Enemy Central regrets to announce that it’s back. And that we misled you. All summer, whenever anyone asked, we’d say, we’re on hiatus, or on vacation, or raising money on behalf of McCain-Feingold. It wasn’t quite that way. We were actually on foreign assignment, looking for a friendly country that might prove willing to give asylum to one Dan Rather.
What a magical mystery tour it proved to be. We visited dream spots, the kind that don’t remind anyone of Travis County. There were Shangri-La and Camelot, which only anti-JFK partisans would ridicule. Dan would love them. True, the former’s elevation could prove a challenge to his blood pressure frequency. As for the former, it appears Al Gore has already ruled there. “A law was made a distant moon ago here/July and August cannot be too hot/And there’s a legal limit to the snow here/In Camelot.” Though perhaps nothing captured the poetic possibilities of the place than the verse, “The rain may never fall ’till after sundown/By eight the morning fog must disappear. In short, there’s simply not a more congenial spot/For happily-ever-aftering than here in Camelot.” If Dan can bring Mary Mapes along, we’ll know soon enough if happily-ever-aftering retains its endless possibilities.
Naturally, not all of our constituents sympathize with our preference for exile in a mythic setting. They want something closer to home, such as the spots offered for a time to the late former Shah of Iran (Panama) or the Democrats’ honorary necklacer, the no longer restored president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide (Jamaica). If Dan must stand the heat, why not go all the way and have him move in as Max Cleland’s prairie dog at the Kerry Embassy outside Crawford, Texas?
Another idyll remains in the offing. On February 24, 2003, Dan auditioned with Saddam Hussein. He even asked him for tips that he now hopes to put to good use. (“Mr. President, have you been offered asylum anywhere? And would you, under any circumstances, consider going into exile to save your people death and destruction?”). Naturally, Dan’s chances of landing in Iraq will improve if Mr. President is restored. Clearly, no disrespect intended, the chemistry between the two was of WMD quality. (“Male Voice: Are you satisfied with translation? Rather: Yes, no, the translation is excellent. It’s superb.”) All along, Dan knew his place: “What do you consider to be the core issues [Mr. President]? You said that I had started — and indeed, I started with the news of the day. But what do you consider to be the core issue, the basic issue?”
We will miss Dan, core and all. Heck, we will miss CBS, Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Eric Sevareid, Roger Mudd, Lesley Stahl, Ed Bradley, Morley Safer — have we forgotten anyone? Sally Quinn? It was probably the finest network ever hatched in integrity and discarded in ignominy. It’s only fitting. Those of us who didn’t live in D.C. at the time always knew it was CBS’s Cronkite News that did in Nixon, not some cub reporters at a local Washington paper. That’s the way it was. The scales of justice take some time to regain balance. Thirty some years after committing treason J.F. Kerry was paid back, with compounded interest, this August. California strongman Arnold Schwarzenegger meanwhile rehabilitated Richard Nixon during the GOP convention. Now with CBS disgraced the Nixon Restoration Project can proceed full speed ahead. Dan might end up wishing Nixon were still in Cambodia, in case no one else will have him. As it is, Dan has claimed to be part of something bigger.
He has two final options. Mike Wallace, we’ve learned, requires the services of someone who will protect him against N.Y. taxi and limousine cops while doubling as a limo-driver. Last, in more ways than one, is J.F. Kerry himself. Ringling Bros. doesn’t operate under such a big tent. By all accounts, the Kerry campaign is led by the most diverse and numerous cohort since the founding of the United Nations. There’s always room, in other words, for still another communications jackass.
Word on the street is that Kerry is more comfortable running from behind. It’s safe to say he’s finally in his comfort zone, as he falls ever farther back. In Florida they’ve already lost count how many times he’s been lapped. But never fear. No matter how much he fades, Dan Rather will anchor his operations with scoop after scoop and other breaking news. And once word gets out that Dan is Enemy Central’s Enemy winner, he’ll rush to meet with him in Paris, where both will immediately be granted asylum.