For a moment we never knew we had it so good. "Ah, to be so fortunate as to pick your enemies," the Washington Post's political gossip reporter Al Kamen wrote on Friday. Alas, he was referring not to Enemy Central's weekly ritual, but the State Department and its top brass's attacks on the (Dis-)Hon. Newt Gingrich, for Newtie's attacks on them earlier this week. Deputy Sec. of State Richard Armitage, rejecting arbitrage, said: "It's clear that Mr. Gingrich is off his meds and out of therapy." And here we thought it's only the Soviets who imposed psychiatric drugs on dissidents.
True, Newt has a lot to answer for, particularly since he dropped his carpet bomb on Colin Powell & Co. on behalf of the same think tank whose recent annual dinner was graced by the presence of none other than Powell's commander in chief. (Political thanks in Washington comes in all shapes and sizes.) To add injury to insult, Newt later added that he opposed personalizing policy differences and denied having attacked the man he'd eviscerated. Nor did he take into account that Powell has carried out every order given him by his president. Or that it wasn't the State Department who'd lost Turkey but rather some of Newt's fellow warriors. The lesson for neocon Newt: If the Bush White House wanted to air dirty laundry in public, there'd be a clothes line on the South Lawn.
Luckily for old Newt, the fab libs have moved on. Their roast on the spit this week was long-basting Sen. Rick Santorum, a juicy target since at least 1994. It's a social thing: He's not one of them. As Bob Kerrey once said after a date with Debra Winger: "Santorum? Is that Latin for asshole?" No, Bob, it's Latin for pro-life, one major reason he's ridiculed and loathed.
Of course, Santorum must share in the blame. Years ago, John Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz, complained that Santorum is "indifferent to nuance." So in an interview he attempted to impress a reporter with his command of gray areas: He felt it would be "big of me" to single out bigamy, polygamy, and adultery as nuancal correlatives of behavioral substructures implicated by juridical revisitings of anti-sodomy statutes, codes, and juristical clauses. Instead of nominating him for a Rhodes scholarship or Nobel Prize, the beautiful people reared back in horror. Typical of the terrified lynch mob was columnist Richard Cohen, who called him a "moron." Richard remains worried that Rick will criminalize adultery. Richard must live in a guilt-ridden neighborhood. According to his researches, "police would have far less work if they raided homes on suspicion of fidelity."
There's lots of guilt to go around. Tariq Aziz turned himself in, the first time he's ever been unfaithful to Saddam if you don't count his recent fling with Peter Jennings. George Galloway, a Labour MP who may or may not have met with Bill Clinton before or after Clinton's secret meetings with LaTonya Blair, has been implicated in official documents suggesting huge Saddamite payoffs to him in return for his good work on behalf of Saddam. Once again we see Britain's advantage in dealing with a former colony. Galloway didn't even have to blow himself up to collect. Meanwhile, an American visitor to prewar Baghdad like Rep. Jim McDermott returned home penniless. His Saddam PAC never got off the ground. Sean Penn even had to pay for his own cigarettes.
Now comes word that the Dixie Chicks have been plucked clean. Last night found them clucking about it with Mother Hen Diane Sawyer. But one has to wonder whether their heads were cut off when they attempted their latest career move. To concoct their omelet they laid many eggs and now appear fully unclothed on the cover of the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, the magazine for those who like to read while watching Diane Sawyer. This new getup, they think, will hold off the hordes of former fans who will never forgive them for saying they're "ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas." How bird-brained can they be? They've gone from being feathered to being ripe to be tarred and feathered.
But as they might put it, we are compassionate to their new vulnerability. For their own safety and warmth, we've decided to crown them this week's Enemies. They will appreciate that we didn't wait until we were on foreign soil to make it official.