Strong opinions, weakly held

Dick Cheney shot a guy in the face

I’ve been disappointed in what a lot of my favorite weblogs have had to say about the Dick Cheney incident of late. Take Think Progress for example, or firedoglake. I’ve been reading their posts on this “scandal” as they’ve been posted, and mostly they make me feel tired. I can’t help but wonder what they’re trying to uncover. Did the Vice President accidentally shoot a guy while hunting, after having a beer, and perhaps even more than one beer? Sure. Have some people lied about whether any drinking was taking place? It seems like it. So what?

I guess I don’t get the greater meaning that people are trying to draw from this. If you imagine every aspect of this scenario with a guest at the Armstrong Ranch who wasn’t the Vice President of the United States, I’m sure the details would be the same except for the media coverage. Nobody likes Dick Cheney less than me, and I still can’t see what people are getting at.

Some of the coverage I’m seeing reminds me of nothing more than right wing coverage of events when Bill Clinton was being impeached during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. We learned that the President’s mistress and his longtime assistant actually dissembled on his behalf, as though this shocking revelation blew the cover off of everything wrong he had ever done. People speculated on whether Bill Clinton wore a certain tie in order to send a message to Monica Lewinsky. They obsessed over small gifts he had purchased for her while on vacation. And none of it meant anything. They contributed nothing to the essential story, which was that the President had an affair and lied about it.

Dick Cheney went hunting and accidentally shot a guy in the face. That’s the story. All of this other crap people are talking about is just a waste of time and energy.

The best coverage of this thing I’ve read has come from people who actually hunt, like Mike Leggett in the Austin American-Statesman and Stephen Hunter in the Washington Post.

Update: Jay Rosen’s essay is a must-read as well.


  1. Dick Cheney went hunting and accidentally shot a guy in the face.

    And then he lied about it.

    That’s the part that interests me. With Clinton and Lewinsky, the right would say “It’s not the sex, it’s the lying.” In Cheney’s case, “It’s not the shooting the guy in the face, it’s the lying.” Oh, and the chance that in this “scandal” there’s a chance someone might actual die because of the actions of someone in the administration.

  2. The thing I wonder about, with them out in the woods with guns, wouldn’t there be a lot of highly trained Secret Service guys around watching to make sure nobody got hurt accidentally or otherwise? Sure, they’d be primarily focused on the VP’s safety, but it seems odd that nobody would have said, “uh, sir…”

  3. Aside from the whole foreign policy metaphorical resonances (shooting before looking indeed!), the thing that seems to have gotten most people going is that there’s something about the story that just doesn’t quite add up. Just like when Clinton got in trouble over the Lewinsky mess, they’re acting guilty — and acting like you’ve got something to hide makes people want to dig.

  4. Rosen’s piece is important and is probably underlying (sometimes subconsciously) why many are focused on this story. It truly does have the metaphorical resonances that genehack mentioned: people die (or nearly die) by poorly explained acts of this Administration and the Administration refuses to come clean with the press about it – in fact, they deny that the fourth estate has any legitimacy at all.

    Oh, and Myles: tens of thousands of Iraqis and a few thousand American soldiers have died because of the actions of this administration. Not to mention the fallout from things like deregulation of mine safety in West Virginia and various other domestic policy health, environment, and regulatory choices that result in negative consequences for life and limb. This is just the first time where we know they actively pulled the literal trigger.

  5. Medley: I don’t disagree with you — I was just trying to constrict my comments to the specific case at hand. And compare to the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal as Rafe had done.

  6. sari Kadison-Shapiro

    February 18, 2006 at 10:07 pm

    Here’s the deal: Cheney is a drunk and he went “hunting” with his mistress…Ann-what’s her last name-awarded with “ambassador to Switzerland (and Lichtenstein).

    Funny, I’m googlin’ it but I can’t find her name now. She was probably closest…but we haven’t heard from her, now have we? (her pic is up at dependablerenegade.blogspot.com) Well, MY husband would not be out hunting with another woman.

    (and if you don’t doubt that Cheney is a drunk, he has two DWI convictions and he was kicked out of college for drinking. How much does one have to drink to be kicked out of college for it??)

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