There are growing questions about what role alcohol played in the near death this weekend of a key Bush ally when he was shot by Vice President Cheney.
The White House continues to stonewall on the issue, today refusing to answer any questions at all about growing discrepancies between what the Vice President's surrogates initially claimed, and what the evidence now reveals - that Cheney was in fact drinking before the accident.
What was Cheney's blood alcohol level when he shot Harry Whittington in the face? And if the authorities don't know, why don't they know? The latest news reports suggest that the police didn't even try to interview Cheney until the day after the shooting - a time by when all alcohol would have left his system - and even then, Cheney's entourage turned the police away (imagine you pulling that one on the police after having shot someone - I'm sorry officer, come back another time). Why didn't the police come the night before? Did the fact that Cheney was drinking have anything to do with it? Why was Cheney so busy with a dinner party, after shooting his friend, that he couldn't take time to talk to the police?
And what about the victim, Whittington? What were his blood alcohol levels? Certainly if he was toasted that would at least rebut the repeated line we've been given that there was no alcohol in sight. The man was rushed to intensive care, you have think they tested his blood for everything, including alcohol. So why isn't the White House releasing that data?
And just as importantly, what is a man with several heart attacks under his belt doing drinking? Is Cheney, who recently had blood clots, on no medication that might prove problematic with even one glass of alcohol? That's hard to believe when you look at the letter released by Cheney's own doctor during the 2000 presidential race:
# Coronary artery disease: Mr. Cheney has had several prior heart attacks and has undergone one bypass surgery (in 1988). He is followed closely at GW. His heart disease is treated with medication and is followed closely by myself and Dr. Jonathan Reiner, head of our Cardiac Invasive Laboratory. A most recent update of Mr. Cheney's cardiac history is attached in a letter written by Dr. Reiner. His vigorous lifestyle and exercise tolerance are excellent.Cheney takes a "long list of medications" but none of them have any interaction with alcohol? That's rather amazing, since even my over the counter allergy pills can make me loopy if I drink too close to taking one. But we're to believe that Cheney, the walking heart attack, was fine drinking before picking up a gun and shooting his friend in the face.
# Hyperlipidemia: Mr. Cheney has had a long history of elevated cholesterol. This has been vigorously and successfully treated with medication.
# Skin cancer: Mr. Cheney has been treated for skin cancer. He continues to be monitored closely for any recurrences.
# Knee injuries: Years ago, Mr. Cheney underwent successful surgical therapy of his right knee for old athletic injuries. There has been no recurrence.
# Gout: Mr. Cheney has had several minor episodes of gout of the foot. I monitor this closely.
# Allergy: Pomegranates (anaphylaxis).
# Cancer screening: Mr. Cheney is up to date with his colon cancer and prostate cancer screening. His last PSA (prostate specific antigen blood test) and colonoscopy were normal.
# Medications: Mr. Cheney takes a long list of medications which are monitored closely by myself and Dr. Reiner. He has shown no side effects of any of these medications which would alter intellectual performance or impair his judgment.
Why does this matter? Because we don't need yet another reckless, callous, holier-than-thou above-the-law guy running the country. This incident is just further confirmation that the Bush cartel thinks they're above it all, and have no obligation to explain a thing they do.