Jun 22, 2008

May 16, 2008: Raw Politics, The Political Mendoza Line, Bullshit in Cowboy Boots

‘Ol Two-Cows, perhaps the most divisive and certainly the most arrogant political figure in at least a generation did, however, make great strides in uniting the Democratic Party. Rushing to Obama's defense, Senators Joe Biden (D-Del), Jim Webb (D-Va), and Chris Dodd (D-Conn) worked the talk-show circuit, savaging Bush and his Rescumlican surrogates for their remarks. Even Hillary was driven back into the Democratic camp as the president’s remarks, by forcing her to defend her position as well as Obama’s, drove a wedge between the McCain and Clinton camps who were heretofore making common cause against Obama. “Biden, who made waves this week by telling a Politico reporter that Bush’s comments were ‘bull___” [shit],” appeared on ABC’s “This Week” to discuss Bush’s comments before the Israeli Knesset and defend the likely Democratic nominee. ‘“It was so outrageous,” said [the] Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman…”This is raw, raw politics demeaning to the president of the United States of America.” Then Biden proceeded to point out that the Bush Administration has had direct talks with Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi, ‘”a ‘known terrorist’ as Biden put it.”’ (1)

Two other Democratic Senators, Jim Webb and Chris Dodd, “pointed out that previous Republican presidents have met with rogue leaders without giving up the option of military force.” (1) ‘ “If…Bush were to use the right historical example, he should be looking at China in the 1970s,” Webb said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”’ (1) But Joe Biden was the most vociferous in his defense, correctly pointing out that both current Defense Secretary Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have advocated direct talks with Iran moving the Foreign Relations Chairman to coyly suggest that perhaps they should be fired.

“If Bush were to use the right historical example…” Oh my. If Bush had only the slightest idea, the most cursory understanding, perhaps a proper example would have leaped to mind. But one cannot operate on such assumptions in this White House. Remember, this is the very president who, incredulously, asked the Brazilian ambassador, “You have Black people in Brazil?” The problem with ‘Ol Two-Cows is that as his presidency wanes, his polling numbers now dropping below Nixonian levels — the political equivalent of baseball’s ‘Mendoza Line’(2) — his maladroit accusations, explanations and justifications serve only to further solidify his standing as perhaps, short of Zachary Taylor, the most ignorant man ever to occupy the presidential office. Early in this bastard administration, when America was stunned and reeling from the political larceny that brought this man to power, the country exhibited an unwarranted propensity to forgive his malapropisms, and excuse his ignorance as one befitting a Governor of Texas. But with each emerging crisis, and the Chief Executive’s — make that the Great Decider’s — wretched response, it became increasingly obvious that the country was not being led by a man whose native intelligence was betrayed by an inability to master the common language. What became increasingly clear was that his use of language reflected precisely what lay beneath: an empty suit, an intellectually challenged man who presented the Neo-Cons with a blank slate — an empty vessel — into which they could pour or write whatever they wanted. The awful truth is not simply that George W. Bush has no intellectual curiosity. It is that he is not smart enough to be curious, and into his empty head the Neo-Cons could deposit, as Senator Biden calls it, all the ‘bullshit’ that one man can hold. And so the critics of the administration re-emerge as modern Neville Chamberlains playing the wimps to ‘Ol Two-Cows’ John Wayne as Winston Churchill.

Napoleon Bonaparte once described French Foreign Minister Charles de Talleyrand, a man of great political acumen who survived the Ancient Regime, the Revolution, Robespierre, Bonaparte, and the Restoration, as “shit in silk stockings”. ‘Ol Two-Cows, a man of much lesser talents and no political acumen who nevertheless survived two military quagmires, the loss of a major city to a hurricane, two dubious elections, and an imperial vice presidency, can best be described as “bullshit in cowboy boots”.


1. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0508/10432.html.
2. The Mendoza Line is a baseball term referring to “an offensive threshold below which (a) players’ presence in the Major Leagues cannot be justified despite their defensive abilities” The term is said to have been coined by Kansas City Royals’ great George Brett for shortstop Manny Mendoza who hit .198 during the baseball season of 1979. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wikki/Mendoza_Line. Keith Olbermann on his “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” is credited with creating the “Mendoza Line of Presidential politics” while referring to Rudy Giuliani’s withdrawal from the 2008 contest for the Republican Presidential nomination. I suggest that the true “Mendoza Line” was the Nixon approval rating during the waning days of his administration soon to be superseded by the current occupant in the White House.

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