As you know, quail hunting is what passes for military service in the upper ranks of the Bush Administration. Dick Cheney knows what it is like to fire a weapon in anger, particularly when the birds flush from the bracken unexpectedly. George W. Bush has flown airplanes, many of them folded from his personal stationery. Donald Rumsfeld has piloted boats and submarines through seemingly impenetrable mounds of suds. And so on.
Now, as you have surely heard by now, the Vice President this weekend had a slight mishap while hunting, in that he committed the faux pas of pointing his shotgun in the direction of a friend of his. Also he pulled the trigger. Sort of, you know, shot the guy. In the face. "Peppered" him, in the quaint vernacular of the sport. The fellow is doing fine [maybe: CIP] at the hospital. But right here's what's wrong with the mainstream media: The stories don't tell us whether Cheney managed, in the process, to bag the bird. Seems to me that our sense of the man's overall competence pivots on that crucial unreported factoid. Who cares about his friend, did he hit the target???
I find the story reassuring. Cheney is a man who doesn't just talk the talk. No, if he's going to send American soldiers into harm's way, where they might be shot at any moment by a deranged fanatic, he's also going to do the same thing to his close personal friends. He's giving his hunting buddies a taste of life in the Cheney Era, when you count yourself lucky just to get out alive.