Okay, I just can't take it anymore
I was going to stay away from this issue entirely—I really was. But I feel the need to weigh in at this point.
The vice president is the second most important elected figure in the United States, per the Constitution, and any mishap with his involvement should be made public.First off, that the Veep is the second most important elected figure in the U.S. is up for debate, but we'll set that aside.
Let's focus instead on the phrase "any mishap with his involvement should be made public." On the face, this is one of the most absurd things I've ever heard. What if he has trouble performing with his wife some night—do we need to know about it? What if he'd tripped while hunting, and bruised his knee—do we need to know about it? How about if he cuts himself while shaving? What if it's a really bad cut that bleeds for, like, 3 minutes?
We do not need to know about every mishap in which the Vice President is involved.
Now, that is not to say that we should not have been informed about this one. And guess what? We WERE informed about this one. This was not leaked—it was voluntarily given to the press by the owner of the ranch. There was, from what I can tell, no effort to conceal it from the press or the public—it just wasn't the primary concern of those involved, nor should it have been.
Let's give this a little context.
I heard on the radio last night that, when the man was shot, he was immediately tended to by Cheney's surrounding Secret Service detail. 35 minutes later, an ambulance arrived to take him to a nearby hospital.
Now let's pause there for a second. Both the President and Vice President have ambulances with them wherever they travel. How on earth could it take 35 minutes for the thing to get to him?
Well, basically, they were pretty much out in the middle of nowhere. They were a little preoccupied with getting this guy taken care of, rather than damage control.
Here you can read a similar take on the issue. And here's a piece addressing the question of blame for the incident.
Finally, in closing, I'd like to share with you an email I received this morning. It is a concept for a new bumper sticker that I wouldn't particularly be surprised to see pop up here and there:
I'd still rather hunt with Dick Cheney than ride with Ted KennedyPersonally, I'd rather hunt Ted Kennedy—but that's just me.
UPDATE [2/15/2006 - 11:09]: John McIntyre gets it precisely right:
Unless something comes out the contrary, I'm going to assume that this event is what everyone involved says it is... an accident. And I suspect that Dick Cheney's concern was not and is not the press or the PR spin, but rather the health of his friend. Furthermore, I suspect with his friend still in intensive care the suggestion that Cheney should do PR damage control is a non-starter, as it should be. The Republic will survive the Washington press corps' being notified 14 hours late.And I'd still rather hunt Teddy...
UPDATE [2/15/2005 - 11:51]: RCP has lots more key pieces, most notably from Tony Blankley:
When an out-of-town newspaper got the scoop, the dignity of the White House press corp had been impeached, so they threw a public temper tantrum. As that has worked for many of them since their early childhood, they obviously expect it to work while on the job -- to use the term loosely.and Michelle Malkin:
Funny thing is, I can't recall the mainstream media melting down over the 30-hour delay -- presided over by Hillary Clinton, according to internal records -- in releasing the late White House counsel Vincent Foster's suicide note to authorities and her own husband. Can you?Maybe we shouldn't hunt Teddy, and instead target the White House press corps?
News anchors who couldn't find the Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights if you put it under klieg lights pontificated about 28-gauge shotguns and hunting etiquette. CNN personality Kyra Phillips, in a rare moment of cable news humility, giggled self-consciously as she asked a correspondent to explain the difference between birdshot and bullets. 'I think I might sound stupid,' I heard her say.
Yes, but at least she didn't look stupid.