CORPUS CHRISTI, Tex. -- Just when the pundits thought vice president Dick Cheney's "accidental shooting" of Texas attorney and Cheney friend Harry Whittington had faded from view, former CBS newsman Dan Rather has come out of retirement to uncover clear evidence that the shooting wasn't accidental at all: Cheney just missed his intended target.
Whittington was not shot accidentally; he intentionally stepped in front of Cheney to keep him from shooting former vice president Dan Quayle, Rather reports.
During a special broadcast of his new, occasional investigative series, Rather Simple, the former CBS anchorman makes a clear case for intended vice presidential on vice presidential homicide. If it had been successful, the killing would have been the highest level homicide by an executive officer since Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton on July 11, 1804, outside of Weehawken, New Jersey.
In his show, Rather addresses the many questions his assertion raises.
Why would a sitting vice-president shoot a former vice-president, seemingly unprovoked? Unprovoked? Quayle, insiders reported to Rather, had been fuming for months over President Bush "taking his place in history." One Quayle confidante quotes the former vice president as saying, "I had a place, it wasn't much of a place but it was mine: the stupidest vice president in history. After President Bush Jr., who is going to remember vice president me? I couldn't spell, big deal; that yokel can't talk."
As a result of his anger, Quayle had stopped acting stupid, which, according to Cheney, was making the president look even stupider. Rather reports a message on an answering machine where Cheney is reputed to have said, "The deal was Quayle keeps acting like a knucklehead, and the next Republican presidential nomination was his. The dumbass reneged. I could kill the preppy little sucker."
Why has the name Dan Quayle been unmentioned until now? One point Rather emphasizes: the vice president did mention Quayle. "From the beginning Dick Cheney, I call him Dick, said he was shooting Quayle. We in the media spelled it quail, not him. He never wrote down a word. He's real smart about that kinda stuff."
Also, Rather reports Quayle was hurried from the scene by the current vice president's Secret Service detachment, who were performing their duty to "protect the vice president," in this case from himself. If you think that a shooting accident is bad press, imagine what the media would have done with attempted homicide?
Didn't the media hate Dan Quayle? Why would they have crucified Cheney for shooting him? The media never hated Dan Quayle. "We loved him," says Rather, in an innovative show segment in which he interviews himself. "With Quayle around, there's next to nothing we in the media could do that looked really stupid up against what that boy would do. Compared to him we was smarter than a double stack of them NASA boys. Why'd you think we all love George Bush so much?"
What about the phony Photoshopped images that appeared just after the "accident" showing Dan Quayle's head in the sky, with Cheney shooting him like a skeet? Those were the work of Karl Rove, the master of double misdirection. By implying that Cheney was shooting Quayle, the drive-by media, which only drive by and never stop to examine the fine print, were thrown off the trail altogether.
Rather Simple, which airs on Tuesday on OLN, features investigative reports made accessible to the general television viewership. Based on the "For Dummies" how-to book series, Rather Simple, according to reporter, author, editor, managing editor and talking head Dan Rather, aims to be "so doggone simple a yeller dog could understand it." Critics say Rather has succeeded "like a huntin' hound in heat."
Copyright 2006, Douglas Salguod