Dick Cheney shot his mouth off yesterday about my home state of West Virginia, and ended up shooting himself right in his bullying ass. The video is at left (via AP), and it’s a harmless enough gaffe, I suppose, if not one that we’ve all heard about a bazillion times living here our entire freaking lives.

But this came not out of the mouth of some random person, but of the most powerful vice president in the nation’s history — a man whose prodding sent this nation to an occupation of choice in Iraq, where many of West Virginia’s sons and daughters have and continue to risk life and limb in our nation’s uniform.

And it’s indicative of the wider disrespect that the Bush/Cheney Administration has for anything they can use or manipulate to their own ends.

For four years out of the last eight, the Bush/Cheney Administration has used West Virginia as it’s homespun, patriotic backdrop for a staged Fourth of July with the troops PR maneuver. It’s a gorgeous state — one with beautiful green vistas, and highly patriotic citizens who wave flags for the office of the president if not for the current occupant, and who have been taught to be polite by their mommas — and George Bush has come here to get his "worship me" jollies without having to face too much public dissent (when it wasn’t dragged out of the public speech venue in handcuffs before he could see it anyway).

But, as with everything else in the Bush/Cheney Administration, West Virginians were props used for votes and power consolidation and useful backdrop material. Since they no longer need our votes, the facade of giving a crap has been dropped.

WV’s lawmakers didn’t find it all that amusing — and I thought Rep. Nick Rahall hit this square:

"We may owe the vice president a debt of gratitude for yet another great West Virginia slogan: Dick Cheney is not from here," Rahall told us.

Indeed. Praise be.

Underneath it all, to Dick Cheney, all of this sacrifice, hard work and manners? It’s a joke. WV is a joke to him. Most Americans are a joke to him – just pawns to be moved around on the chessboard of his own making and control, consequences to individuals be damned unless they are his cronies. The deaths and the heartache and injuries that West Virginia’s young men and women, and their families, have endured on orders in which he had a very strong hand in shaping? A joke.

The rule of law which he’s been so quick to violate? A joke.

The tradition of not using intelligence and national security secrets as political pawns with selective release of information to the public? A joke.

Separation of powers and checks and balances? A joke.

The Constitution and his subordinate role to the President and Congress? A joke.

Personally, I could give a rat’s ass about what Dick Cheney thinks about me or my state — his behavior and actions while in office disqualify him from people about whose opinions I care, and whose respect I would rather not have, thank you. But, having sent a joke our way, good manners dictate a return in kind, I suppose. Here’s one for you, Mr. Vice President, for what you and your cronies have done to my nation the last few years: the Cheney ranch — where the men pretend to be men, the hunts are canned, the laws and the rules don’t apply and the sheep are nervous. Go Cheney yourself.

At least he didn’t shoot anyone else in the face this time (that we know of, anyway…).