Bubble-Boy Bush, Meet “Cocoon” Cheney

In David Sanger’s “Political Memo” for the New York Times on Wednesday, “Handling of Accident Creates Tension Between White House Staffs,” Sanger predictably uses the incident to symbolize what he sees as the unprecedented secrecy of Vice President Cheney.

“When the White House press secretary, Scott McClellan, came to the press room just before 10 a.m. Tuesday and suggested he was wearing an orange tie to avoid a stray shot from Vice President Dick Cheney, it seemed to signal an effort to defuse the accidental-shooting story with a laugh.

“But by midday, it was clear that the staffs of the president and the vice president had failed to communicate. Just after arriving at work around 7:45 a.m., Mr. Cheney learned that the man he had shot, Harry M. Whittington, was about to undergo a medical procedure on his heart because his injuries were more serious than earlier believed, Mr. Cheney's spokeswoman said.

“No one in Mr. Cheney's office passed the word to Mr. McClellan, senior officials at the White House said, adding that the press secretary would never have joked about the shooting accident if he had known about the turn of events involving Mr. Whittington.

“It was the latest example of the degree to which Mr. Cheney's habit of living in his own world in the Bush White House -- surrounded by his own staff, relying on his own instincts, saying as little as possible -- had backfired since the accident in Texas on Saturday. Mr. Cheney's staff members have kept their comments to chronological details and to repeating the vice president's written statements….The past three days have underscored, in public, what has always been clear in the Bush White House: Mr. Cheney plays by rules of his own making. It is the freedom that only a political figure who knows he is in his last job -- he often says he will never run again -- can get away with.”

Sanger makes the same cocoon argument he likes to make about the "bubble" around Bush.

“To others, though, it is a telling example of the cocoon Mr. Cheney has created within the White House. Even at the most secure meetings in the White House situation room, Mr. Cheney tends to ask questions but leave the participants guessing about his own views -- largely, his colleagues say they suspect, for fear of leaks. His movements, once hidden for security reasons, are now often cloaked out of habit. Several senior members of the administration said they were not told of the shooting accident until late Sunday.”

Of course, the Times often spins itself into a liberal “cocoon” of its own.

For more New York Times bias, visit TimesWatch.

New York Times Government & Press
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