The Sportsman Hunts in Jest, but the Creature Dies in Earnest

Speaking of hunting…the remarkably unpredictable Andrew Sullivan links to a first-rate 2004 op-ed piece by Matthew Scully, author of the excoriating "Dominion," on the brutality required of our politicians:

Groveling in word is no longer enough, however, to convince sport hunters you’re one of them. And so we now have the dreary ritual in which candidates have to go out and kill something, with cameras present to record the moment. Senator Kerry got the job done in Iowa last fall, summoning the regional media to come along and watch him dispatch a couple of pheasants. Two shots, two birds, five minutes, and it was over, leaving us all so very impressed.

President Bush took care of matters on a New Year’s Day outing with his father in Falfurrias, Texas, shooting five quail. An alert press corps would have noted that this expedition occurred shortly after 19 lobbyists for the hunting industry came supplicating at the White House for a gesture of support.

I don’t recall Mr. Bush having hunted before then as president, or having hunted since. Left to himself, without the pleadings of political advisers or hunting groups in need of affirmation, the president seems to prefer more innocent recreations like riding bikes, clearing brush or playing with the dog. I have a suspicion he is actually a bit like President Kennedy in this respect, who had to be dragged along for a deer hunt at the LBJ ranch, and didn’t care much for the experience.

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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