Thanks to the Dred Gore decision, the long national nightmare has begun. Just in case you were wondering, it's all your fault. Mine too, but yours, don't forget. For not believing enough in the Republican dream of a country where meat-gorging, beer-swilling, child-beating, church-going, tax-escaping, freely-gunned, mass-execution-causing, voucher-paid privately-educated white suburban citizens make money together, they had to take the election away from us.
Now they're supposed to have achieved the allegiance of the doubting majority on Electoral Disgrace Day, I mean, January 20th. It was being said by certain establishment journalists that Snippy had a good inaugural address because it was written by Michael Gerson, the ex-US Snooze reporter who wrote his convention acceptance speech. Somehow this was supposed to translate into a new dawn in the White House, etc.
Pardon while I puke. The Republicans have a long history of writing good speeches to be delivered by talking dummies, e.g. Eisenhower, Reagan, Poppy, and now Snippy. I'd prefer to be surprised by Snippy turning out better than his antecedents, practices, and method of ascension give us any right to expect, rather than by any puffs of breath he might have managed to mouth.
We have here an administration of all the talents, as it used to be called in Europe whenever the King was weak. The weakest of all Kings were boys whose natural immature tendency to govern according to personal whim had to be restrained by more experienced hands. The Kingdom would be run by a Regent, or Council of Regents. They were usually uncles or brothers-in-law, as who should say, mentors. They acted in the King's name. Made war, or peace, or levied taxes, or regulated trade, or put down citizen uprisings. Or caused them, as the case may be. As the nobles fought for the ear of the Regent, the incapable King himself became merely a body over the possession of which conflicting powers struggled.
The Republicans have already had a Regency in the House for two years, where Speaker Dennis (Invertebrate) Hastert is a figurehead manipulated by Majority Whip DDTom Delay. Now Snippy, who seems proud of keeping to the inert working schedule he established in Austin, has so many mentors that you wonder how he'll have time to learn from any of them.
Shakespeare's sense of order led him to excoriate Regencies as being an inherently unstable form of government. Four of his plays especially illustrate these evils: Measure for Measure and the three parts of Henry VI. In Henry VI Parts I, II and III the evil facing the state, which neither King nor Regents are strong enough to handle, is loss of foreign empire and infighting that leads to civil war and rebellion. In Measure for Measure the Duke deputizes his favorite courtier to run the state while the real Duke leaves for awhile. Power immediately goes to the courtier's head and he capriciously uses his official status to satisfy personal preferences. The state is thrown into turmoil because the Duke wouldn't, and the Regent couldn't, do his job. Shakespeare always favored the discipline of consequences, a rigor that might well soon be contemplated by His Disreputability, the Inferior Justice of the Inferior Court, and others in his debt.
This administration's attempts at disaster avoidance will, I trust, prove amusing, though they cannot prove successful. The fatally weakened presidency the Republicans wanted to achieve with Clinton has finally arrived with Snippy. Meantime, it is too soon to tell where disaster will strike. As Hobbes said to Calvin, we can't question his integrity until we have some evidence of it. But certain fault lines may prove predictive.
First, it is probable-to-certain that US troops will be killing foreign civilians and troops within 18 months. The only question is, where? It could be in Colombia, where the population has been sufficiently demonized as narco-terrorists that US media would not notice until tens of thousands of natives, or one American soldier, had been killed. It may be in Afghanistan, where the anti-Muslim propaganda machine (see media, above) has identified Osama bin Laden as a worth target for US bullets or, failing him, anybody that gets in the way. Or will it be Iraq, where Saddam Hussein is the heir to Muhammar Qadaffi and the Ayatollah Khomeini as the US Cartoon Villain Figure Numero Uno? Which war first? Or will it be more than one? I'm sure they'll let Snippy know just as soon as they tell the rest of us.
Second, despite their haste to declare, and even cause, a recession in order to restore growth by reelection time, the Republicans' favored tax cut medicine will only make the disease worse. This won't stop them, but the Democrats just might, more out of contrariness than any economic understanding of the necessity for infrastructural spending in time of recession.
Third, some point during the statutory 96 months of this administration is likely to witness the replacement of either Snippy or Cheney. The probable causes are heart attack, hunting accident, impeachment, or addiction. Snippy and Cheney have 3 DWI arrests between them, though they are safe from that since they will be Secret Service driven from now on.
A spate of new terms has greeted Snippy's well-documented habit of diminishing newsmen by giving them nicknames. We, the people, have started returning the favor with such vigor that there are already more popularly-generated names for Snippy than there were for Clinton at the end of his first term. By the end of his single term Snippy may well turn out to have more nicknames than he has personality to go with them.
James McCarty Yeager can be reached in email at firstname.lastname@example.org.