"America remaining obsessed, fascinated, appalled, by what is being called 'Dick Cheney Shot A Guy In The Face-Gate.'" --Jon Stewart
"If this story gets any bigger, pretty soon they're going to have to tell the president." --David Letterman
"After Whittington had a heart attack, Cheney said, "You big baby. I get those all the time. Walk it off." --Jay Leno
"But here is the sad part -- before the trip Donald Rumsfeld had denied the guy's request for body armor." --David Letterman
"You can understand why this lawyer fellow let his guard down, because if you're out hunting with a politician, you think, 'If I'm going to get it, it's going to be in the back.'" --Craig Ferguson
More jokes here.
Everything must be done to drive this event into the popular imagination. Dick Cheney is reckless. Dick Cheney has poor judgement. Dick Cheney can't be trusted with deadly stuff. For some reason birdshot seems to make the case better than WMD. At this point I don't care. I will take what I can get. Think I'm overreacting? Michelle Cottle makes a great case for overkill:
In an even more poetic vein, the events in question fit perfectly into the grand literary tradition of the hero's tragic flaw. For Cheney, as with so many kings through the ages, this is obviously arrogance. The man cannot stand the idea that he should in any way be accountable for anything to anyone--much less the weak, sniveling, unwashed mass of voters he ostensibly serves. (As if the notion of Cheney serving anyone isn't laugh-out-loud funny.) Seriously. The man could be caught on film slow roasting babies over a burning, swastika-adorned crucifix and he would simply shrug, sneer, and growl something about national security and the unitary executive theory.
With W. the fatal flaw is harder to pinpoint, if only because there are so many options to choose from. But the inestimable Ryan Lizza makes a compelling case that W.'s incuriosity and cluelessness are the defining characteristics highlighted by this little episode, and I'm inclined to agree. One can only assume that W. was too busy on the Stairmaster or out looking for some brush to clear in Rock Creek Park to be bothered with whatever trouble Cheney might be getting into out on the ranch.
But just because a scandal doesn't bring down an administration doesn't mean it isn't instructive or illuminating--not to mention absolutely worthy of media overkill. Some times a hunting accident is just a hunting accident. Other times, it is the perfect metaphor for why the nation's leadership is such a disaster.