There is something blissfully absurd about the recent incident wherein Cheney shot a man in the face.
It was basically a perfect tableau of surreal incompetence. Dick Cheney, who was elected by a nation-wide cabal of morons to sit a heartbeat from the Presidency, was gunning down fattened quail for no clear reason with a few colleagues. And then, as one flew overhead, a man who clearly enough at least knows what you do and do not do with weapons, and that this is not one of them, turns around and blasts at it, instead hitting a 78-year-old man in the face with a shotgun.
I can only imagine the look on Dick Cheney’s face then. It would be like the expression George Bush is in the habit of making, transposed onto the visage of a man whose conscience was strangled by a malign intellect rather than buried by a malicious negligence: the sudden realization that he might just have done something terribly, terribly wrong, struggling against the dyed-in-the-wool belief that he never does anything wrong – because that is his job.
And it would evolve a little, as his big, clever brain cycles through all the possible ways to spin this and realizes there is no possible way to make this look like anything but a monstrous fuckup.
He has just shot an acquaintance and colleague in the face for no good reason, and at least to some degree, he is going to suffer. One imagines the long-time Texas Republican fundraiser cursing Cheney’s name furiously with what might be for all he knows his last breath, and Cheney, upon finding words, saying ‘Well, fuck me’.
The ironic part about this is that had he served in Vietnam, nothing about that would be new to him. This is the first time in Dick Cheney’s life he had seen a man shot, and he did it. Must have been fairly confusing, that – a mix of exhilaration, shame, and unshakeable remorse. He probably threw up a little – all the more if he was drunk, as I’ve been told he might have been – and once he regained his composure, got the dried-up GOP whore who ran the place and formulated an alibi. A legitimate reason to shoot a 78-year-old man in the face.
The game warden, of course, called bullshit. You do not shoot a man in the face. If he jumps up in front of you while you are firing, it might be excusable. Even the NRA, which takes what you might call a cavalier attitude about the prospect of aggravated assault, advises one to think first, shoot second.
Cheney sobers up a little – drunk or no, you kind of need a bit of time to recover from shooting a dude in the face – and realizes that nobody who doesn’t need to can know about this. Once word gets to Scott McClellan, he probably unceremoniously shits himself. Grows apoleptic with rage at the Vice-President. ‘You thought we could cover up *what*? You dumb motherfucker, we’re going to fry over this. It’s a fucking election year and you’re trying to cover up an *accidental shooting*? I’m going to pistolwhip your entire fucking family. You need to keep the fuck out of DC or I swear I am going to.’
McClellan immediately, over Dick’s objections, starts making the appropriate calls. George Bush, about a day after the fact, learns that the man who would replace him were the unthinkable to occur has recently shot a man in the face. I can’t imagine him being too pleased.
Condoleeza Rice, who is probably Cheney’s biggest political rival among the lot – he repeatedly sytmied her rise to her current position out of a sort of intra-partisan rancor – probably felt giddy at the prospect of Cheney stepping down; not only would a major rival in the White House be out of commission, but she’d be that much closer to the line of succession and chances are fairly good she’d be tapped as a replacement VP. She’s fairly popular and I don’t think people would accept, or the Bush team would try, another Ford-esque faceless stand-in.
And Rumsfeld, being a ferocious fan of any kind of wanton bloodshed, probably went home and laid the pole to the wife so hard she could barely walk come Monday.