Saturday, February 26, 2005

Speaking in Trainwrecks With a Pack of Vidiots

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself — Well...How did I get here?
- "Once in a Lifetime", The Talking Heads

Can you imagine if my name had been Mungo Bush?
- Dubya taking shots at a reporter's son's name, while with European journalists at the White House, February 18, 2005

As Somerset Maugham once said, the facts never made a story truer. The delusional and - sometimes - ribald tales of Dubya B. Moron have made for a compelling study into the mind of a 1970s failure turned corporate might-have-been who soon became a fortunate deceiver (while racking up a death toll approaching Idi Amin's), and his is among the most brazen political administrations since ... oh, well ... since Saddam Hussein was found in a spider hole clutching to the hopes of escape from an American unit on patrol in a modest home in a small village, and not in a spider hole as announced by the Tommy Franks wing of the FOXNews junta abroad. At first glance, the story of a brain-dead ferret son of a successful political figure - who in his own words said, "the Oval Office is the kind of place where people stand outside, they're getting ready to come in and tell me what for, and they walk in and get overwhelmed in the atmosphere, and they say, man, you're looking pretty" - will never be regarded as a profoundly thought-provoking or moving political dissertation.

Unless he turns out to be the result of a CIA “mind control experiment” who Daddy traded off for a few greedy years at the top of the food chain, having killed a few enemies of the state in the dark and shadowy world of Cold War espionage during that timeframe when - according to most accounts - he went AWOL from the Air National Guard and reportedly went under the wagon for a couple of strange and recalcitrant years. Even then, at its lowest form, his biography places a harsh and interrogatory light above the American Dream, with America's undying obsession with two of its major forces as its white hot theme: the unbridled power of TV packaging and the government's intelligence apparatus, each of which seems to reach into the dark corners of the other's cottage industry these days, sharing a point in the middle termed, "message convergence".

Dubya has drawn us all into his shady netherworld of half-lies, outright lies, scandal and murder, a world to which he's both addicted and fascinated. He's caught between the Jesus Christ who forgives him and the abject sin he's driven by. And he's torn between the demands of the job of preznut and the light television entertainment he provides on a nightly basis. There isn't a more conflicted man in America, now a prisoner of his own hopeless self-destruction and self-loathing once the long shadows pass midnight in the happy confines of the Big House. His supporters say he has this homespun tell-it-like-it-is vulnerability that gets him into trouble at times, but those of us grounded in reality know the bitter truth. Under that thick veneer of morbid dreadfulness, Dubya still manages to infect them with his own bizarre wavelength of enthusiasm ... which means nothing more than "he was the horse that brought us to the cliff, so we might as well jump off the ledge and join him in the ditch ... because he has been at the helm long enough to realize that it's best for us."

The only flaw in this sense is that Dubya never seems to have aged beyond 25 years, remaining unusually static for a preznut who has been under attack by a terror group, conducted an unpopular war, been torn down by 48% of the people and won a re-election bid by too close a margin to invade anyone else. With such charismatic customers as Redrum Rumsfeld, Condi Rice - and even Allawi, Karzai and Osama Bin Laden in brief cameos - it would have been easy for The Chimperor to take a back seat to the heavy hitters while the complex details could be ironed out between mulligans on the back nine. But Dubya can play his part, too, and he has delivered a breakthrough academy award performance as an undeniably simple and vacant character in the tradition of Chauncey Gardiner from Being There or Forrest Gump where the lovable, benign vidiot extraordinaire grows up amongst the pimps and pushers and fixers and fiends ... then he wakes up to discover that he has become The Preznut of the Red States with all the grace and tone of Jethro Bodine on crank when he told Uncle Jed that he was a "double-knot" spy.

The world of Dubya has become a funny, strange, sad, violent and wonderful daydream, brimming with bold performances by Washington insiders and over-their-head advisors while designed and staged by his political svengali - Karl Rove - with an expansive Speilberg-like cinematic imagination. At the lunatic fringe of the narrative, it might seem like nothing more than a lightweight bedtime story or an over-the-top remake of Smokey and The Bandit with Dr. Phil playing the Jackie Gleason role: A compendium of dumbass sound bytes, spring break girls with more plastic than Mattel and always those bright American colors - greed, fear and gold - but the longer you ride along with the ridiculous vibe the more it seems like an expose on the American soul in all its paranoid, romantic, damaged and delusional wonder.

"Now, if you're a worker who earns 35 dollars a year over your lifetime, and this system were in effect where you could put 4 percent of your payroll taxes in a personal account, and you start at age 20, by the time you retire, your personal account would grow to $250,000. That's compounding rate of interest."
- Dubya, calculating some seriously compounding interest that not even Larry Kudlow could validate! Raleigh, North Carolina, February 10, 2005

In the end - its payoff, if you will - this extraordinary administration is itself a biography of a marginal conman with a sexual identification problem straight out the J. Edgar Hoover School of Overcompensation, haunted deeply by a mad childhood of extreme expectations and petty regrets, who's most likely a nut-job of the highest order. In the stark moonglow, when he's alone, standing before the full length mirror in his skin-tight silk pajamas, Dubya almost wants to admit it: He's careening out of control. Overwhelmed. Wondering when the rumors will finally catch up to him. What remains, though, is something much stranger and extravagant than that: a crazed tale of deception gone terminal, a Horatio Alger tale of bootstrap success thrown a curveball by way of a blind trust fund, a Greek drama on cocaine or methodone.

Dubya's fantasies about being a Jesus Christ's intelligent agent - while butchering the very gospel he repeatedly leans upon, now that Jeff Gannon has retreated to the ... ahem ... bowels of the White House spin operation - are so overblown and ridiculous that they don't even seem pathetic. These vain attempts at justification are just about as linked to reality as the strikingly similar delusions suffered by Pol Pot or Osama Bin Laden; in each case there is some exotic combination of deep-seated mental illness and a powerful, tormented brain feeding on uncontrolled guilt and shame. The good news for the Rethugs has been that Dubya was the guy who realized that game show politics and Jerry Springer-style punditry hadn't arrived at the lowest common denominator in the Year of Our Lord 2004, and that the average American's political thought process hadn't evolved much beyond a vile hunger for salaciousness and rank humiliation, which at that fork in the road became the quest to destroy gay marriage, when a normal heterosexual would probably take some advise from Nancy Reagan and "Just Say No".

But considering that this is a story about Dubya, there's never even a hint of freak-show condescension from the normal media outlets, nor the heavy-handed moralizing that Clinton's indiscretions would have brought to the subject. Not even a whimper of regret, as our Will Rogers of American trash kills off what's left of our national credibility with the same level of dignity and compassion that John Wayne Gacy did for the deceased.

[ edited on March 9, 2005 ]


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