What? I have no regard for the peasants? They are my people. I am their sovereign. I love them. Pull. [He fires his rifle at a peasant flying through the air.] Missed him to the left.
- Louis XVI (Mel Brooks) to Count de Monet (Harvey Korman) in the 1981 film "History of the World Part I," written and directed by Brooks
I know Mel Brooks is a talented guy, but how did he know in 1981 what the presidency would be like in 2007? After more than six years in office, I'm used to reading about the blunders, scandals, arrogance and poor judgment of the Bush administration. But, during that time, they have been quite astute at recognizing situations and spinning, dodging, evading and doing everything short of Eternal Sunshining the minds of the American people to get what they wanted. (Cut to John Kerry, lying in the fetal position in the corner of his Senate office, clutching his Purple Heart and muttering over and over to himself, "Am I a coward?")
When did the administration become delusional? Granted, the playing field shifted when the Republicans were booted out of control of Congress last November, but it is as if Bush and his people are in denial, acting like nothing has changed. Correctly reading and manipulating the American people was the administration's strength. It was its thing, its claim to fame, its Rain Man counting the spilled matches.
Vice President Dick Cheney, apparently thinking that the calendar read April 2003 rather than April 2007 (the guy is a souffle away from a fatal coronary, cut him some slack), reasserted yesterday that there was a link between Iraq and al-Qaida before the U.S. invasion. AP Article His timing was particularly dead-on, given that the Defense Department released a declassified report yesterday that found no evidence of any collaboration between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein. Same AP Article Cheney then went on to say that the American people's dresses made their butts look small, you can't get pregnant if you do it standing up, and of course he would respect them in the morning. He did make the statement to Rush Limbaugh, so it is possible he was wacked out on OxyContin.
The Bush administration really does treat the lower- and middle-classes like they were Brooks's Louis XVI. He professes to care about what they care about (sticking to the Big Two themes of Jesus and patriotism), all while using them for target practice. Who is serving in Iraq right now? I'll give you a hint, few in the National Guard and Reserves have trust funds. I wonder how eager Bush would be to keep throwing American soldiers into a no-win mission if the troops were the sons and daughters of his oil buddies.
From cutting taxes for the rich, to authorizing rules that benefit corporations at the expense of consumers, to doing nothing while the oil companies reap record profits while gas prices double, Bush has been using the lower- and middle-classes for target practice, all while proclaiming his love for them with the same "Who me?" lack of understanding that Brooks showed as Louis XVI.
With approximately 21 months remaining in Bush's term, it seems that one of two things will have to happen. Either he will wake up, realize the new lay of the land, and find new ways to manipulate the American people. Or, he will continue on, acting delusionally, spouting off about Democrats not funding the troops and links between Iraq and everything from al-Qaida to Sanjaya's run on "American Idol," causing the Democrats to become more and more empowered to challenge his agenda. I'm rooting for the latter. Remember what happened to Louis XVI? While I don't want to see Bush's head go the way of Gwynneth Paltrow's in "Seven," a Democratic presidency in 2009 would suit me just fine. Let's hope Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Richardson, et al, have seen "History of the World Part I." Who knew you could learn so much from Mel Brooks?