Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Real men don’t kiss princes
Gene Lyons

Posted on Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Color my neck red, but was I the only one flabbergasted to see
President Bush at his Texas ranch holding hands with Crown Prince
Abdullah of Saudi Arabia? No wonder his poll numbers are tanking.
In Texas, "real men" hold hands only in football huddles, if ever. Not
to mention that to the GOP "base," the U.S. is at war with all A-Rabs.
That’s how they were tricked into thinking that Osama bin Laden
and Saddam Hussein were the same guy. Actually, many newspapers
ignored the photos.

Editors saw no news value in Bush’s kissing an Arab potentate’s cheek.
Even The New York Times stipulated that "in the Arab world, affection
among men is common, and without sexual connotation." Glad to have
that straight. Instead, such gestures convey personal regard and "equality
in status." The photo op was staged more for the prince’s subjects than
for Bush’s constituents. Even so, what were Bush’s handlers thinking?
By adopting Arab customs in Texas, didn’t he risk looking like Abdullah’s
humble servant? With gasoline nearing $3 per gallon and Saudi royals wallowing
in cash up to their perfumed beards, solidarity with a corrupt
dictatorship might not send the right message. Not with Americans
fighting to bring democracy to neighboring Iraq and 57 percent of
voters in a recent CNN/USA Today poll saying it’s not worth the sacrifice.

But there I go again, satirizing the Bush personality cult. That
guarantees a barrage of communications from strangers impugning my
motives and declaring me psychologically unhinged. Only bitter, unhappy
people fail to apprehend Bush’s greatness. I even heard from a woman
friend chastising me for slipping Bush jokes into a non-political
column. I had to check the mirror to be sure a time warp hadn’t carried
me back to junior high. Nope. White hair, brown teeth. Still 2005.

Not that I’m whining. To quote our president: "Bring it on." It’s
always astonishing to observe the logical contortions of people
determined to see greatness in this paradoxically smug, frightened
little man. Here’s a guy who can’t face a "town hall" meeting on
Social Security without a screened audience, scripted questions
and the Secret Service escorting suspected Democrats to the exits,
and he’s a hero?

Even I took comfort, however, in first lady Laura Bush’s knockout
comedy routine at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.
Admittedly, I’m kind of sweet on Laura. She talks just like my sainted
wife, and there’s a faint resemblance. (Very faint, dear. Please don’t
shoot.) The subtext of her jokes, though, got too close to the bone for
some of her husband’s supporters. "How many scores did she settle—with
her own side?" wondered the American Spectator. "She mocked Dick
Cheney’s tricky health. She depicted Mrs. Cheney as a male strip club
tipper. She described the three architects of the Iraq war as butchers
and brutes. This is what passes for humor while we still have soldiers
dying in Iraq? Her clincher of a laugh line —‘ George, if you really
want to end tyranny in the world, you’re going to have to stay up
later’—reduced her husband’s singular goal to nothingness."

Oh, come on. So she laughed about being a "Desperate Housewife." Does
anybody really think she and Lynne Cheney went to see the Chippendales?
Besides, the jokes that really hit home were the ones about Bush family
values. "So many mothers today are just not involved in their
children’s lives," she said. "Not a problem with Barbara Bush. People often
wonder what my motherin-law’s really like. People think she’s a sweet,
grandmotherly, Aunt Bea type. She’s actually more like, mmm —[pause]
Don Corleone."

That drew a favorable response from Kitty Kelley, whose recent book
"The Family" angered Bush supporters. "I’ve described the Bushes as a cross
between ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘ The Donna Reed Show, ’" she said. "Laura
described her mother-in-law as Don Corleone. I see Barbara Bush more as
Tony Soprano." Hence, the hand-holding with Prince Abdullah,
incidentally. The Bush family fortune depends as much on Saudi oil as
Tony Soprano’s does on garbage trucks. Anyhow, to me, the biggest laugh
getter was the one about the iconic ranch Bush acquired in 1999.
"George didn’t know much about ranches when we bought the place," said
Laura, a native Texan. "Andover and Yale don’t have a real strong ranching
program. But I’m proud of George. He’s learned a lot about ranching
since that first year when he tried to milk the horse. What’s worse, it
was a male horse." No, people, it wasn’t a masturbation joke. One pull
and you’d get kicked in the head, which would explain a lot. It was a
golf-cart cowboy joke. And if you bought the illusion of Cowboy W.,
then the joke’s on you. Meanwhile, the best thing I can say about Bush is
that he was laughing, too.
–––––—Free-lance columnist Gene Lyons is a Little Rock author and
recipient of the National Magazine Award.


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