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Surely It Can’t Get Any Worse?

“Have you seen Dignity?”
— Bob Dylan

“Qui peut dire?”
— Francoise Hardy

These are the times that try most anything. You think it can’t get any worse, but somehow it always does. The past ten days or so have outdone themselves. I swear to the San Diego Chicken, an American Voltaire could not have made this stuff up.

Mohammed al-Rehaief, the Iraqi lawyer who reportedly took great risks to help free Jessica Lynch, visited Pvt. Lynch’s hometown and was told by her lawyer that the woman whose life he may have saved was “too busy” to receive him.

Meanwhile, California Gov.-Elect Arnold Schwarzenegger is hiring a private investigator to look into allegations that he groped a number of women. What are we to believe? That Schwarzenegger is determined, by God, to find out once and for all whether he ever groped anyone? Think that would fly? With California, all things are possible. Or could it be that he is actually investigating the women who have come forward and reported the allegations? Heaven forbid that anyone should feel “intimidated” by this investigation.

Perhaps Arnold is like unto Bonzi Wells, of the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team, who says he cannot recall doing anything like giving the finger to a paying customer, even though he was caught on camera, but that he was “probably wrong” if he did any such thing, but then again he “blacks out sometimes” (wink wink).

Wells actually did wink at reporters, on camera. It is not known whether Arnold winked at any of the women who say he groped them. Perhaps the “investigation” will shed light.

Far from California, President Bush described Mississippi Gov.-Elect Haley Barbour as the anti-Arnold, “a man of faith and values” who “honors his family” and “treasures his relationship with the Almighty.”

Almighty Bush, that is.

Some of the more spiritual “values” displayed by Barbour in his successful race included using the Confederate Battle Flag in his campaign literature and allowing his photo to be displayed on the home page of the openly-racist Council of Conservative Citizens.

No sooner had the networks called the race for Barbour than Democratic presidential frontrunner Howard Dean announced that he, too, wanted the votes of white Southerners with Confederate flags on their pickups.

You knew he was going to veer to the right, of course you did, admit it. You just thought he’d lock up the nomination first. Maybe he thinks he’s already done it.

CBS cancelled plans to run a docubiomentary on the Reagans. Demonstrating a perfect understanding of where it now stood with regard to the word “credibility,” CBS assured us with a robotically straight face that the decision to spike the program had NOTHING, nothing WHATEVER, nothing at ALL to do with pressure from the political right. It was just that the portrayal lacked “balance.”

You have to go back to the time a hack political appointee who was also a religious nut stuck the words “In God We Trust” on our money to find anything as twisted as this hysterical right-wing defense of All Things Reagan. To these fanatics, saying anything against Reagan is as bad as Sinead O’Connor tearing up the pope’s picture on Saturday Night Live.

Well, try this on for balance, folks: anyone with the slightest intelligence knows that Reagan was a vicious dolt. He should have gone straight from the White House to federal prison, and it will take the country decades to recover from the self-inflicted humiliation of having once (much less twice) elected him.

Back to the present: Dennis Kucinich, the anti-Reagan, managed to turn a debate appearance into a personals ad. After describing his ideal mate and First Lady, D. K. got off by far the most memorable line of the entire political season: “If you’re out there, call me.”

At the same debate, John Kerry twice began his closing statement while another candidate was talking. What was he thinking? Where did he think he was? The word “gork” comes to mind (gork–noun, a person with unknown ailments; acronym for God Only Really Knows).

Far from New Hampshire, John McCain warned of potential “global U.S. defeat on the scale of Vietnam.”

George W. Bush was having none of it. The commander-in-chief continued to maintain (not so much by his words, which no sensible person can bear to listen to anymore, as by his failure to attend a single memorial service and by virtue of a ban on news photographs of military caskets) that no one, no one at all, had died in Iraq.

An hour spent changing channels appeared to confirm the White House view, turning up nothing much but commentary on the Laci Peterson case.

Surely, surely it cannot get any worse …

DAVID VEST writes the Rebel Angel column for CounterPunch. He and his band, The Willing Victims, just released a scorching new CD, Way Down Here.

He can be reached at: davidvest@springmail.com

Visit his website at http://www.rebelangel.com

 

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DAVID VEST writes the Rebel Angel column for CounterPunch. He and his band, The Willing Victims, have just released a scorching new CD, Serve Me Right to Shuffle. His essay on Tammy Wynette is featured in CounterPunch’s new collection on art, music and sex, Serpents in the Garden.

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