Dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight

Expanded from the Sunday, 4-25-2004, Daily Sparks, Nev., Tribune
4-29-2004 Comstock Chronicle

Fellow members of the multitude of unenlightened and unwashed, pay attention. You are witness to the greatest political campaign in American history. Profs, pundits and pols will be pontificating on this punchout for decades to come.

Bob Woodward — arguably the most credible journalist in the country and half of the legendary Washington Post Woodstein team which toppled Sir Richard the Rotten — has just re-elected Dubya with his new book. Apparently no one else has noticed.

Were these guys nuts to allow the point person from that liberal DC rag into their midst?

Nope. They embedded and bedded Bob Woodward. He furthered their cause, although he was inoculated against Stockholm Syndrome. You won't see him changing his name to Tanya and machine-gunning a bank job for the Condoleeze Liberation Army. But with the best of journalistic intentions, Mr. Woodward has been used like a French wench following Napolean's troops.

To properly view Dubya's grand design, first look at whom the book serves.

Colin Powell has regained some of his tarnished halo. Marginalized while advocating diplomacy, but not fired, his continued presence, along with that of Condomsleeza, shore up the 10 points former Sparks schoolboy Karl Rove hopes to score from black voters.

John Kerry has been pretty much out of the papers for weeks on end. His most forceful response has been declaring "outrageous and unacceptable" the book's allegation that Bush broke the law in shunting some $700 million from fighting bin Laden to the secret plan against Saddam.

Outrageous and, er...unacceptable. I'm gonna take my ball and go home.

The Las Vegas Sun and Review-Journal have already trashed Nevada Democrats for endorsing Bush's impeachment for lying about the reasons for war. (As I recall, the RJ wasn't so easy on Bill Clinton for lying about something wherein no one was killed.)

Laying lying aside, Woodward's book gets the impeachable high crime of misappropriation of funds out on the table way early in the campaign — old news by 5:00 tomorrow.

Lower gas prices this fall, courtesy of our pals in Saudi Arabia? What's not to like? Thank you, Mr. President.

Most folks figure between BigOil and Big Politix they seldom catch a break, so even one as cynical as buying votes is worth returning the favor.

The Saudis and other repressive Islamic regimes get to keep their revolutionaries happy by exporting them to kill Iraqis, Americans, Brits and other infidels, keeping the shooters away from making too much mischief at home.

The book allows Bush to reinforce his TV image as a likable guy while revealing him as a truly decisive man of conviction behind the scenes. He takes orders only from God, not even listening to his own father. (Everybody knows that the first commandment trumps the fourth.)

Orders from God? Boy, is that ever mainstream. That's the plot of "Joan of Arcadia" on uberliberal CBS, fergawdsake! Touched by an angel, St. George of America slays the dragons of Araby. Film at eleven.

Bush reminds me of another presidential contender ironically played by Martin Sheen long before his star turn in "The West Wing."

In Stephen King's "The Dead Zone," Mr. Sheen portrays a messianic, bible-thumping candidate who ends up nuking the world because God so instructed him.

Life imutates art. (A digression to purists: I know how to spell "imitate." "Imutate" was originally a typo but seems to fit the monstrous m.o. of our current national freak show. Maybe God guided my hand.)

Because of Woodward's book, almost all the bad stuff about Dubya will have been printed and all the venters will have vented (Outrageous! Unacceptable!) well before the election. On to the Michael Jackson trial.

The Bushies are so smug that they've even endorsed Woodward's book on their campaign website. Smart marketing.

This regime has been rightly criticized, by no less than Watergate insider John Dean among many others, for being the most secretive in history. Such an outfit doesn't turn leaks into a dam break unless by grand design. Any other view is hopelessly naive.

The proof is in the polls. Bush has reversed Kerry's primary honeymoon lead.

The biggest reason: After all has been said and done, he still looks like a nice, easygoing guy on TV. The rest doesn't matter. (See the Barbwire of last Feb. 8, "Sean Connery for President.")

And don't worry about the body bags. We're losing far fewer than previous wars, so the president is to be congratulated for a superb kill ratio.

Jimmy Carter was a Charlie Brown president but an innovative campaigner. In 1976, he turned his biggest weakness — lack of experience — into the centerpiece of his campaign. Ronald Reagan copied the strategem in 1980 and sent Gimme Jimmy back to the peanut farm.

Thus was spawned an unbroken line of imitators running as "outsiders." This year, both Dubya and Dukakis the Second are terming themselves non-Washingtonians.

The biggest chink in Bush's armor is that he lied to lead us to war. But what if God wanted it that way?

Woodward's book allows His Accidency Bush the Lesser to reposition himself as the self-assured, self-anointed of The Almighty, bringing freedom to the world — even if it kills off much of the world and a good chunk of Americans in the process.

Nicolo Macchiavelli, call your office. A couple of your students just won their doctorates.

And Bush wins re-election by default.

ON TV: Should President Bush be impeached? You may attend the taping of a TV debate on the subject sponsored by the Reno Anti-war Coalition. It will be held at SNCAT (Sierra Nevada Community Access Television), 4024 Kietze Lane in Reno, Monday, April 26. Show up by 7:45 p.m. For more info, contact Lisa Stiller at (775) 852-4958.

This Wednesday, April 28, the Reno Anti-war Coalition will again tape at SNCAT, this time a program about the infamous School of the Americas, the Georgia military base where the United States has trained storm troopers for banana republic dictators for five decades or so. Guests include Father Roy Bourgeois, who has been actively protesting the school, and longtime Nevada peace activist Ellie Hays, who has been arrested while protesting at the SOA site. Taping begins at 8:00 p.m. They are again looking for a studio audience. Fr. Bourgeois is being brought to Reno by the Catholic Life, Peace and Justice Commission.

Cable junkies may also view last week's meeting of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee, which I chair, on SNCAT-13 tonight at 7:00 p.m. and Wednesday, April 28, at 10:00 a..m. In the first half-hour, Councilman Dave Aiazzi defends the city's actions in giving Charter Communications a new 15-year franchise. My rebuttal appears few minutes later.

Tune in, turn on and tell a friend.

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Copyright © 1982-2004 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 35-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of and Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.

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