The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, February 16, 2006

A look at Cheney's appearance on Fox

The New Republic has gone from reliable source of information to political Sybil in the last few years, replacing their willingness to present informed conservative arguments with talking-head hackiness. I still read it, but sometimes I wonder why at this point. There's a bumper crop of ad hominem attacks and ex cathedra arguments that just didn't used to be there. Page two...

This article is a strange hybrid of Bush apologia and sensible commentary. While it points out the inanity of Brit Hume's questions (e.g., 'Did you hit the bird?'), it also makes some interesting points about the shortcomings of Cheney's statements.

When the questions concerned the accident itself, Cheney seemed to be quite forthright and meticulous: "The other hunter and I then turned and walked about a hundred yards in another direction ... I was on the far right ... this entourage behind us, all the cars and so forth that follow me around when I'm out there. But the bird flushed and went to my right, off to the west. I turned and shot at the bird, and at that second, saw Harry standing there." And Cheney even seemed to take responsibility for the problem: "Well, ultimately, I'm the man who pulled the trigger that fired the round that hit Harry." (I fired the round, which hit the man, who saved the quail, who'd managed to fly. I don't know why it happened to fly. That's my reply.) Still, he didn't take too much responsibility: "[Y]ou can talk about all of the other conditions that existed at the time, but ... it was not Harry's fault." Translation: You can talk about the talking points my henchmen have been putting forward--"[T]he other gentleman made a serious error by not indicating that he was there" (ex-senator and Cheney buddy Alan Simpson, exhumed for the occasion); or "[Cheney] didn't do anything he wasn't supposed to do" (Cheney advisor Mary Matalin, presumably endorsing the shooting); or "[Whittington] didn't signal them or indicate to them or announce himself" (ranch owner Katharine Armstrong, fresh from a talk with Karl Rove)--but far be it from me to blame Harry in any way.

It just serves to show how this administration deals with everything they screw up. Try to hide it. When that fails, find a scapegoat. When that isn't enough, set up a softball interview. And above all, count on the press to move on to the next issue and drop the issue down the memory hole. And as I mentioned in an earlier post, although this isn't the most important story on the radar by a long shot, if it causes the mainstream press to pay attention to the nefarious bungling of the administration, I'm all for it.

UPDATE: One of the most idiotic and phony statements by Cheney was that, when asked why he didn't accompany his dear friend in the ambulance as it headed to the hospital, he said it was too crowded and he would've been in the way. Pretty thoughtful, right? Maybe coming from Joe Sixpack. But consider the fact that Cheney doesn't go anywhere without a massive entourage of secret service members, medical specialists, and other followers. And he's a multi-millionaire who was visiting a ranch owned by a multi-millionare. No additional vehicles available on your drive-thru safari? I doubt it.

UPDATE: Ed Schultz makes an excellent point on his show today. It's as simple as this:

A) The currently fashionable attack on Democrats is that we have a "pre-9/11 mindset." Ill-prepared, out of touch, anti-American, etc.

B) The White House's primary rationale for the 14-hour delay in Cheney's reporting of the shooting accident was that he didn't have "press or staff" with him

I won't bother to point out the sheer stupidity of this argument.