Cheney, through Gilliard's eyes
Like lots of folks, I've enjoyed all the jokes about Dick Cheney and his errant shotgun in recent days. But I've avoided taking any (pardon the pun) cheap shots myself.
Today, however, Steve Gilliard posted a comment on his blog that I think reaches through the sensational nature of the incident to really grasp why it is deeply significant and not just momentarily surprising. And the significant thing, according to Steve, is that it exposes Cheney's utter lack of personal responsibility.
Personal responsibility. It used to be the bedrock principle of Unitarianism, the religion of "salvation by character", and it is still a biggie for the Religious Right crowd that form such a reliable component of this Administration's political base.
Here's Steve's post:
I really don't think people have considered the seriousness of this.
First, to me this isn't about politics, but personal responsibility. VP, CEO is does not matter.
I am disgusted by the excuse making here.
I was a Scout, I know how to handle weapons and have. I know the two cardinal rules, one, ALWAYS treat a gun as loaded, two, NEVER point at anything you aren't willing to shoot.
They do take Scouts into the woods, even in New York.
Did I live in a gun culture? Nope. My family comes from hundreds of years of fishermen.
So we fish.
The thing which bothers me about this is Cheney's complete abdication of public responsibility. It isn't enough to see if the victim, and that's the word we should use here, but he owes the American people an explaination for his conduct. Leaving Scotty to explain what happened isn't enough, nor is sending out Mary Matalin.
They didn't shoot anyone, Dick Cheney did.
Let's think about this: the VP shot a man.
Yes, it was a hunting accident, they do happen. But that isn't the issue.
It is Cheney's conduct and that of the White House.
Whether through negligence or inattention, the Vice President harmed someone else , and let the information be leaked to the smallest newspaper he could find. This happened on our dime, yet Cheney acts as if he shot a loyal retainer hunting. There is no sense of a wider public obligation to explain himself or his actions.
Again, yesterday, they hid the fact that Whittington had a heart attack.
If it was truly an accident, clearly, a public statement would be appropriate, not acting like it's none of anyone's fucking business.
A 78 year old man was shot by the Vice President.
That was simply amazing on it's own. But it is his conduct which followed which is reprehensible. Why does he let a private citizen announce something of national interest. So if a member of the Bush family has an accident, are we supposed to wait until it appears in a local newspaper.
Doesn't he owe the family a public apology?
Doesn't he owe the public an accounting of his actions?
Doesn't Cheney work for the American people?
At what point does Dick Cheney step up, admit error and explain himself?
When I was a Scout, about 14, the Scoutmaster I was with at camp, told me something: real men admit when they are wrong.
That advice has served me well over the years.
Cheney's victim is 78 and there is birdshot in his body, and no one knows if he will fully recover or not.
His silence, on a matter of personal responsiblity and honor, is simply repellent.
And here's a response to Steve posted by blogger "jimBOB", which I think is just as insightful:
Cheney embodies the arrogance of oligarchical power (the modern equivalent of royal power). There's not even the slightest concept of his position being one of public service. He does not serve the citizenry, or the constitution, or the law. He serves himself and his peers in the economic oligarchy. His remark to Leahy some time back gives his opinion of everyone else.
I once saw an interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, after the fall of the Soviet Union. Brzezinski said he had never considered the communist party to be a legitimate political entity; instead, it was simply a very large criminal conspiracy.
This is pretty much my opinion of the GOP these days. Like the old-style communists, they combine rigid loyalty requirements with complete dishonesty and ruthlessness. And during their time of maximum power, they look impregnable.
If you have a Windows computer, you can download Google Earth (a very cool app, BTW) and type in the address "Observatory Circle, Washington, DC". What will come up is a very detailed aerial photo of Northwest Washington (you can see individual cars on the streets), but with the premises of the Vice President's mansion digitally obscured. If you type in "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue", however, you can almost make out the sniper stations on the White House roof.
Kinda gives you a clue about who they put out front for show versus who they really want to protect, doesn't it?