Sunday, January 11, 2009

All The President's Minions

America spells competition, join us in our blind ambition
Get yourself a brand new motor car
Someday soon well stop to ponder what on earths this spell we’re under
We made the grade and still we wonder who the hell we are.

-“The Grand Illusion”, Styx

An Extremist Makeover?
Published: January 10, 2009

As the Bush Administration acolytes do their Legacy Lap around the Georgetown Cocktail Party Circuit, Maureen Dowd has been detecting a certain sulfurous odor which she finally places.
In the past week, I’ve twice been close enough to Dick Cheney to kick him in the shins.
Or to blast him the face with a shotgun, but the Secret Service would probably not look kindly on that. At the first incident, she used a Dowdversion® to highlight the irony of Cheney invoking the document he spent so much time undermining.
The first time was Tuesday, when Cheney left the ceremony where he gave the oath of office to senators. {snip} I thought it gave the ceremony a satirical edge to have the lawless Vice presiding over lawmakers swearing to support and defend the Constitution that he soiled and defiled — right in the heart of the legislative branch he worked to diminish.
Within the snip is a comic metaphor that is a tribute to a movie genius.
The senators seemed thrilled, especially Joe Biden, who was getting sworn in for just two weeks and was excitedly showing off a family Bible the size of a Buick.
As the ever-observant nytpicker caught, Woody Allen had writ it three decades earlier.
"Honey, there's a spider in your bathroom the size of a Buick."
-Alvy Singer, "Annie Hall," 1977
But that is not the only Movies With Maureen® moment we get. Dick Cheney himself claims that his villainous reputation is overstated.
He went on to seriously assert that his image as “a private, Darth Vader-type personality” has been “pretty dramatically overdone.”
The Darth Cheney meme is so ‘overdone’ that if you do a Google Image Search simply for “Cheney”, two different photoshops of Dick as the evil overlord make the first page of results.

But no Dr. Evil is without his minions. Maureen found them within the Cheney entourage and identifies them by Rude Name®.
The second time I crossed paths was Thursday night, at a glitzy party at Cafe Milano for Brit Hume, stepping down as a Fox anchor. It required extreme defensive maneuvers — much zigging and zagging — to avoid Cheney, Wolfie and Rummy, all three holding court and blissfully unrepentant about the chaos they’ve unleashed on the world.
Maureen uses fellow Pulitzer Prize winner Bob Woodward to confirm the incredulity of the spinning going on.
“My conscience is clear,” Rummy volunteered to Bob Woodward, talking about how he’s interviewing people for his memoir.

Woodward was stunned. “I was as speechless as I was in July 2006 when I interviewed him and he said he was not a military commander, that he could make the case that he was ‘by indirection, two or three steps removed,’ ” Woodward told me afterward.
And that reminds Maureen of yet another movie villain.
At least Ernst Stavro Blofeld would have the decency just to leave the scene.
And Dowd shares some derision for Dubya for whom she goes Double Dowdversion™ on.
From Gaza to the unemployment figures to the $10.6 trillion debt, things keep spiraling while W. keeps fiddling. Just as when he was in the National Guard and didn’t bother to show up, now, as the scabrous consequences of his missteps shake the economy and the world, he doesn’t bother to show up.
Maureen tries to make “biking through Katrina” the Bush version of “fiddling while Rome burns”.
After he leaves office, W. wants to go on more bike rides, because biking through Katrina was not enough.
She first tried out this metaphor last February when she said:
How could the “compassionate conservative” bike through Katrina?
But like “fetch” from Mean Girls, it just isn’t happening. But back to Cheney, she combined a Rude Name® with an Alliteration Alert® to catalog his Big Lies.
The vamoosing Vice has no apologies about turning America into a country that tortured; indeed, he denies it ever happened. “Torture,” he told [Fred] Barnes, “that word gets thrown around with great abandon.”
And a certain classic rock tune is evoked as Cheney continues to dissemble.
“I think we made good decisions,” he told [Mark] Knoller, adding with even grander delusion, “I think we knew what we were doing.”
And the key to a grand illusion is that the audience can't see the puppeteer perform his tricks or the ventriloquist's sneering lips move.
He protested “the notion that somehow I was pulling strings or making presidential-level decisions. I was not. There was never any question about who was in charge. It was George Bush. And that’s the way we operated. This whole notion that somehow I exceeded my authority here, was usurping his authority, is simply not true. It’s an urban legend, never happened.”
As in the Star Wars saga, there are always two Sith Lords, a master and an apprentice.
The fact that Cheney is now putting all the blame for all the messes squarely on W. shows once more how the bureaucratic master outmaneuvers his younger partner.

Even on his way out, Vice is still on top.
Only if by "on top", you mean morassed in an unending unnecessary war with the economy in shambles. If that was Dick's goal, then he definitely gets to fly the Mission Accomplished banner and Dubya gets to be the stooge stuck with the blame.

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