In the days and weeks following Howard Dean's now infamous "I Had A Scream Speech" Republicans and the right-wing media machine had a field day tearing him apart as some angry little crackpot not worthy of a McDonald's job let alone the highest office in the land. When John Kerry was photographed windsurfing the Repug's demonized him as an elitist buffoon. Time after time, in response to a statement, picture, event, etc, conservatives in this country mock those on the left through highly disparaging and vituperative comments designed for one purpose only: exploitation, denigration, character assassination.
As luck would have it, some might say, VP Dick Cheney handed the left a gift horse over the weekend by shooting his hunting buddy, 78-year-old Harry Wittington, in the face, neck and upper torso with a 28-gauge shotgun, apparently mistaking the major GOP donor for quail on a friend's South Texas ranch. Too good to be true, right? Ya can't make this stuff up right? But what's the point? Democrats will leave Cheney unscathed, relegating this episode to just what it is: an unfortunate mistake. Why? Because we're civil. Because we do not subscribe to the school of personal attack. And because some things, like the near-tragic shooting of an elderly man, are not to be exploited or mocked simply for political gain.
But, can you imagine if the proverbial shoe was on the other foot and it had been a controversial Democrat who pulled the trigger instead? A lefty lightening rod like Dean, Kerry, Ted Kennedy or, heaven forbid, Hillary? He/she'd be vilified and hung out to dry by a venomous right wing conspiracy. The classless jokes and mockery would be relentless and merciless.