In Week 77 of the rush to war with Iraq, George W. Bush remains the War League's leader in number of rushing carries if not yards gained. But it's hard to run against a fat front four of Jennings, Chirac, Schroeder and Saddam. Some question Bush's blocking. Blair and Wolfowitz make terrific scatbacks, but they're not exactly pulling guards. Perle has the size, but he has never bothered to get in shape. Bennett, mysteriously, remains on the inactive list. Powell, though an excellent tight end, has yet to master the smash-mouth style of what passes for winning football these days. Finally, Rumsfeld, for all his reputation as an offensive coordinator, remains untested in the field. For some reason a lot of military men don't want to play for him.
Adding to the sluggish ground game is the ugly atmosphere in which Mr. Bush has to conduct his business. West Europe's fans are the worst, loathing America's team with a blind fury, even though they don't know the first thing about helmeted football. But it doesn't stop there. As a German writer who's been leading cheers against the U.S. told the New York Times, "I know many Americans who are also anti-American." Don't we all, but we just call them Democrats.
(Now watch us get whistled for a late hit, or what the Dems would call a hate crime. Then they'd try to get us fined and suspended. Ya gotta love 'em. Compassionate conservatism requires nothing less.)
Incidentally, President Bush is responsible for more than a snail-speed rushing game. Take two front section reports in Friday's Washington Post. One mentions his "controversial tax cuts." Another discusses anti-tax riots in Bolivia, where locals are resisting President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada's efforts to impose an income tax on the developing citizenry. It's not hard to put two and two together. By denigrating taxes, as he has denigrated Saddam, Mr. Bush has increased the level of tension, violence, and civic irresponsibility in the world.
Even Prince Charles has had enough, letting it be known that he stands in solidarity with all Saudi princelings and their acute fear of American imperialism and Zionist expansionism. Other than Camilla Parker Bowles, naturally, one of his closest friends is said to be former Saudi ambassador to the U.K. Ghazi Algosaibi, who doubles as a poet when the occasion calls for tributes to female suicide bombers. Algosaibi also compares Israelis to Nazis, regardless of the risk such a view might bring to Saudi-German relations. At this rate, how long before Prince Charles begins shopping at Harrods again?
Meanwhile, Bolivia's President Sanchez de Lozada has nothing to lose. If his tax gambit fails, he can count on U.S. Senate Democrats to have him appointed to a federal judgeship in the United States. He won't have to worry about any Philly buster. Tampa's Buccaneers played that role last month, but it's now their off season.
In the boo-hoo corner, Sean Penn is complaining that his recent pilgrimage to Iraq has cost him a major role in the upcoming anti-gay marriage thriller, "Why Men Shouldn't Marry." Which is too bad, given Penn's long experience in marrying and unmarrying. But we see what John le Carré meant when he complained about new McCarthyism in the U.S. What will really upset us is if Penn is blacklisted from starring in the lead role of any Patton remake. On second thought, he'd have to shave his head for that part, which means he'd come out looking more like Patton's faithful bull terrier. It would take a Saddam to persuade him to play the mutt.
We owe the networks a big apology. As do you. The other night, they sacrificed precious air time that could have been devoted to sniping at Mr. Bush's war plans and economic woes to fan public hysteria about impending attacks on the nation's capital and perhaps elsewhere. People rushed to the stores to buy out whatever they might find in stock. They busily acquired new skills in home maintenance and strategic planning. They had their SUVs retuned and refueled. The economy hasn't enjoyed such stimulus since the days of Coolidge and Reagan. So thanks, Dan, Tom, Peter, for getting America moving again.
And just so no can accuse them of shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater, let the record show that Washington indeed will be under siege this weekend, starting with the first wave of attacks Friday night, to be followed by stronger attacks on Saturday and a possible all-out onslaught on Sunday. We only hope our lifetime supplies of duct tape can protect us from the approaching ice and snow. But even if not, we'll use it to tape up the mouths of all those Enemy of the Week Dan, Tom, Peter and Harry's who wouldn't stop shrieking about great terrorist blobs in our midst. What they forget, as the slow-footed Bush does not, is that before the blobs get us we'll have gotten them.
At least that's the plan.
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