Monday, February 20, 2006

Hunting is the new golf

From the WaPo article:

As they flew toward South Carolina for a campaign event in 2002, Lindsey O. Graham had a quiet moment to talk with Vice President Cheney aboard Air Force Two. As Graham recalls the encounter, he quizzed the vice president about the stresses of his high office.

"How do you keep your sanity in this job?" Graham asked.

Simple, Cheney answered. "Hunting."


Since becoming vice president in January 2001, Cheney has continued to mix work and pleasure in these trips, at least in his choice of companions. Besides Graham and Chambliss, Cheney has gone hunting with a variety of other politicians, including Republican Sens. John Thune (S.D.), Trent Lott (Miss.) and Jim DeMint (S.C.), South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R), former treasury secretary Nicholas F. Brady and former senators Phil Gramm (R-Tex.) and Zell Miller (D-Ga.).

Although associates say Cheney does not use hunting trips as an explicit fundraising vehicle, he has brought along prominent business figures, including Ohio billionaire Leslie H. Wexner, whose retail empire includes such chains as Limited Stores, Express, Bath & Body Works and Victoria's Secret. Katharine Armstrong, whose family owns the Texas ranch where the shooting accident occurred, is a registered lobbyist. And of course, Cheney's most famous hunting partner before Harry Whittington was Justice Antonin Scalia, a fact that sparked controversy because the Supreme Court was ruling in a case involving Cheney and Scalia declined to recuse himself.

The trips are, of course, heavily underwritten by your tax dollars:

While Cheney pays any hunting fees or lodging expenses if charged, taxpayers invariably pick up much of the cost of Cheney's hunting hobby. As with his predecessors, the government pays for Secret Service agents, military aides and the rest of the entourage that travels with vice presidents wherever they go, as well as the expense of Air Force Two. But it is not clear how much that costs. The budget lists $1 million for the vice president's annual travel, including his official duties, but the figure is rounded to the nearest million, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

But the actual killing of animals -- for sport, as very few actually serve as food -- isn't the focus.

"You get quite a thrill," said former senator Alan K. Simpson (R-Wyo.), a Cheney friend and hunting partner. "Sometimes you don't even shoot. It's just amazing. There's a lot to it. It's not romantic for me, but it's very satisfying. Not the killing. Sometimes I don't get a thing. Just the joshing, the talking, the outrageous babble you have out there."

Yeah. Killing shit is just an afterthought. The blood is just -- incidental.


Blogger AJ said...

"Killing shit is just an afterthought. The blood is just -- incidental.

You gotta problem with that?

6:08 PM  

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