There they go again, those hopeless obsessives. When he was president, they hounded him, derided him, belittled him, did what they could to drive him out of office. And even though he’s no longer president, has no executive powers, isn’t really a threat to anyone anymore, they won’t let up. Every chance they get they’ll attack him, drag his name and reputation through the mud, draw and quarter him, position him under the guillotine, then kick the severed head around a soccer field, and hang rest of him upside down in the town square. By nightfall they’ll patch him up and sow him back together, all so that they can start the process anew and rip him apart the following day. Now and then someone will say, “Get over it. He’s out of power. He’s no longer a threat. Find something else to do.” But no, there’s no stopping the obsessives. Will the persecution of…Richard Nixon never cease?
Of course not. Not so long as someone by the name of Clinton finds himself too weak to defend his honor against an Ari Fleischer. Not so long as another Clinton, this one of the female persuasion, hasn’t done a two-term presidential stint of her own. Not so long as the dumbo pretender president hasn’t been replaced by the legitimately elected Gorester. Not so long as Larry King is interviewing Monica and Condit. Not so long as the Cambridge Red Sox haven’t won a World Series. Not so long as nonadherence to Kyoto hasn’t heightened room temperatures at the Hades Hilton. Meaning — the devilish Mr. Nixon will outlive infinity.
Even Enemy Central finds it hard to locate an EOW of comparable stature. Let’s just say about those we name that they also serve. So, for instance, one thoughtful denunciation delivered last Tuesday declared: “Frank Rich: Enemy of the Week every week.” But as if to weaken the case for Rich, another informant countered with “David Brock is just too easy a nomination.” We know Rich likes Brock. He told us to himself. But he also said he’s never met Brock. That can be arranged. Enemy Central offers discreet matchmaking services. Quality relationships guaranteed, or your money back, freshly laundered by right-wing forces.
Moving on to less sentimental matters, we notice big change afoot at super-stationed CNN. Our longest serving agent — he predates Elliot Ness — is Chicago’s Jack Hughes. Via Western Union he denounces CNN “mastermind” Walter Isaacson, for the hiring job he did on James Carville and Paul Begala in bringing them to “Crossfire.” As if still needing to impress J. Edgar, Agent Jack enforces a little morality of his own. “Isaacson might yearn for the vulgarity of the Clinton era — STOP — but I do not. STOP” Point taken. Just for that we won’t watch the show until Bill Press is brought back. And when he is we won’t watch either. It’s the principle that counts, and by all accounts Press is a very nice guy if you can direct his attention from politics. Of course the last time that happened was the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, when he was hoping to meet her sister.
If above we neglected to mention why the perennially tricky Richard Nixon is again in trouble, let us now not it’s because the obsessives have discovered a new cache of his self-incriminating tapes. They’re shocked to overhear him claim that drinking is better than drugging, or — even knowing what we know today about pedophilia — that “it’s better to chase girls than boys.” But more shocking yet was his new dismissal of his 1972 opponent George McGovernik as “a damn socialist with a blind spot for communists.” How cruel to claim that McGovern was visually challenged.
Actually, the more we hear from McGovern the most we understand he faced challenges on many popular fronts. Just this week Forbes.com unveiled still more plagiaristic moments in Stephen Ambrose’s recent book about McGovern’s bomber days. These episodes included unacknowledged lifting from McGovern’s own autobiography. No problemo, generous George responded. “It doesn’t cause me any pain,” he told the Associated Press. “I really have no problem with it.” So the thinking now is that George must have lifted his own autobiography from “Khrushchev Remembers” or Isaac Deutscher’s biographies of Trotsky and Stalin.
Moving on from the Democratic Party’s east bloc wing, we arrive at a critical juncture at which we discover every pip on the left squeaking about the heroic president and his winning foreign policy. Only goes to show how politically inept George W. Bush is: by making our world safe for liberals again, he’s guaranteed himself new onslaughts from its grateful representatives. Just a few months ago they were ready to torture terrorists. Now they see again that George W. is the one who should hide in a cave. You know things are getting out of hand when Tom Daschle is ready to join in the fun, kicking at Bush without even removing the lifts from his shoes.
So who was the outside agitator who got this latest round rolling? Our agent, Chip Halstead, hauled him in ahead of the crowd, and in so doing saved this self-selected Enemy of the Week critter from a host of other deputized posses and unregistered vigilante bands that were closing in on him. The vermin’s name is Aaron Sorkin, and he is said to be the revered creator of a show that calls itself “West Wing.” His thought crime? He was first to denounce Bush as a boob and borderline Napoleon. In doing so, he set off an avalanche of anti-presidential dirt from patriotic practitioners who no longer care if the terrorists will have won. Their only concern is to make sure our prince of a president will not have.
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