Cheney's quail-hunting accident

Cover-up or overblown? What did you see when you saw the story about Vice-President Cheney's hunting accident?

If you were a comedy writer, you saw definitive proof of the existence of God.

If you hold the Bush Administration in minimum high regard, you saw enough metaphors to power a Ph.D. thesis: a reckless, inept use of force directed at the wrong target, compounded by a cover-up.

There are plenty of grounds on which to make out a case against the vice president's performance in office; there are plenty of examples where his easy assurances -- about weapons of mass destruction, about the way the U.S. would be greeted in Iraq -- have turned out to be dramatically wrong-headed. But I'd prefer to see those arguments stand or fall on their merits.

As for the comedy writers, they're exempt from any analysis, rigorous or otherwise. Some temptations are, literally, irresistible.

[Excerpt of CNN story by Jeff Greenfield, CNN Senior Analyst]

Sample Cheney Jokes

· "Good news, ladies and gentlemen, we have finally located weapons of mass destruction: It's Dick Cheney."
· "We can't get Bin Laden, but we nailed a 78-year-old attorney."
· "But here is the sad part -- before the trip Donald Rumsfeld had denied the guy's request for body armor." --"Late Show with David Letterman," CBS

· "I think Cheney is starting to lose it. After he shot the guy he screamed, 'Anyone else want to call domestic wire tapping illegal?' " "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," NBC

· "Now, this story certainly has its humorous aspects. ... But it also raises a serious issue, one which I feel very strongly about. ... Moms, dads, if you're watching right now, I can't emphasize this enough: Do not let your kids go on hunting trips with the vice president. I don't care what kind of lucrative contracts they're trying to land, or energy regulations they're trying to get lifted -- it's just not worth it." --"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," Comedy Central

· "The big scandal apparently is that they didn't release the news for 18 hours. …Apparently the reason they didn't release the information right away is they said we had to get the facts right. That's never stopped them in the past." --"Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson," CBS

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