Punch Lines Galore

nbccheney.jpgAs the Cheney shooting incident furor enters its second full day, the story is becoming a punchline to every joke about the Bush administration. “I could say the White House shot itself in the foot, but that would be in terrible taste, wouldn’t it?” Howard Kurtz cracks today. “The Scott McClellan briefing was truly something to behold. The guy is still picking buckshot out of his backside.”

He continues: “This is going to ricochet for days (forgive me), all because the administration essentially thumbed its nose at the national press.”

The Wall Street Journal pulled together the late-night jokes, and even the New York Times ran a Elisabeth Bumiller sidebar on the event’s punch lines, which included David Gregory‘s outburst yesterday, first reported by the Tribune’s blog. And over at the Huffington Post, writers can’t get enough.

Of course the right is talking about it just as much. Even Jeb Bush is getting in on the action, saying, “I’m a little concerned that Dick Cheney is going to walk in” as he placed a “bright orange sticker” on his chest.

Over at the National Review, John Podhoretz writes, “It’s disturbing as well that there was a news blackout that lasted nearly a day about this serious incident. It seems beyond question that the vice president is going to have to go before the cameras, explain what happened, and show genuine remorse for his actions, however inadvertent. It’s a difficult challenge for someone as reticent as Dick Cheney. But unless he does so, and makes a good showing of it, he will be damaged goods for the remainder of the Bush presidency.”

One journalist source last night suggested that the biggest political problem Dick Cheney faces is that the weekend incident has removed him from the realm of the serious and powerful in Washington. By staying in the shadows, Cheney has cultivated a dark mystique that has left many wary of him–he’s come to be the administration’s enforcer–but the hunting accident plays into every caricature of him and leaves him a self-written punch line to everything the administration does going forward.