When I first heard that Dick Cheney shot a hunting buddy, and that it took over twelve hours before he was willing to talk to the authorities about the incident, I immediately thought, “he must have been drunk…” This is two-DUI-Cheney we’re talking about. Although Bush claims that he, himself doesn’t drink any more (and made a big deal about it during his initial campaign for President), Cheney’s use of alcohol, or lack of it, has not been publicized. Keeping in mind his record of DUIs, one would have to assume that if Cheney didn’t come straight out and say he’s sober now, he must still be drinking. If you, like myself, grew up in an area of the country where hunting is a big deal, you already know what goes together with orange gear, red-and-black cross-patched clothing, pickup trucks, and shotguns. Can we all say “Beer?” Hunting and Beer… Two great American pastimes that go so well together.
I submit the following for your judgment of the issue. First, you can read the police report here (it’s a PDF file). The police were basically told to go away for twelve hours, and were also told specifically that “no alcohol” was involved. However, Cheney himself noted that he had downed one beer, at lunch. Now think about this… If you’re going in front of a judge, and he asks you, “were you drinking when you had the hunting accident,” and assume you have been drinking, which are you more likely to tell the judge:
- Yes, your honor, I had one or two beers
- Yes, your honor, I was pretty wasted
- No, your honor. No one was drinking
If you watch any of the daytime court shows, you know that the first answer is the one usually given to the judge. Why? Because people think “no drinking” makes it look like you’re lying. Of course you were drinking when you were hunting. Anyone who says they weren’t has to be lying, right? If you say you were wasted, you’re admitting responsibility. So the “correct” thing to do is say you only had one or two beers. That makes it look like, ok, you had one, so you’re not just outright lying, but no way was I drunk enough to shoot someone, right? So Dick Cheney says he had one beer. The police were told that no alcohol was involved. The police were told to go away, and that Dick Cheney would be available for questioning at 8:00am the following morning. I ask you, does this pass the “smell test?” The White House is trying to make it look like a “minor PR goof,” and claimed that McClellan wanted the report released earlier than the twenty hours it took to inform the press of the incident. So you can keep that in mind, that it might have all been just another horrible PR goof. I think we’re up to almost 300-350 horrible PR goofs now for this administration. With the tight control that Rove keeps on this administration, it’s amazing how many goofs, eh? You either believe they’re goofs, or these people are just criminals who don’t feel they have to answer for anything.
Tying in with all this, and asking a few other good questions about the incident, Al Franken was on Scarborough Country the other day, and they had an enlightening chat. Franken prefaced this exchange by noting that he was friends with a doctor who was also a coroner in some small town. The doctor had told him that when it comes to hunting accidents, “before 11am, it’s either stupidity or geriatrics… After 11am, it’s “drunk.” But you be the judge… Read on…
SCARBOROUGH: There are a lot of people I can guarantee you right now who are very angry, saying ‘how could you all even talk about or allow anyone to come on your show and suggest that the vice president may have been drinking when he fired the shot,’ and to those people I say had the vice president stepped forward immediately, had people been able to come in and investigate it right up front, we wouldn’t be having this discussion because we would know. When you’re the Vice President of the United States — whether you’re a conservative or liberal, republican or democrat — it really doesn’t matter whether Tucker Carlson says… Tucker says this, god bless him… ‘If you’re the vice president and you shoot someone on your property, that’s your own business.’ I respectfully disagree. If they had done it right up front, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion now.
FRANKEN: You have to ask yourself the following questions: why didn’t he go to the hospital? If he went back to the ranch and had dinner, now if you’re so worried — he said he didn’t get the story out because he wasn’t sure how serious this was — if you’re so concerned about how serious this is, you go to the hospital. When he was asked by Brit Hume in this very softball interview, ‘did you go in the ambulance,’ he went ‘well, no, it was very crowded and they didn’t need another body…’ There’s plenty of vans that he could’ve gone to the hospital in.
SCARBOROUGH: You’re making a good point, that had I, had you shot someone, we certainly would’ve rushed to the hospital even if we were the Vice President of the United States.
FRANKEN: Yes, you’re not eating dinner at the ranch. You maybe get something from the vending machine in the hospital. It’s inconceivable that you don’t go to the hospital unless there’s a reason you don’t go to the hospital. Now, if you had been drinking, you wouldn’t go to the hospital. Or, you’re amazing jerk, or both. I shoot someone accidentally, and I’m certain this is an accident, you go to the hospital and you sit there out of respect to the guy you shot… And especially your friend. You have your secret service detachment with you, you go to the hospital… They take you.
SCARBOROUGH: When you’re the Vice President of the United States, do you not think there may be some obstacles to him acting like you or I would act in a similar situation?
FRANKEN: No… I mean, he’s giving some of the Chappaquiddick defense to say he’s so shocked that he didn’t go. This is kind of blowback for him not telling the truth a lot. I saw him on Friday, this is before he shot his friend, and he was on [Jim] Lehrer, and Lehrer said ‘do you regret saying that the insurgency is in its last throes eight months ago,’ and do you know what Cheney said? He said, “um… no.” And Lehrer just said well wait a minute, we just heard on this show from the Inspector General in charge of reconstruction that the reason they can’t do the reconstruction is that the insurgents keep blowing it up… He has to regret saying that, and he has not been honest with the American people on so many tings, or with the press corp, and this is blowback for that. You can’t trust this administration
Now I ask you, if you had shot your friend, would you have gone to the hospital? If you’re a man of honor, even if you’re the vice president, you go to the hospital. How does the notion of not going even enter your mind? And then you go on FOX News to defend your actions? What happened to ‘ushering in a new era of accountability?’