Just as we were sitting down to work, a one-two effort was made to disrupt it, by none other than that lovely leader formerly known as Saddam. In the first instance, at least a couple of Saddamy doubles read a state of the union speech to television viewers. In the second, an early-mourning Saddam came out of the ground to be greeted and kissed by a slew of male joggers. There were no female joggers in the picture, perhaps because they have long been regarded as a threat to Saddam's vision of Iraqi camaraderie. For that reason alone the fellow is not fit to rule.
But what a sweet smile he conveyed. He loves to be loved by the Iraqi in the street. Some call it the Iraqi Man-Man Association. So long as he projects serenity, regime change may not be at hand. Which is terrible news for Sen. John Kerry, who is counting on parlaying regime change in Baghdad into regime change in Washington. Forget it. Kerry clearly lacks the requisite charisma. People paw and peck at Saddam. When's the last time anyone dared blow a kiss Kerry's way? Or even pelt him with an unboiled egg? He seems a cold and bitter man, the smallest tall man in American politics. Moreover, left to his own devices he remains the denim-shirted and be-jeaned anti-American venter of his youth. Where did we get young men likes this?
Hoping to become the tallest small man in American politics, Tom Daschle came out on behalf his new best friend, the former David Brock, at a Capitol Hill party in honor of the former Brock's Alzheimerish memoir, which is now out in paperback and thus easier to lift. "I really admire David Brock," Daschle said about the guy who set the Clinton impeachment in motion. "David, you've given us inspiration to fight," Senate Democratic whip Harry Reid chimed in. "I think you'll see a new Democratic Party in the future." Watch out. Looks like the party's going Baathist.
The former Al Gore was nowhere to be seen, his natural condition. But he did rush to the defense of the Dixie Chicks, particularly their right to attack their country's leaders from foreign soil. Anyone can be a Bushwacker from the safety of his own backyard. But greatness and class can only be demonstrated by joining with foreigners in hurling rocks and explosives at the local American embassy.
Showing he's got a little kick left in his radical nature, German foreign minister Joschka Fischer, when it appeared that Saddam and his doubles were history, expressed hope the Iraqi government would collapse. Joschka leads his league in kicking dead men from behind. Auditioning for a place in German politics, Pearl Jam lead contortionist Eddie Vedder impaled a mask of President Bush on a microphone during a performance in Denver, Bavaria. Everyone concurred it was a Wagnerian moment.
Madonna, the American Valkyrie, delayed release her new seditious video in the U.S., but went right ahead with distribution in the German Reich, where deathly political performance art remains all the rage. You don't have to travel to Cabaret country to be scared out of your wits. Just catch EOW laureate Terry Moran anchoring the ABC weekend news. Such big eyes you have, Mr. Moran. They make for Grimm reading.
Now, in an unusual sign of compassion, we don't like the looks of Ted Koppel in military garb standing in the middle of nowhere night after night in the Iraqi desert. Even if he has stopped reminding us of Michael Dukakis boarding an Army tank, Koppel's fatigues seem too big for him, and too crisply pressed. Then there's the problem of the strange resemblance his orotund now bears to Walter Cronkite's in its heyday.
Give us the old rumpled look on a tried American battlefield any day. For instance, Columbia University, where academic suicide is a long-standing practice. In his first taste of fame, a professor by the name Nicholas De Genova has wished upon our armed forces a "million Mogadishus." An investigation has determined that Professor De Genova is a mere assistant professor. Which, according to our sleuths, suggests he lacks tenure and the protections it offers to older loose lips in his midst. So even if he's not fired he's not likely to be renewed. True, the Sorbonne could make him an offer. But after hearing that De Genova held this week's distinguished Enemy of the Week chair, it is more likely to prefer stable talent along the lines of Peter Arnett or Geraldo Rivera. And so, what began at a teach-in ends in a teach-out, all because a hothead prof chose to engage in unprotected free speech.