CONSPIRACY THEORY BLOGGING….Just to make sure we’re straight on this, what is the consensus conspiracy theory about what really happened on Cheney’s hunting trip? It seems to be approximately this:

Cheney’s party had been drinking. Maybe Jack Daniels, maybe a few beers. So Cheney has a bit of a buzz, it’s near sunset, and Harry Whittington has dropped behind the main hunting party. Suddenly, a covey of quail flushes and Cheney wheels around to track them. Unfortunately, Whittington comes into his line of fire, no more than 30 feet away by the looks of his subsequent injuries, but the sun is in Cheney’s eyes and his reflexes are dulled from alcohol, so he pulls the trigger anyway.

An interview with a sheriff ? or anyone else ? is considered imprudent at that point, so the sheriff is told to come by the next morning after Cheney has sobered up. Karl Rove decides that silence from the White House is a good idea too and the president goes along. Scott McClellan isn’t even informed. That’s the way Dick wants it, so that’s the way it’s going to play.

Unfortunately, there are several witnesses to the shooting, including Whittington, and there’s no telling what they’re going to say. So Cheney decides to hide. If he doesn’t answer questions, after all, he can’t be caught in a lie. Once everyone has gone on record and the White House is sure that Whittington isn’t going to contradict the VP’s story, Cheney will take questions from the press.

Is that about it? Have I missed anything? Feel free to chime in.

In the meantime, read this column from Editor & Publisher’s Greg Mitchell, wondering just who’s in charge at the White House these days. Was Bush kept out of the loop, or was he informed about what happened on Saturday night (as the White House says) and then just tamely went along with Cheney’s plan? Are we seriously supposed to believe that Bush thought it was good idea to lay low and not tell anyone about the incident even though Cheney supposedly did nothing wrong?

What’s wrong with this picture?

UPDATE: Here’s the latest from National Review’s Byron York:

I just watched the news conference by Harry Whittington’s medical team. On three occasions, they refused to comment on how many shotgun pellets are in Whittington’s body and on the composition ? steel? lead? ? of those pellets. Perhaps they don’t know the answers. But that’s not what they said; they said they could not comment on those particular questions while, at the same time, they answered many others.

Curiouser and curiouser.

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