Enemy of the Week

Swing and a Miss

Anyone still rooting for America's home team?

8.30.02

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Such terrible news. On several fronts. There'll be no baseball strike. The games will go on as scheduled. Players will remain in uniform. Umpires will continue to bully. Managers and coaches will still be allowed to expectorate. Owners will renew efforts to evade luxury taxes. Players will get richer. Clubhouse attendants will get poorer. Fans won't even be able to afford stadium parking fees, let alone the price of peanuts and cracker jacks. And Colin Powell and his antiwar friends will see the 11th hour settlement as a victory for them.

That's because a victory for them means salvation for Saddam. He, like any self-respecting baseball historian, knows darn well that the last time the U.S. experienced a long-term baseball stoppage the country was in a serious state of war. Thus the sight of major-leaguers in uniform in Yankee Stadium must mean there'll no sightings of uniformed GI's in Baghdad. Saddam is safe at home. That's the call. It's that simple. And that outrageous, unacceptable and dangerous.

Besides, the specter of more fun and games means America's teens will never complete their summer homework assignments before heading back to school in earnest after Labor Day. In a major concession some years ago when every child in the land threatened to go on strike against schools that taught him everything except what he needed to know, teachers' unions agreed young people would be better off teaching themselves during the summer than having to be force-fed by Democratic Party activists. Little did those unsuspecting youngsters realize that their summer reading lists would also be products of the DNC. The bad faith will carry over into the new school year. The victimized might not open a book until next summer.

It also promises to be a long and barren year in Saudi Arabia, which hasn't been receiving the favorable calls enjoyed by Saddam. In a gauche effort to bribe its way to luxury-box respectability, the Saudi government has offered to hand ownership of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem to the families of September 11 victims. Given the number of victims involved, that wouldn't amount to too many oats per family, and so it's not an offer likely to attain trotting speed. But it does raise new questions about the sudden death of Prince Ahmed bin Salman, War Emblem's forty-something owner, last July. Did he give up the ghost for refusing to give up the horse? In Riyadh, that would be considered a rhetorical question.

Some nags you can't rein in. Horse country's man in the Senate, the Hon. John Warner, has decided to demand from Defense Secretariat Donald Rumsfeld a full explanation about why it is that some renegade forces in the current administration are so hot to hunt down Iraq's favorite fox. Sen. Warner, it will be recalled, is the man Elizabeth Taylor left for Michael Jackson.

An unpaid adviser to Secretary of State Powell received a five-gun salute from reporters covering him when in a speech in Tallahassee, Florida, he criticized administration arguments about the Middle East. Not until now has this suddenly famous adviser -- an odds on favorite to win this year's Nobel Peace Prize, unless War Emblem comes from behind -- ever been nicknamed Zinni the Pooh.

In an effort to stave off impeachment, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta sought permission to suspend flights over Washington and Somerset, Pennsylvania, next September 11. He apparently has been overruled by the president himself. Unlucky for Norm, he's not even related to Prince Bandar. But then again Prince Bandar is someone worthy of respect, given he knew how to wangle an invitation to the Crawford ranch whereas the esteemed Hillary Clinton could not. Fortunately, thanks to the Media Research Center, we have Senatoress Clinton immortalized on tape -- being booed at a 9/11 benefit last fall, which jeers quickly turned into cheers in VH1's replays of the event. We look forward to VH1's broadcasts of Hillary's next European and how it will interpret the whistling her presence is bound to set off.

Sadly, another bubble has burst. For the longest time our prince of president was enjoying ratings higher than George Washington and Abraham Lincoln's combined. But now they've come down to lower latitudes, somewhere in the vicinity of Dwight Eisenhower's and Ronald Reagan's. But that's still a big comedown. Not to Phil Donahue levels, to be sure, though that's where this week's EOW's would like to seem them level off. So long as they were scared the terrorists were coming they gave him blind approval. But now that he's allowed them to feel safe again they've decided they don't need him. So all you fickle Independents and Democrats -- savor your prize. Next week will be the first after Labor Day and, as the saying goes, that's when our politics will become serious.

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