Sunday, February 19, 2006

Thinking About Cheney the Reckless Hunter

I've noticed a fair amount of debate among Progressives over the past week about how to deal with Cheney's reckless hunting mishap of last weekend. Some argue that it is distracting from more important issues, while others applaud any negative attention to Cheney's secrecy, arrogance, and bad decision-making style--especially if it can be tied metaphorically to larger public issues. (And Cheney can't exactly blame people for speculating about why he would delay publicly reporting the shooting for so long or for failing to submit to any serious scrutiny--such as blood alcohol testing--can he? Any prosecutor or jury would have to be suspicious about that...)

But I want to offer a new angle on the story. Wasn't it just a day or two before the ill-fated hunting trip when we learned that indicted Scooter Libby had claimed in grand jury testimony that he was authorized by his superiors to reveal Valerie Plame's CIA cover? And who was Libby's boss before his indictment? Why, Dick Cheney, of course. Everyone hearing Libby's statement knew that he meant Cheney.

It has become increasingly clear that Cheney is implicated in so much of the Bush Administration's malfeasance. Of all the top government officials making ridiculous and unsubstantiated claims before the invasion of Iraq about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction or his supposed ties to Al-Qaeda, it was Cheney who uttered some of the most cocksure and bold assertions (lies?) And Cheney has been at the center of speculation about who orchestrated the attempt to smear James Wilson, who debunked the crude forgeries that supposedly showed Iraq trying to obtain uranium from Africa.

We also know from numerous news reports that Cheney often uses his hunting trips as a way to deal with stress or blow of steam, to refresh himself after being under the pressure of public criticism or scrutiny. So it stands to reason that Libby's grand jury revelation implicating Cheney might have been weighing on his mind pretty heavily. Could it be that Cheney is under so much stress over possible prosecution--in this and other simmering scandals--that he was unable to focus as carefully while he was hunting? Could there actually be a closer link between this accident and other more public scandals? It is not unusual for people under great stress to have accidents. To make poor decisions. To have lapses in judgment.

I wonder if it might be better for Cheney to simply resign his office and try to get himself pulled back together. I'm serious. If the pressure over his involvement in scandals is making him a danger to friends and family, then it would be better for both the country as a whole and his personal life for him to focus on his own mental health. Perhaps we, the American people, should be demanding that he step down so he doesn't have the burden of so much public responsibility while dealing with all these crises and scandals.

Meanwhile, on a completely different subject, I would like to commend Senator Russ Feingold for his courageous, articulate, and passionate statement against the Patriot Act renewal "compromise." We cannot sacrifice our liberties and freedoms. No one in Congress is working harder than Russ Feingold to keep the USA from descending into the Orwellian land of "1984"...is it too early to endorse a Presidential candidate for 2008?

1 comment:

Intrepid Liberal Journal said...

Excellent post. I concur and trust me you're not alone. This is a comment I posted on Political Carbaret on February 17th:

The most important revealation from Cheney's "Gungate" tragedy was what he said in his interview with Brit Hume about Vice Presidents having the authority to declassify documents. When Hume asked if Cheney had ever declassified documents "unlilatterally" he responded that he didn't "want to get into that." Which suggests that he has. He's obviously scared about Scooter Libby who may not be willing to take a chance that Bush will pardon him. And he drinks. And he's a little erratic.

In Tip O'Neill's memoirs he has an anecdote about Nixon during the final days of Watergate. During a congressional briefing with Nixon on foreign policy, O'Neill was alarmed by Nixon's mental state. He contacted the Democratic Senate leader Mike Mansfield who reassured him that they had a pipeline to Al Haig who was really running the show (ironic because he wasn't in charge after Reagan was shot).

Cheney however is the one really in charge of this White House. He's calling the shots to the point of declassifying documents on his own. And his mental state has made him devoid of humanity. Lincoln was manic depressive but his heart and head remained in the right place. As the pressure continues to mount on the Vice President we have to ask, what other abuses of power he might undertake in desperation? Furthermore, what other miscalculations will he implement on policies impacting war and peace?