Okay, I know the Republicans don't want anyone asking more questions about Vice President Dick Cheney shooting someone. I know they insist the facts have all been explained, and that it is a personal story that doesn't impact the public. And I know they insist how irresponsible it is of the press to keep piling on with the inquiry.
And the thing is, I understand their position. Honestly, now, don't you? I mean, after all, if someone who headed your team had just shot someone in the face and chest, wouldn't you want the story to go away instantly? Man, I would!
Despite that, however, I'm sure some people still actually question Republican sincerity. And I think this is so unreasonable of them. To explain why, I believe it's only fair that we insert another name into the story and see how it plays out. Walk in Republican leather oxfords for just a moment. Clearly, those of you who don't understand the GOP and their associated pundits' deep desire for fairness and for just dropping the matter already (!!) will finally recognize how honest and sincere they are in their wishes.
So, let's stay the story instead was -
Vice President Bill Clinton Shoots Man
It has been disclosed today that Vice President Bill Clinton shot his hunting partner, Harry Whittington, 78. Spokesmen for Vice President Clinton claim it was just an accident.
The shooting by Bill Clinton took place on Saturday, though news of it wasn't released to the press until a full 18 hours later, on Sunday. Investigating police were themselves turned away at the ranch by Secret Service agents and held at bay for 12 hours.
"There simply is no truth that the Secret Service did not allow the police to talk to Bill Clinton until he had a chance to sober up," said the representative. Though Vice President Clinton has two prior drunk driving arrests, his spokesman states emphatically that there was no drinking at the ranch, and that Mr. Clinton only had one beer at lunch. Whether there was any drinking between lunch and the arrival at the ranch, no emphatic answers were forthcoming.
Mr. Clinton did not accompany his shooting victim to the hospital. Said the spokesman, "Vice President Clinton didn't think there was room in the ambulance for him, or that anyone would give up their seat to the Vice President of the United States." There was no explanation, however, why Mr. Clinton didn't use any of the many other cars present in the motorcade to follow behind, or perhaps have the Secret Service drive him.
"There simply is no truth that Bill Clinton didn't go to the hospital to be with his wounded friend until he had a chance to sober up," said the spokesman. "Mr. Clinton simply felt he would be a distraction. Instead, he went home, had a cocktail, ate dinner and fell fast asleep."
It turns out that Vice President Bill Clinton did not inform his boss, the President of the United States, of the shooting for over 24 hours, despite his being the constitutional successor to the Commander-in-Chief. His spokesman said that there was nothing untoward about this. "Bill Clinton simply felt his shooting a man was a private matter, and that his actions didn't concern the President or the country. It's no one's business but his own. And perhaps Harry Whittington's."
The story of the shooting by Bill Clinton was not released to the press through any of the Vice President's staff. Instead, it only came to light the next day when ranch owner Katharine Armstrong tried to reach a family friend who worked at the local newspaper. When that reporter turned out not to be in, she had to speak with a regular staffer. "It's our new policy that private citizens should be the one to release major stories," said the Clinton spokesman. "After all, it was her ranch, and she was the only eyewitness, albeit one who was 100 yards away from the shooting and looking the other way."
Ms. Armstrong later told police that when she heard the gunshot, it was only then - after the fact - that she turned towards the accident. She explained that she thought she saw Bill Clinton on the ground having a heart attack, rather than the actual victim peppered with shot .
Other discrepancies have surfaced. When the police finally were allowed access to the ranch for questioning about the shooting by Vice President Bill Clinton, the drawing made by the investigating officer remarkably had the gunshot wounds drawn on the wrong side of the victim's face.
Then, at the hospital, Harry Whittington, the man shot by Bill Clinton, released an inconsistent statement to the press: "Regardless of how experienced, careful and dedicated we are, accidents do and will happen - and that's what happened last Friday."
When it was pointed out that the shooting was first said to have taken place on Saturday, not Friday, the question was posed whether an extra day had gone by without the shooting by Bill Clinton being reported. The spokesman responded that, "Although many may believe Mr. Whittington to be a bright, vibrant, first-class lawyer, he is also 78 years ago, and clearly is befuddled. The shooting took place on Saturday, not Friday, as the shooting victim himself incorrectly states. Really."
Vice President Clinton did agree to be exhaustively questioned by the press, and chose a single reporter to whom he would agree to talk. He took full responsibility for the shooting, a fact which was never in question by law officials and those who know the rules of hunting, and he addressed little else.
With that, the matter appears now to be closed, as conservative members of the media and political representatives in the GOP have accepted Bill Clinton's explanations and let the matter drop.
There! You see! The Republicans are quite right. If the shoe had been on the other foot, they never, ever would have questioned the validity of the explanations. And they never, ever would have continued questioning Vice President Bill Clinton over his version of his shooting another man. They would have believed him, they would have honored his Vice Presidential office, and they would have respected that a man who is a heartbeat away from becoming President of the United States is entitled to his privacy over questions about his competence and actions shooting a man. And they would have let the matter drop, right there and right then. Period. Never, never, never.
Unless of course there was a stain on Ms. Armstrong's dress.