The Cheney Problem

Many are now discussing more paranoid theories as to what happened in a shooting accident in Texas. The most persuasive of these is that Cheney had had a few when shooting and kept the press and cops at bay while he sobered up. I have no way of knowing whether this is true or not, but in general, I favor the Occam's Razor explanation. You don't need alcohol to explain his behavior. Dick Cheney's behavior in this incident is exactly the same as his behavior elsewhere. He thinks he's answerable to no one. He doesn't just disagree with his critics; he has complete contempt for them. The reason he didn't contact the police or perform routine notification of the press is that he's Dick Cheney. Why should he deign to tell anyone? It's his private life; and he has a war to run, detainees to order tortured, phones to tap, laws to break. And he may well believe he is doing all this for the good - because we face a dangerous enemy and only he, in his mind, has the capacity to stop it. This afternoon, he will give Brit Hume an audience. The Prince-Regent will not deign to be interviewed by a journalist not actually a daily spinner for the administration, let alone subject himself to a press conference, where he might be forced to answer real questions. And this set-up, in which an arrogant, unreachable, all-powerful vice-president determines critical policy decisions (most of which have proved nothing less than calamitous), is a troubling one in a democracy. What Cheney represents is the democratic danger of the vice-presidency becoming much more powerful than it was ever designed to be. And in Cheney, it has found a man eager to press the limits.