Sunday Night: Thinking About Cheney

In one sense, the story of Vice President Cheney accidentally shooting his hunting partner is a minor blip on the scene. Hunting accidents happen often enough. The wonder is that they happen so infrequently, in fact, and that is due to most hunters being careful and smart in the field. And I don’t mean that as a back-handed slap at Cheney – I don’t mean to say that he wasn’t careful and smart. But what happened after the shooting is too representative of the way the Bush Administration has handled many things over the past 5 years. They simply feel that no one outside their inner circle has the right to question their motives or intentions, or to know what they’re doing. Only when it appears that a political price will be paid do they make some attempt at explanation, and then generally through a friendly venue which won’t expose them to difficult questions, like Cheney finally did with Fox News. They conduct themselves much more like a monarchy than as the elected representatives of a democratic people. And almost inevitably, the story they provide is neither complete nor overburdened with truth. They specialize in sins of omission. But the Cheney shooting incident exposes another question mark about the Bush administration. Does anyone besides Dick Cheney control Dick Cheney? Almost since the beginning, some have suspected that Cheney, one of the “grown-ups” who were supposed to shephed the inexperienced Bush through the stiffer challenges, was running his own show. Too often, Bush and his people seem to be reacting to what Cheney says and does, rather than steering those words and actions. In this case, Bush did not learn of the shooting for several hours, and then not from Cheney or his people but from the Secret Service. Secrecy is a hallmark, maybe the hallmark, of this administration, and you have to wonder if that secrecy extends within the administration.

Michael Stickings, writing at The Moderate Voice, has a more extreme suspicion about Cheney. He asks if Cheney is a tyrant. A commenter says “Michael, step back, take a deep breath. When you think “tyrant”, think Stalin, Castro, Mao- someone who operates without restriction and with total impunity. From a tyrant’s perspective, life, liberty and property mean nothing. Cheney’s stoic, mulish and obstinate. But he’ll voluntary leave office in 2008 without the necessity of military action. So, from a historical perspective, he lacks the requisite tyranic gravitas“. I lean a bit towards the commenter’s side, but Cheney is a little scary. He claims to have an executive order allowing him to declassify what he wants to, when he wants to. He claims executive privilege the way Al Sharpton claims racism. It isn’t ludicrous to wonder, in a confrontation between Bush and Cheney, who would blink first.

February 19, 2006 В· Harry В· Comments Closed
Posted in: Politics