Was Cheney Drunk?

Lawrence O’Donnell thinks he has an explanation for why Vice President Cheney did not immediately alert the news media about his weekend hunting accident: He needed time to get the alcohol out of his system.

His evidence?

Every lawyer I’ve talked to assumes Cheney was too drunk to talk to the cops after the shooting.

Powerful stuff. Need more?

I have never gone hunting with ultra-rich Republicans on a Saturday afternoon, but I have seen them tailgating at Ivy League football games, so it’s hard for me to believe that any of their Saturday lunches are alcohol free.


Hat tip: Dan Riehl

Update: Radio Blogger has the transcript of a long interview of O’Donnell by Hugh Hewitt. They go around in circles interminably on who exactly these lawyers were.


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Rodney Dill says:

    Why don’t they just blame Bush and get it over with. Someone’s gonna make some baseless claim in the regard sooner or later.

  2. legion says:

    Well, apparently there was a quote in early versions of the story on MSNBC to the effect that beer was served at lunch prior to the shoot. That quote was later removed from the posted story.

    It doesn’t mean Cheney was “drunk” at the time, but it certainly causes people to ask questions…

  3. Maggie says:

    Isn’t alcohol on Cheney’s “no-no” list due to all his heart problems? It usually is for most with his condition.

  4. yetanotherjohn says:

    One of my former employers was a Fortune 500 company. We sold product through multiple channels, including distributors. One of the men in charge of dealing with the distributor channel organized an annual hunt as a “relationship building” event. Distributors would come to a small Texas town, get a little bit of rah-rah on how great our products were, be provided with some pretty good food, copious amounts of alcohol and some would even go on a hunt for the prey of choice, doves. No hidden meaning there, just doves, like quail, have their season and those who enjoy hunting and/or eating them.

    The one hunting method of the Mongols was to form a great circle and drive the animals towards the center where they could all be killed. Great fun I’m sure. The dove hunting consisted of giving shotguns to people who might never have held a gun before, placing them in a large circle around a cleared field and let them blaze at anything they saw. And some of those people who might not be very experienced with a shotgun would have had great and recent experience with consuming mass quantities of alcohol. Bird shot would rain down on you from those who had fired and missed. The field was large enough that even shooting directly at some one would not likely result in a hit or injury. I don’t know any experienced hunter who went out “hunting” twice as they would rightly recognize the danger of combining inexperience, alcohol and firearms. They may come for the good time, but they would just sit back when the hunt was being organized. Several non-hunters went repeatedly.

    The point of all this is that if alcohol was involved, a certain level of responsibility would have fallen onto the participants.

    As another point. Do you really think that the secret service agents would have allowed the combination of being drunk and firearms around their charge. Even if only Cheney was drunk, can you honestly see them not stepping in?

    You probably can if your BDS is at such an advanced stage you think anything can be tied to the evil that is Bush, Cheney and Rove. Oh well.

  5. ICallMasICM says:

    The HuffPost comments are great. There’s zero evidence that likker was involved but there’s no doubt.

    Laurence O’Donnell is a hoot. He’s a regular guy who never goes hunting with millionaires but apparently tailgates with the homies at Ivy League football games. Whatever.

    And since I’ve been to some progressive ‘rallies’ and witnessed the cannabis consumption there then there’s no doubt that he is stoned 24/7.

  6. Herb says:

    These press people of today just make you sick to your stomach. They got their iddy biddy feelwings hurt by not “getting the scoop” about the accident, they are now dreaming up all sorts of garbage about Cheny. The truth is, It was none of their business, but they think they are the “heart and soul” of America and far be it from anyone to tell them they are “Noy running the Government” and do Not have command over everyones lives.

    All these Press assholes can “GO TO HELL”

  7. Olrnf says:

    ThereÂ’s zero evidence that likker was involved but thereÂ’s no doubt.

    You’re wrong on this account. Armstrong noted that the hunting party had been drinking beer before the shooting occurred.

    It will be interesting to see if Brit Hume asks him about it. Cheney lies all the time so it wont be surprising if he denies it during the interview. This may dampen some speculation. However, if Hume fails to even ask–these questions about his sobriety during the incident and his failure to meet with local law enforcement in the immediate aftermath of the shooting will persist.

    Cheney does have a history of reckeless drinking and putting people’s lives at risk when drunk, so it is completely legitimate to question this.

  8. James Joyner says:

    Actually, Brit Hume did ask about this and Cheney acknowledged having some beer at lunch but denied being intoxicated.

  9. Olrnf says:

    Brit Hume did ask about this and Cheney acknowledged having some beer at lunch but denied being intoxicated.

    Ok, The clip I saw on their website didn’t show the booze part. Question: Did Cheney take a breathalyzer or blood test to verify this assertion? Have those results of those tests been given to the media? If the answers were “no” why not?

    Did Hume follow up with these questions?

  10. James Joyner says:

    When people are involved in accidents, they virtually never take a breathalyzer test unless there is reasonable suspicion that they were acting under the influence of alcohol.

  11. Olrnf says:

    When people are involved in accidents, they virtually never take a breathalyzer test unless there is reasonable suspicion that they were acting under the influence of alcohol.

    If a guy shoots someone, has had alcohol related run-ins with the law in the past, and admits to having been drinking–that seems to engender “reasonable suspicion.”

    In our town, when cops get into minor traffic accidents they immediately get blood tests to have evidence of a clean toxicology. It is really strange that Cheney wouldn’t do something similar in this case, given the scruitny he is under as the VP.

    I take it Hume didn’t ask the follow up questions, then.

  12. Christopher says:

    I just saw a new t-shirt that is selling like hotcakes:

    “I’d rather be hunting with Cheney than driving with Kennedy”

    LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! LOL! -oh…sorry, got carried away…