International Writers Magazine: Reality Check
we will begin the coronation on what has in recent years proven
to be, if nothing else, an entertaining embarrassment: The Second
Term. Seeing how second terms have not been kind to any president
in my lifetime, to say I have every confidence it will end in
disaster is to barely scratch the surface of the girlish excitement
that rattles my bones.
Andy Card resigns
And those who didn't
live through Watergate, Iran-Contra, or may have forgotten the beauty
of 15 months of Monica Lewinsky and Kenneth Starr, could not fully understand
the opportunity it provides cynical old political junkies like myself."
Andy Card is small potatoes. As Chief of Staff, he was impotent in this
whole mess, and his sacking (resignation/firing/retirement) will be
of small significance to any proposed "shake-up" the frightened
Republicans on the Hill have been calling for. Seven months remain for
the GOP to defend its power in Congress, seven months for this president
to rise from the ashes as another second-term causality, and seven months
for things to appear radically different before the hammer comes down
and the wheels spin in the other direction.
History tells us it's sooner than later, but I maintain, with redistricting
and retirements and other unforeseen mishaps this summer, it will be
nearly impossible for the Democrats to take back the legislative branch
of this government and put the Bush Cabal up on trial, as fun and apt
as all of that might seem. But it doesn't mean the dents have not become
irrevocably deep or there isn't this one-way-street type of speed-addled
careening out-of-control vibe that has taken hold in the Beltway now.
Reversals are out in '06. It's time to stand in the fire and take it
So this Reaganian dumping of the main staffer, Card, for damaged goods,
budget director, Josh Bolten, doesn't have the same resonance it once
did. Donald Regan had the old man's back, making calls, smoothing over
the curious. He had to go. Iran-Contra was patently criminal.
Wrong, for sure, but with a gargantuan heaping of corporate arrogance
that ended up ceremoniously defecated on the Constitution. It was not
lying about war, or reactionary John Wayne tactics, or the badly formulated
war-hawk nonsense we have here. This is fucked, yeah. The sheen is off
the apple, jack, but it ain't enough bloodletting for yours truly.
A lot more people are going to have to go to jail for that to happen,
and that is not going to happen. Not on this planet, smoky. Down here
we lobby with gusto, provide the lip service, and then throw the mild
mannered to the wolves. Good advice if you're taking on water, can't
get the vehicle up to speed. Survival guide tactics; throw off the useless
weight, and then, according to our boy president, the new baggage will
be in charge of cleaning some more house. According to former adviser
to both Bushes, Mary Matlin, "The president's given (Bolten) full
license to remove or to recalibrate for the purposes of re-energizing
and getting our mojo back." Matlin went on to tell CBS News there
would be more changes, but what that would do in regards to "changing
any mojo", she was not entirely certain.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist told the Washington Post, Bolten "rides
motorcycles" or some other insignificant claptrap, and that's good
enough for me. I'm used to it. It tickles me in the private places I
enjoy. But where is the mojo, son? Gone hiking with the credibility
sherpa and a parade of hungry huskies trying to get the hell out of
here before the final shovel-full of dirt comes down?
Holy shit, that was way too many conflicting metaphors, even for this
space. Ignore it. They're only words, like mojo, or budget director
or recalibrate. None of them have anything to do with the fallout that
is The Second Term. They're merely symptoms, like the media.
Ahhh, the ugliness has now hit home. It ain't the media after all. We
came late to the dance. We gave this gaggle of hubris-mongers a free
pass, and now lookie here, it's a goddamn gaffe and the approval ratings
are Nixonian and Carteresque, and soon when the history comes due on
this rampant disjoint generations will wonder who the hell was minding
the store. Look, Card had nothing to do with the run-up on Iraq or the
fallout of Katrina or the Dubai extravaganza or the Medicare Bill that
will soon reap the whirlwind of bankruptcy. He did not have his fingerprints
on anything to do with sailing past the law of the land on wire-tapping
the citizenry, which is likely to end in impeachment proceedings unless
the Democrats are left out of the barn. And this country is not ready
for any kind of reprimand or even censure of the commander in chief.
People still basically like Bush, they just think he is a lousy president,
like everyone around here loving former NY Jets coach, Herm Edwards.
He was a funny guy, likable, the kind of chap you want over for a beer.
He just couldn't coach a football team worth a damn.
And speaking of sports farces, this whole cleaning house/infusing new
blood stuff on Pennsylvania Avenue is as flaccid as Major League Baseball's
"investigation" into steroid use. What a joke this is. What
are they investigating, something we already know? Too late, bub. Genie
has left the bottle never to return. I have a good idea, let's take
away home run records and pennants and MVP awards, and let's get all
the owners to give back all the money these chemical spills brought
in, then let's run the commissioner out of town on a rail.
You know what this all is, you fans of politics and baseball?
White noise. Muzak to relax yo mind and float downstream.
Tap your foot and get in step.
© James Campion April 3rd 2006
James Campion the author of "Deep Tank Jersey", "Fear
No Art" and "Trailing Jesus"
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