Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Who’s In Charge Here?

The New York Times sums up the disconnect between the White House and 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.

How dare the White House and the president’s staff presume to intrude on the doings of Mr. Cheney? Some people just don’t know their place.