The leader of the western hemisphere, commander of the mightiest (and most exhausted) army on the planet, our endearingly bumbling Chief Executive, had the line of the week at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner last night:
[I]n light of this tragedy at Virginia Tech I decided not to be funny.
Which made it different from every other time he’s opened his mouth how, exactly?
With President Bush giving his formidable comic abilities a rest, the “humor” was provided by noted Johnny Carson impersonator Rich Little. Before Little unleashed his repertoire of scintillating political satire, which included impressions of Presidents Nixon and Reagan, Bush introduced Press Secretary Tony Snow, who made his final public appearance before withering away and succumbing to cancer later this year. Sheryl Crow and Karl Rove also apparently nearly got into a fistfight over global warming, a dispute which ended when Crow said “You can’t talk to us like that – you work for us!” and Rove countered, “I don’t work for you; I work for the American people.” Which he doesn’t – he works for the President of the United States. The President of the United States works for the American people, though the current administration regards that as a theoretical hierarchy. It’s like the American people are Neil, and President Bush is David Brent. The more I think about that metaphor, the more I like it – especially the second half.
Funny as all that was, it failed to upstage the real comic highlight of the week in Washington: the Senate testimony of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Thursday. Accused of shitcanning a gaggle of U.S. Attorneys for partisan political reasons, Gonzalez has embraced the only defense available to him: that he is a total fucking idiot. The assumption seems to be that having the highest law enforcement office in the country occupied by a vacantly grinning simpleton with the memory of a squirrel is preferable to having the office occupied by an amoral political stooge. Why are either of these acceptable? Why is it acceptable – with the country at war, with terrorists threatening Americans and American interests both abroad and within our borders, with plenty of shit for the justice department to do – to have a buffoon like Gonzalez feed the Senate the most embarrassing and transparent line of bullshit anyone’s ever heard? I’m watching a replay of the testimony on C-Span right now and I just want to beat this guy with the fun end of a claw hammer.
But back to the correspondents’ dinner. As the experiment of having someone who is actually funny emcee the event seems to have begun and ended with Stephen Colbert, might I suggest our very own Michael T. for the gig next year? Or Lou Scally? They both work cheap, I’m sure. Hell, I could even do it. I’d be great ‘cause I can tell jokes that are simultaneously filthy as hell and suitable for all ages. For instance:
Are you as amazed and in awe of nature as I am? Like the theory of evolution – isn’t that amazing? Did you know that beavers were once the size of bears? The size of bears! Just think . . . if that was the size of the beavers, how big must the women have been?
Thank you, good night!