Personal Privacy: While President Bush and VP Dick Cheney Demand It For Themselves, They Refuse To Consider Any Privacy For The Rest of Us

As journalist Thomas DeFrank just noted on Keith Olbermann's Countdown on MSNBC just a few minutes ago, part of what has been described as Dick Cheney's "ballistic meltdown" on Wolf Blitzer's program, Situation Room, on CNN yesterday (and which Olbermann effectively rebutted as more of a shutdown or an "ice up" where Cheney blasted ice at Blitzer and at least once, got silent and would not respond) was at least in part his fierce determination to have an extremely private personal life.

We've seen the same thing with George Bush. He and his family deserve the utmost privacy.

But isn't it more than just hypocrisy that these men, who chose to be the nation's highest placed elected (ok, sorry, but the votes in 2000 and 2004 remain highly questionable and no, I don't need to "get over it") public officials, are increasingly nasty about being sure they have privacy but they completely remove it from us?

From our phone calls to our snail and e-mail to our online orders and our choices of books at the local bookstore and from the public library, our anatomy as well as the contents of our wallets and purses at the airport, to our financial and school records, and so on, ad infinitum, this administration has beat ALL others in removing any illusion of privacy from us.

But it's more than that.

Sure, I feel that a president and a vice president, just like a movie star or a top cop, should be able to have a personal life removed from scrutiny. But Bush and Cheney refuse to let us know anything about what they do in the public arena as well; they will accept no oversight, no questions, and certainly no criticism.

And that, on the heels of denying all the rest of us any semblance of personal privacy, is beyond the pale.