in taxes, in Social Security) and our plan will fix it!" And huge phalanxes of discipline-beaten yesmen line up to swear that black is just a kind of white in our post-9/11 world. It's when they have to deal with the consequences of their terrible misgovernment---not just Iraq, but Katrina, Medicare D, Social Security, and really every major thing this administration has attempted---that they get embarrassed and hope that if they repeat their talking points loud enough, no one will notice the misshapen orc behind the curtain.
Because no one can actually prove Iraq is entirely bad, Katrina was the first time this administration actually got caught with their pants down, claiming everything was all right when things were visibly wrong, and claiming that Bush was on the job when there was footage of him still on vacation and clowning with a country singer. With any luck, this will be another version of the same thing. I look forward to the next press gaggle with Scott McClellan. Lately they've actually started calling him on his bullshit. I never thought I'd see the day.
And I reiterate: this whole thing would be nothing if Cheney had a conscience or a sense of responsibility and simply did the right thing: called the police immediately, answered police questions like every citizen should, and then gave a statement to the media where he admitted to having made an error and said he was worried about his friend. But Cheney isn't warm or human or decent, and now even an idiot can see it.