I admit it. I've never been a big fan of Vice President Dick Cheney's style.
So maybe that gives me more credibility, not less, in rebutting the notion that Cheney shouldn't occupy the nation's second-highest position if he can't immediately come clean about an unfortunate hunting mishap.
I seem to recall a certain prominent (and very likeable) political leader who once drove a car off a bridge. A passenger in that car died. He then waited a little longer than "immediately" before notifying law enforcement officials.
Fast-forward to decades later -- today -- and you'll find one Ted Kennedy serving still as a respected United States senator.
Give me a break. Dick Cheney's shooting accident, in which a friend was hurt, was nothing more or less than a good example of why people approaching their 80s shouldn't be traipsing around on quail hunts.
It's also nothing more or less than laughable that many in the news media tried to make the accident look like another Dick Cheney "maniacal scheme." The auspices under which the press pursued this angle was the usual "public's right to know." (As I've written before, this supposed right doesn't exist in the U.S. Constitution.)
That aside, this is as good a time as any to take the vice president to task for his generally nasty disdain for media dealings of any stripe or scope.
Those who know Cheney well say he is both loyal and likeable to his friends. But let's face it, to the general public he comes across as the stereotypical grumpy old power broker who doesn't give a damn how the public feels, one way or the other.
His dislike and distrust of the media is certainly understandable. He knows full well most of them hate him and that engaging them is usually a no-win proposition.
I don't blame him for choosing Brit Hume and FoxNews as the forum on which to finally discuss the accident. At least he knew he would get a fair shake, rather than a frenzied shark attack from journalists who greet the situation as a chance to "get even" with the man they love to hate.
At the same time, Cheney is the vice president of the United States. Whether he likes it or not, that plot of ground comes only with a deed that says there are some minimal public relations requirements involved.
For too long, his standoffishness has helped perpetuate the myth that President Bush is some happy-go-lucky frat boy who plays president, while the gruff and serious Cheney goes about the business -- behind well-guarded walls -- of running the country.