[Mb-civic] NYTimes.com Article: Cutups and Cutthroats
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Thu Sep 2 11:07:29 PDT 2004
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Cutups and Cutthroats
September 2, 2004
By MAUREEN DOWD
I always enjoy hearing about how a teenage Dick Cheney
stood off to the side with buckets of water to put out
Lynne's flaming batons.
But there was an even better moment during Claire Shipman's
two-part "Good Morning America" interview at the Wyoming
ranch this week. Trying to humanize Dr. No, ABC was let
into the inner sanctum to watch Mr. Cheney take his
4-year-old granddaughter on her first solo horsie ride and
hear how he's teaching his granddaughters fly-fishing.
Ms. Shipman asked the vice president "his greatest guilty
His wife quickly interjected that it was fishing. But we
all know, of course, it's global domination.
It's always amusing to watch Republicans try to get down.
At convention time, they stop bilking Joe Lunchbox to act
like Joe Lunchbox.
How awkward in Columbus, when W., hanging with Jack
Nicklaus, noted that his grandfather was born there, so
they should "send a homeboy back to Washington, D.C." Do
they know a homeboy from a Lawn-Boy?
How you livin', dawg?
And speaking of dawgs, whuddup with
that video of Barney debating that French poodle Fifi Kerry
about taxes? By the time the twins finished their White
House Valley Girl routine, and Karl Rove and Karen Hughes
went all giddy in the sendup, the convention's arc was
Highly scripted screwball moments designed to soothe fears
that the Bushies are bullies alternate with high-octane,
turbo moments designed to stir up fears that we won't be
safe without the Bush bullies.
Unlike the arrogant Boston Kerry strategists, who
focus-grouped and dial-a-metered their convention to death,
scrubbing most of the direct attacks on President Bush, the
arrogant Austin Bush strategists have encouraged their
non-girlie-men speakers to put the pedal to the metal and
flatten the poor Democrat who is windsurfing through his
Despite the fact that the economy is cratering, Iraq is
teetering, Afghanistan is reverting to warlords, Dick
Cheney is glowering at the world, the war on terror has
created more acts of terror, Ahmad Chalabi is an accused
spy for Iran and the Pentagon has an accused spy for
Israel, Republicans felt so good about themselves that when
Arnold Schwarzenegger said he was inspired to become a
Republican by Richard Nixon, they exploded. When Tricky
Dick is a hot applause line, they're feeling cocky.
Republicans are political killers. They are confident that
Americans, in a 9/11 world, are going to be more drawn to
political killers who have made some "miscalculations" on
Iraq, as W. put it, than with a shaggy-haired Vietnam War
protester whom Bush 41 compares to Hanoi Jane.
"I still have great difficulty with his coming back and
making those statements before the Congress and throwing
medals away," the president's father told Don Imus
Republicans know that plunging ahead with a course of
action, even if it becomes obvious it's wrong, is an easier
political sell than flip-flopping, even if it's right.
When the president slipped, admitting that the war on
terror is unwinnable - perhaps recognizing that terror's a
tactic, not an enemy - he had to be saved later by Laura
Bush, who fixed his stumble into nuance. Then Mr. Kerry
made the mistake of responding in Bush black-and-white,
calling the war on terror winnable.
While Democrats whined about the meanies and their Swift
boat attacks, the G.O.P. juggernaut rolled on.
Zell Miller, playing Cotton Mather behind the cross-like
lectern, made Mr. Cheney seem rational, with a maniacal
litany of weapons he said Mr. Kerry had opposed that can
destroy any mud hut in any third world country: B-1 and B-2
bombers, F-14A Tomcats, F-15 Eagles, Patriot and Trident
missiles, and Aegis cruisers.
Just as the "third party" ad effort has been ferocious and
misleading, so have some of the attack speeches here. Dick
Cheney stomped on John Kerry the way he's stomped on the
world. In fact, he stomped on Mr. Kerry for trying to get
along with the world: "He talks about leading 'a more
sensitive war on terror' as though Al Qaeda will be
impressed with our softer side." It's nice to know Mr.
Cheney remembers Al Qaeda.
As others raged, Mr. Bush flew to New York and went to an
Italian community center to eat pizza with Queens firemen.
The homeboy was having a ruthless, but effective, week.
Thomas L. Friedman is on leave until October, writing a
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