They Can't Screw This One Up... Can They?
The news that Vice President Cheney accidentally shot his hunting companion should be a "shot in the arm" for the Democrats... if they can avoid their normal reaction of "shooting themselves in the foot". Here's why--
Most of the "Angry Left" has been suffering from a bipolar frenzy the last 6 years; they go back and forth between "Bush is evil" and "Bush is stupid". They've kind of ended up with a "Bush is stupid / Cheney and Rove are evil" compromise, but that hasn't worked out that well -- the average swing voter, who they really need if they want to win elections, can see for themselves that President Bush isn't stupid. IMHO, if they wanted to make inroads, they need to push a meme for which there has been some evidence: the current administration is incompetent.
The main advantage the Republicans have always seemed to have over Democrats is a public perception that they're better able to run things. I think it was Dave Berry who once wrote something like: "If you have a flat tire on the side of the road, the Republican will drive right by and ignore you; the Democrat will stop to fix your flat, but burn your car to the ground in the process". The one time Democrats have been able to change this perception was when Dan Quayle was Vice President.
This shooting incident gives them an opportunity to paint Cheney in a similar buffoonish light -- since the victim wasn't badly hurt, it's naturally humorous. Since the Democrats have been suffering lately from a perception that they're "angry", showing that they have a sense of humor should be a big help to them.
I'm going to take a "shot in the dark" and say that the Dems will find a way to screw this one up. They'll attempt to say Cheney did something illegal by not reporting it (here's the police report that shows that it was reported); they'll make a big deal out of it not being announced by the White House immediately (no law requires that); and eventually some Congressman will say that Cheney should be impeached because of it, which everyone but the Daily Kos and DU crowd will recognize as a complete overreaction.
The problem the Dems face is that their most politically active types are just angry all the time. If they had access to the Internet back in the early 90s they would have been saying that Quayle's attempt to spell potato as "potatoe" was proof that Daddy Bush is a Nazi; after all, the Germans occupied Denmark in WWII, and the Faroe Islands are part of Denmark, and they end in an "-oe", so Bush = Hitler.
To my Democratic friends, remember: Your spin on this should be Cheney = Incompetent, not Cheney = Cold-Blooded Killer.