Why is the fact that Dick Cheney shot a man in the face important? What is it about that act that makes it the perfect touchstone for the problems of the Bush Administration?
Is it because our boy Dick shot a man in the face? Is that all it is? Simple schadenfreude? Well, yes and no. It's nice when someone so blatantly unlikable, so wildly unconcerned about his fellow men, has a bad day. That's a simple fact about the human psyche - if you don't like someone, you don't want him to succeed. But that's not the most important factor here.
And, incidentally, nobody really wants Whittington to die. But consider the ramifications for old Dead-Eye Dick if one of those pellets that he pumped into that 78-year-old lawyer causes an embolism, or migrates into his heart. Dick has already openly and publicly done something unique in the Bush White House: he accepted blame for his actions. So what happens if it turns out that Dick committed "negligent homicide"? Does he go to jail like an ordinary citizen?
Probably not. But now we've touched on part of the problem. Cheney refused to go to the hospital, and was able to avoid law enforcement officials for an entire day. So is it any wonder that people ask if alcohol was involved in the shooting? He violated the most basic rule of firearms and a man went to the hospital because of it. At the very least, anyone else would have been forced to take a Breathalyzer test. But if you think that our vice president is going to be humiliated like that, then you don't know Dick.
There is no accountability in any of this Administration's dealings with the public. How can you tell when the White House is lying? When they make an official statement on any subject. They took us to war against Iraq based on lies.
They keep bringing up the specter of terrorism to keep the American people fearful, but a look around will show that they aren't really doing more than spying on Americans and slapping a new coat of paint on the old, ineffective programs. They haven't guarded any of the various chemical plants around the country, and the ports are not only unprotected but one of the country's largest was recently sold to the United Arab Emirates.
They claim to support the troops, but, not only does Bush not bother to send in enough troops or give them adequate equipment, but he is trying to give them the lowest pay raise in decades - a pay raise that not only lags significantly behind inflation, but is also the lowest raise offered to people putting their lives on the line since 1988. (It's equal to the pay raise given the troops in 1994 - when none of them were being actively attacked - but you have to go back to Reagan and George Bush v. 1.0 to go any lower. For obvious reasons, the Military Officer's Association tracks that kind of thing, and they show how badly the military lags behind the civilian populace in pay parity.)
And the actions of the Bush Administration aren't just angering progressives and liberals. George Will is an old-school conservative (something becoming rare in the Republican Party these days), and he has started pointing out the flaws in everything from taking us to war based on a lie, and then illegally spying on American citizens.
And in the latest news, despite official statements that American troops will be withdrawn from Iraq as soon as the Iraqi military can fend for themselves, it's becoming apparent that the US military has no intention of departing Iraq any time soon, since we're sinking billions of dollars into Iraqi superbases.
Which brings us back to why Dick Cheney's hunting accident is such a big deal. Because it shows just how the White House deals with the public. And it's something that the average man can understand. God bless Dick Cheney and his itchy trigger finger.
And by the way, if American officials are going to buy a hunting shotgun, wouldn't it be nice if they bought American? TheSmokingGun.com has gotten their hands on the report filed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, which shows that Cheney was using an Italian-made Perazzi shotgun. (Hmm... where have I heard about that brand of shotgun before?)