Enemy of the Week

Fools of the Trade

We live in patriotic times.

3.7.03

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Just before the U.N. trading deadline, moved by Dominique de Villepin's expressions of concern for "American boys," le petit garçon Michel Jaqueson ( Michael Jackson Cinq) has been traded to France, where he will take up residence in a bewitching palais. Though not yet confirmed, word is that he's been traded for a man the high-living Taki once called the "pocket Pole pedophile," none other than Roman Polanski who is said to be looking for any way to get back to Hollywood in time for this year's Oscars. There is a nose connection. Jackson once had one; Polanski, in Chinatown, famously almost cut one off, promising next time to "feet it to my goldfeesh."

Now that's entertainment, though nothing like what CBS has in store for patriotic viewers. On the one hand, Bill Clinton, on the other, Bob Dole, matching wits for 90 whole seconds or so each week. It's a pairing made in heaven: Clinton never knew when to quit, Dole never knew not to quip. Dole comes in heavily favored: Years ago he did a point-counterpoint with Sen. Ted Kennedy on a Beltway news radio station. Each had a perfect record: wasn't a time that either ever won. Now Clinton is going to be pounded. So far he's effectively dodged charges that he bombed an aspirin factory in the Sudan. But when Bob Dole cracks that it was actually a Viagra factory fueled by Archer Daniels Midland, Bill's usual denials will no longer wash. Not that the two will have anything more to talk about, unless it's their wives. Anyone for "Take my wife, please"?

In fact, to expedite the process, Bob Dole should invite Bill over to tea next time Elizabeth is free. It would be quite an event, having Bill visiting the Doles at the Watergate, right next door to the apartment once filled with Monica L. and the gifts she collected from a secret admirer.

But let's not wallow in the past, lest it come back to haunt us much as it's debilitating the formerly Irish Sen. John Kerry. The bilious Boston Globe this week unearthed secret documents confirming Kerry is lying when he now insists he's never claimed Irish ancestry. For it's right there in the Congressional Record, an entry from March 18, 1986, in which Kerry speaks of "we" who are "are fortunate to share an Irish ancestry." Not so fast, an aide named Kelley (hmm) insists. Kerry never said what the official congressional record claims he said. The remarks were written by a staffer who submitted them to a clerk for recording, entirely without Kerry's knowledge.

Kerry thus qualifies for the major leagues, joining a whale of a Yankee pitcher named David Wells, who denied any knowledge of boasts made in his new autobiography about his drunken, hungover ways the day he pitched a perfect game. So who's perfect, unless we have in mind Peter Jennings. But even he let his New York friends down this week when he ran an unusually critical report on the well-intended policies of Joseph Stalin. Stalin, Peter said, killed millions of his countrymen. (He could have said tens of millions, but that would have sounded anti-Communist.) He did not, unfortunately, produce any smoking gun. Nor was it clear that he had U.N. permission to file that report. Above all, he never noted how hard Stalin tried to keep his country out of war, upsetting as that might have been to Hitler's allies in the Arab world. Stalin, according to new scholarship, didn't die a natural death 50 years ago. It now appears his closest backers injected a weapon of mass destruction into his bloodstream. So he died, missing out on a chance to lead an invasion of Hungary in 1956.

Perfect Peter suffered another setback when on Thursday night President Bush held a primetime news conference. Peter doesn't like it when Bush meets the press since it means he can't complain about Bush avoiding the press. The pressies were on their best behavior. Some even took to calling Mr. Bush "sir" or "Mr. President." That certainly didn't go over with Chirac's man, David Gregory, who bit through his tongue to refrain from delivering his insults in French. Bush got in a few licks of his own, ignoring the inspiring presence of Helen Thomas and even that of a Washington Post reporter parked in the front row. Said reporter, Mike Allen, retaliated with a nasty write-up in Friday's editions describing Bush's war aims as facing "increasingly insistent opposition from allies [who they?] and (growing) skepticism at home."

But that was nothing like the cool reception Sir Bush yet again received from Peter's delegate to the press conference, Terry Moran. "I ask," he proclaimed. "What went wrong that so many governments and peoples around the world now not only disagree with you very strongly, but see the U.S. under your leadership as an arrogant power?" Moran is a human projection screen. Well before the world picked up on it he's been an arrogant power all by his lonesome, and he's not eager to share in that characteristic with anyone. Which explains why he's a solo Enemy of the Week. For further explanation, just watch him in action as ABC News' White House correspondent. Any of you ever seen him flash a smile? If you have, you could win a two-week French vacation, to be financed by booty captured in Iraq.

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