If Dick Cheney were a fictional character in an ongoing satiric novel, I think around now the book's author would indeed write a chapter in which the Cheney character shoots a friend in the face by accident while hunting quail.
This incident encourages me to view the Bush and Cheney years not as something real that is happening and destroying our country, but rather as some sort of cross between satire and performance art. If I think of these 8 years as a perverse entertainment, a 2006 version of Dr. Strangelove, perhaps the whole endeavor can win an Oscar, and maybe we can sort of fast forward through the remaining years.
It's very relaxing, shooting quail, isn't it? You see them flying in the air, all alive and oblivious to the people with shotguns below, and then... bam! A bullet rips into them, and they fall down dead.
And if a fellow hunter gets shot, well that's "collateral damage," just like the women and children in Iraq when Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld try to shock and awe them. The collateral damage is a side effect, it's not the intention. Bush-Cheney intend to kill the terrorists, and the quails. And if other people get shot, well you have to accept that as a necessary price since they're protecting us from terrorists. And quails.
At first I thought Cheney had been hunting Dan Quayle, in a delayed reaction to his misspelling of potato years ago. Potatoe as opposed to potato. Early reports of the incident supported this supposition, and claimed Cheney had been shouting, "No e, no e!" as he aimed his gun at his startled hunting partner Harry Wittington.
Later reports indicated that the "No e!" report was an error, and that Cheney instead has a habit of yelling "Ho, hee, ho, hee!" whenever he kills something. "It's sort of a parody of Santa Claus on a rampage," said Cindy Sheehan, Cheney's recently hired new spokesperson.
"Quails are not the only fowl Dick Cheney likes to kill," Ms. Sheehan said. "He also likes to kill owls as well as to wound his grandchildren in the kneecaps."
As she pounded several "Is it 2008 yet?" signs into the ground, Ms. Sheehan revealed further details. "Some weekends, Mrs. Cheney accompanies her husband to the local SPCA, and they learn which animals are about to be put to sleep, and they take out automatic weapons and they just mow the yapping dogs and puppies down."
Ms. Sheehan continued, "Yes, it's true. The Vice President yells "Ho hee, ho hee!" as they shoot the puppies, while Lynn chews raw hamburger meat she keeps at all times in her purse." Ms. Sheehan looked around for angry people in pick-up trucks, but, seeing none, she continued: "Yes, it's well known that Mrs. Cheney chews on raw meat. It's a delicacy. It's called "steak tartare" in French. Though the Cheneys prefer to call it Freedom Meat."
"When you write this up, can you remind your readers that the Cheneys' daughter is a lesbian?" Ms. Sheehan added. "And that they are very proud of her and support her right to exist, though Mr. Cheney has accidentally shot their daughter's partner 7 times."
"But she, unlike the troops, has full protective armor, and so Cheney's accidental attempts to kill her have not yet succeeded."
Ms. Sheehan looked worried as she saw Mary Matalin approaching with a stern look on her otherwise lovely face.
"Uh oh. Excuse me, I have to go see a man about a horse." And after that, Ms. Sheehan dashed off, with cries of "she's a terrorist!" and "no, she's a quail!" following after her. Gunshots were fired after Ms. Sheehan, but she got away.
"No, we weren't trying to kill her," Ms. Matalin snapped. "When you say things like that, you discourage the troops and embolden the terrorists, making our country less safe." Then horns grew out of her head for a brief moment, but then they receded back into her skull, and she returned to her resting place under a rock.