Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
February 15, 2006
POLITICS: The Smoking Gun

I just have to say, to all the media people hyperventilating over a day's delay in reporting the news that Dick Cheney accidentally shot a hunting companion: get a grip! Is the story newsworthy, in the sense of being interesting? Of course. But in the sense of being important? No. And news that's interesting but not particularly important can wait.

And to all those on the left looking to make a 'scandal' of some sort out of this: really, it's time to apply the Clinton-Gore test: what would you say if this was Gore during the Clinton years. Certainly, we conservatives would have mocked Gore mercilessly, which is all in good fun (I'd have run some Cheney jokes here myself the last few days, but the good ones were pretty well-circulated already). But I just can't imagine people on the right getting angry or indignant over such a story, as opposed to rolling on the floor in laughter.

(And it should go without saying that anyone who tried to use this story to draw a lesson that's anti-gun or anti-hunting is not going to find a lot of votes in that position; there's a reason guys like Gore and Kerry have taken such pains to be photographed while hunting).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:44 AM | Politics 2006 | Comments (29) | TrackBack (0)

The story IS important. Not in the sense that a hunting accident got a buddy hurt--that's just a presumed risk when a bunch of guys, probably drinking, hang around with guns. And tough luck there.

So while the incident is not all taht earth shaking, about as important as an acid stomache, it does mask the stomache symptom: Liver cancer. Cheney is a cancer, always was. And as is always the case, a stupid one. Cover ups will always get you. A smarter name, fella by the name of Nixon had the same situation. The break in was small, the cover up, uh, wasn't. Going into the cover up mode exposes Cheney for the gangster he really is. And if you read the follow up news reports, Bush and the Presidential staff are livid. Jon Stewart, however, is as thankful as he said he was.

BTW, I'm pro gun control, but don't mind hunting. I'm pro gun control with automatics, semi automatics and hand guns--all meant to kill people. Hunt with a rifle all you want.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at February 15, 2006 8:42 AM

It's important only to the degree that this "little lie" stands as a proxy for all the big lies the administration puts forth.

The Adminstration that Couldn't Shoot Straight? Maybe.

The Adminstration that Couldn't Speak Straight? Absolutely.

* * *

And now for my Cheney joke. I don't watch Jon Stewart, so not sure if he beat me to it, but here goes:

Maybe if Dick didn't have "other priorities" during Vietnam, he'd have learned how to properly fire a rifle.

Posted by: Mike at February 15, 2006 9:14 AM

Reading about Cheney's mishap reminds me of the day Gigli was released.

Sure the shooting has no affect on public policy or national security, but so many people are so fed up with the Vice President's arrogance and incompetence that it serves as an outlet.

My guilty pleasure in reading these articles is shared by the reporters writing them, the editors placing them, and the news anchors following up on them.

Similarly, Gigli was not the only bad movie in 2003, or probably even that week. But because we were all so fed up with Bennifer, critics seemed to savior tearing it apart and editors rushed to place the scathing reviews on the front page. Anchors and talk show hosts piled on.

And in both instances I lapped up every syllable.

Posted by: patrick at February 15, 2006 9:54 AM

Well-stated, Patrick. Kudos for that one.

Posted by: Mike at February 15, 2006 10:27 AM

Patrick undoubtedly captures one of the two major drivers in the news coverage here: reporters dislike Cheney and all he stands for, and this is a chance to pile on him.

The other issue is simply that reporters tend to think nothing is more important in a story than how well the reporters were treated.

Posted by: The Crank at February 15, 2006 10:35 AM

It also resonates by serving as a metaphor for what a lot of people already believe about Cheney, in sort of a "Dukakis in a tank" or "Ford falling down the stairs of the helicopter" sort of way. If it only reflected the reporters dislike of Cheney, it wouldn't really work as a story.

Posted by: Jerry at February 15, 2006 10:44 AM

Did anyone see or hear McClellan try to spin this at the press conference? Freaking hilarious. He made it sound like it was WWIII in terms of information that needed to be conveyed. It is not hate and disdain for Cheney. The whole Admin is covered by that. Just another example of their smugness, arrogance and 24/7/365 stealth mode of operation. Embarrassing.

Posted by: jim at February 15, 2006 12:55 PM

Y'know, it's only a cover-up if they failed to report it to the authorities. It's not a cover-up, or a lie, or any other tinfoil-hatted conspiracy bullshit that they waited 24 hours to call a press conference.

Please, I beg of you, stop the moonbattery. With the left side of the political aisle falling deeper and deeper into lunacy, the right side is feeling less and less compulsion to even pretend they care about America...

Posted by: Jay G at February 15, 2006 1:25 PM

It may not "legally" be a cover-up, but for the administration who constantly harped on ethics, morality, and the rule of law, it is simply an overall system failure. Not as screwed up as the Katrina response (something that all facets of governement, from FEMA down to that idiot Nagin, with all the mmorons in between), but symbolic of the administration. Heartless, secretive, and anxious to never eveer admit an error or failure.

Cheney goes off and shoots someone; of course it was an accident; you would have to be Randy Rhodes to think otherwise. But tell the truth now everybody. You have an accident, and shoot somebody, a FRIEND for Pete's sake, do you run him to the emergency room, or do you see he gets there, have dinneer somewhere else, and make sure you are not interviewed by the local police--who of course must investigate a shooting, for 24 hours.

Crank, the reason I disagree about what kind of outrage should be visited on this: you see, someone did geet shot. As in with real ammuntion. This is not an "I invented the internet" kind of joke, but a, "oops, I shot somebody in the face, now let's make sure it gets hushed up." kind of joke, which is not funny.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at February 15, 2006 1:43 PM

If I've missed something, I'm sure someone will tell me, but I don't see how anyone lied or covered up here. I have never heard that this wasn't reported to the authorities, or that anyone tried to deny that it happened. The most you can say about Cheney is that he didn't go out of his way to call anyone's attention to it?

And why should he? Would you? Is he required to call a press conference to tell everyone that he accidentally shot his friend while they were hunting? Other than the fact that some people are eager to criticize Cheney (which is obvious from some of the previous posts), what is the big deal here?

Posted by: Jeff A at February 15, 2006 1:53 PM

Jeff, the fact that the Secret Service, and we have to presume it was under Cheny's direction, told the cops to come back tomorrow. As Jon Stewart pointed out, after somebody gets shot, it's not something say Jamal could tell the NYPD. So unless Cheyney can prove otherwise, the likely coverup is that they were all drinking stupid when hunting, but fairly common; and that someone got shot, also by accident, so no crime was committeed. However, if you are drinking when hunting, I bet it is illegal. Can we now prove it? Well, maybe they did a scan of Whittington's blood when he entered the hospital. Ajd Cheny, good buddy that he was, went to dinner. So there is a possibility, in fact, a probability, that alcohol was involved. That Cheney used, or rather, misused the powers of his office to slow down an investigation to prove or not prove that is indeed a cover up. Not all cover ups need be permanent. But no cover ups ever work.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at February 15, 2006 2:14 PM

Wow. You really think people wouldn't pay attention if it were Al Gore?

I certainly don't recall any right-leaning bloggers going hysterical over the Vince Foster/Hillary "conspiracy." At least in this case, we know that Cheney really did shoot someone...quite a myopic and hypocritical post, Crank.

Posted by: beedlebaum at February 15, 2006 2:43 PM

Arrogance & Lies.

Standard operating procedure for this adminstration.

Unfortunately, also S.O.P. for the press to chicken out on stories that really matter (like last week's revelation that Scooter got directions from above re Plame's outing), yet they get all hyped about this half-story.

Posted by: Mike at February 15, 2006 2:46 PM

"I just can't imagine people on the right getting angry or indignant over such a story, as opposed to rolling on the floor in laughter. "

Again--Vince Foster. Your quote above is either partisanship at its boldes, a lie, or just plain ignorance.

Posted by: beedlebaum at February 15, 2006 2:47 PM

The level of debate on this issue has been professional and thoughtful. I am proud of each and every one of you.

Posted by: steve at February 15, 2006 2:49 PM

Vince Foster? Gimme a break. Vince Foster's death was plainly not an accident, it came at the center of an investigation in which he may have been a witness, and Foster was himself a significant public figure. Yes, there were some overreactions to Foster's death (although most of the major serious conservative outlets were satisfied once it had been investigated by the authorities). If Scooter Libby turned up dead, you could compare it to Vince Foster. C'mon, nobody's that dense to seriously compare this to Vince Foster.

Posted by: The Crank at February 15, 2006 2:59 PM

Also, where did I say nobody would pay attention if this was Gore? I said he would be "mocked . . . mercilessly." Try actually reading the post before commenting on it. My point is simply that it would not have been treated by conservatives as if this were a serious scandal.

Posted by: The Crank at February 15, 2006 3:03 PM

My point was: You said you couldn't imagine people on the right getting angry if this were Gore. You're too smart to really believe this.

Everything in history says differently. It's completely insane of you (yet typical) to put all the partisanship on the left. If Hillary shot a guy, the right would be ALL over it (like they were with the ridiculous and offensive Foster accusations). Again, it's only been 48 hours since this story broke (a day after it happened), and we don't know what the full story will be (was he drinking at the time?). How long did we have to listen to accusations that the first Lady was a murderer? Can you imagine if the Clinton White House had come out cracking the same jokes that this administration has--after not reporting a shooting (which could still kill the guy) for 24 hours?? I don't mind Letterman or Leno taking shots (sorry), but McClellan should probably treat the matter a bit more seriously.

I read your post. I know you said "mocked," but you also said "I can't imagine people on the right getting angry or indignant over such a story." Which leads me to believe that you have a very poor imagination (again, Hillary would be a much better example than Gore, since the Right has an irrational hatred toward her that is AT LEAST comparable to the lefts of Cheney), or are just postulating nonsense with nothing to back it up.

It also reminds me that "Baseball Content Only" is a godsend.

Posted by: beedlebaum at February 15, 2006 3:27 PM

That should read "recent history" and "a godsend sometimes" ;)

Posted by: beedlebaum at February 15, 2006 3:31 PM

Actually, Cheney has been a rather good VP. Politically, he has been excellent. He smoked Joe L. in the 2000 debates and he really embarassed Breck Girl Edwards in the 2004 debates.

Posted by: pchuck at February 15, 2006 5:47 PM

"...the fact that the Secret Service, and we have to presume it was under Cheny's direction, told the cops to come back tomorrow."

Actually, the report is that the sheriff was informed of the shooting within an hour of the incident and made arrangements to stop by Sunday morning. I haven't seen anything from the sheriff's department that would contradict that.

I recommend a few weeks of relentless hammering on this story...or at least until the rest of the country shares the press' outrage on this matter.

Posted by: Maryland Conservatarian at February 15, 2006 8:00 PM

The Right had a HUGE hissy fit over Gore and a Buddhist temple as if the ghost of Tse-Tung was coming and handing over cash. They still get on it (which in light of current events seems both hilarious and pathetic). If Gore had shot someone, told the cops to come back later, gone to dinner and generally treated this as this Admin had you all would have gone nuclear. There would have been no rolling in the aisles laughing. The story is that this is how this Admin treats EVERYTHING. Spin, cover, change the story, spin, cover, dodge the media cycle, cover, spin, raise the terror alert status, move on. No one would have thought this was a big story until your boys made it seem like it was by doing their damndest to change the reality of it.

Posted by: jim at February 15, 2006 8:15 PM

So, Gore's presence at a Democratic fundraiser was . . . an accident having nothing to do with politics? Really?

Posted by: The Crank at February 15, 2006 8:31 PM


You seem uncharacteristically "angry" in some of your replies. I mean that truly; usually you're measured in your replies to a larger degree, which I've come to respect a great deal.

I suspect part of you knows the administration is out-of-control right now and it worries you.

A bit.

* * *

But a serious question, if I may: are a you a Conservative American, with the normal concerns that one would find in that stripe? Or are you a Republican? I know you'd answer "both," and that'd be accurate.

But which comes first? Because your inability to acknowldge that Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Condi/Rove have an allergy to the truth, to full-and-voluntary disclosure, when it comes to national policy, to issues that affect all Americans, is just a little strange.

And please, don't come back with a "Well, the Dems also did . . ." retort. I'm no Dem, and even *if* another party (Dem, GOP of the past, Third Party) did some of the things the current adminstration's doing, that doesn't change the fact that what's happening right now is very, very troubling.

I'm not a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, I'll admit, but to the degree I hold any conservative ideology (fiscal responsibility, individual accountability, tough stance vs. terror/Islamic fundamentalism, recognition of the importance of America's long-term prosperity), I Am Not Seeing It from the current gang on Pennsylvania Ave. And that's even before addressing the shameless prevarications that fly out of there daily.

How can you continue to unconditionally defend them? I don't get it.

Posted by: Mike at February 16, 2006 7:34 AM

Mike - I'm mainly grumpy with the one guy who just refused to read the post. Otherwise, I'm just arguing, as usual.

Hey, what happened to all the people here who just a few weeks ago said Chappaquiddick was a non-story?

I'm a conservative before I'm a Republican, and I've certainly criticized this Administration at times over its failures to stick to conservative principles. But no, I really don't see this Administration as particularly untruthful - yes, they get facts wrong sometimes, and like all politicians they have sometimes appeared to be doing so intentionally. But most of the attacks on the integrity of Bush et al have been either (1) willful distortions of their policy positions and use of intelligence or (2) complaints about secrecy about matters that actually should be secret.

Posted by: The Crank at February 16, 2006 11:03 AM

I have a faint recollection of Republicans growing angry and indignant, essentially closing down the federal government for months, over a president engaging in oral sex with a woman who was not his wife. As far as I know, no one was rushed to the hospital over this affair, and no one had a heart attack, save for certain members of the right who remain shocked that such conduct occurs.

Listen, I may no longer be in the mainstream, but it seems to me to be news when the vice president of the United States shoots someone in the face and then sits on the information for 14 or more hours, agreeing to meet with authorities only the next day. But then I'm old school.

Posted by: bstraub at February 16, 2006 12:31 PM

Man, this is about the longest thread we've had here.

bstraub - OK, I give up. There's only so many times you can explain that (1) there is a difference between intentional and accidental conduct. Nothing that happened in the Lewinsky story was an accident on Clinton's part. and (2) if you managed to get through that entire saga without absorbing the obvious fact that (like Scooter Libby) what Clinton was in trouble for was lying under oath, there's no hope in getting you to understand this now.

And again: newsworthy? Yes, this story is newsworthy. But not significant.

Posted by: The Crank at February 16, 2006 12:51 PM

OK, my last word too, since spring training is upon us.

Yes the story is newsworthy. The accident is insignificant. The attempt to keep it quiet is significant. Lying about Paula Jones is the perjury part, and that was marginally significant, since he was really lying about his yen for ugly women. Chappaquiddick? A realm much more signifcant. I am a moderate liberal, and Teddy go away with DWI, killing someone, lying about it, covering it up, and helping to introduce misery to the entiore Kopechne family. No cover up on my part. He should have a cell next to his miserable cousin Michael Skaekel.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at February 16, 2006 2:49 PM

The TK stuff is so old but if I recall correctly he went to court, plead guitly to leaving the scene, received a sentance of 2 months in prison (suspended) and then there was a grand jury that reviewed the matter. What went on as far as pulling strings is a different matter altogether.

No one thinks this was a significant story until the Admin did its darndest to make it look like it was a story or that there was a story that was not being told. Why the delays? Why hold the police off? Why not go to the hospital? Why avoid telling anyone and everyone until the spin was in full spin? It is stuff like this that happens repeatedly, usually on much more consequential stuff, that drives normal people nuts. The fact that you don't see it, can't even admit to the slightest bit of impropriety EVER by these hoods (as Mike pointed out) leads anyone who reads this to conclude that you don't really give a damn what they do.

Posted by: jim at February 16, 2006 3:11 PM
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