Wednesday, June 18, 2008

By George, By Jeeves

American President Pleads Guilty to Hopeless Idealism
Published: June 18, 2008

Maureen Dowd continues her European romp with Dubya and the next stop is Britain where we still have an ally, for the time being. Like the langoustes of the last column, she obsesses over the menu:

Maybe he was excited by the prospect of sharing some Gloucestershire beef, Yorkshire pudding and fruit trifle with a world leader more unpopular than he is.
Dubya’s relationship with recent prime ministers has been complicated and Maureen trots out a pack of canine metaphors.
Britain is still smarting about being cast as poodle to W.’s pit bull
Which she then randomly mixes the metaphor into Dubya as some sort of avian predator.
If Mr. Brown had any thought of promoting himself as the anti-poodle with some arm’s length body language, W. swiftly disabused him. He spread his wingspan to draw in Gordon and Sarah, and then clasped Gordon so heartily around the shoulders that the Brit was forced to grab W.’s waist in a shy embrace as they entered the building.
In another attempt to draw a parallel, she reaches for British farce and compares Bush and Brown with P. G. Wodehouse’s comic duo:
Poppy Bush was often compared to Bertie Wooster, and W. seems to have found his own stiff-backed Jeeves. Mr. Brown agreed to send more troops to Afghanistan, put more sanctions on Iran and decide on Iraq troop withdrawals based on conditions on the ground.
First off, Maureen, that was YOU that compared Poppy to Bertie. From a 1995 column titled “The Impression of Green”:
The last Administration was run by Bertie Wooster of Kennebunkport and filled with Top-Sidered Anglophiles.
That aside, in the Jeeves stories, the genial doofus Bertie is constantly having his hare-brained schemes pulled out of the fire by his preternaturally clever manservant. Dubya IS a unaware self-involved bumbling idiot, but Gordon Brown is hardly any genius in disguise and none of their plans have turned into surprise successes. Like most Dowd metaphors, I’m not sure it stands up to much scrutiny beyond its initial quasi-literary recognition value.

Dowd did unveil a new RudeName® for the veep, presumably inspired by the water-drip torture of the continuing leaks over who authorized what in our quest to extract a pound of aggressively interrogated flesh from the enemy combatants we captured.
Or perhaps after working with Torquemada Cheney all these years, W. simply feels more at home in a monarchy.
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, but this metaphor was a little more left-field than usual. Dowd Report correspondent yellojkt did the Torquemada thing much better back when befuddled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was still around.

But Cheney is invoked in the column to rebut one of Dubya’s favorite strawmen:
He said … “There is some who say that perhaps freedom is not universal,” he asserted, adding that he rejected as elitist the notion that “maybe it’s only, you know, white-guy Methodists who are capable of self-government.”
The subject-verb agreement mangled “some” in this case are as nebulous as most of Maureen’s anonymous sources, but she gets in one last zinger.
If there’s one thing W. and Cheney have proved, beyond a sliver of a shadow of a doubt, it’s that at least two white-guy Methodists are not capable of self-government.
Maybe spreading democracy, like charity, should begin at home.


Grace Nearing said...

I'm surprised (or maybe not) Dowd didn't continue with the Jeeves and Wooster analogies and call Cheney Sir Roderick Spode instead of Torquemada. Spode was an enthusiastic if clownish amateur dictator and the leader of a fictional fascist group in London called The Black Shorts. Curiously (or maybe not), Spode also was the proprietor of a women's undergarments emporium.

Dowd can be so scatty sometimes.

yellojkt said...

I've always meant to read a Jeeves book or two. Now that I know they are filled with predictive political punditry, I may have to move them up the list.