Saturday, January 13, 2007

For far too long it has been the conceit of our media and of far too many of Us that Bush is essentially a rational man, an adult – such as the term applies in our modern American reality. Thus we are baffled by his actions, and the more so as the consequences of those actions become worse and worse. We try to figure out what chapter of Makavelly he’s taking notes of.

I propose this scenario, an exercise in the imagination: A man robs a bank. It’s a big Federal bank, and he’s got a bunch of accomplices. They’re after a whole lot of goodies, so it will take a little while – but not too long. He’s the son of a much more accomplished bank robber who eventually used his swag to build up a hefty political cushion for his old age. But our guy himself has never been impressive: kinda drunky, kinda druggy, kinda not really into responsibility. But as often happens to kids from rich and connected famblies, he went from screw-up to screw-up, protected as if by Teflon from the potentially-redemptive scalding of failure and foo-up.

So he and the gang are in this great big Federal bank, and they’ve taken scads and scads of hostages, just for insurance.

But things have gone wrong. They hadn’t figured on the deep vaults being so resistant to their efforts, and they don’t have a Plan B. The cops are outside, and the SWAT teams. And a huge crowd of relatives of the hostages. The cops aren’t sure what to do, since they know who he is and they’ve got jobs to think of. The crowd, however, is starting to turn ugly as the thing drags on and on, and some hostages are already dead through the mishaps that so often attend this sort of thing.

What’s this guy gonna do? Will he give up? Will he at least release the hostages? Will he admit his daddy was right that he would never amount to much? Will he go back to being a nobody? Only this time a nobody in prison? Or at least a nobody whom no decent folks will ever want to have over to barbecue again? Will he tough it out? Will he try to shoot his way out? Will he … try to rob the bank across the street to see if that solves his problem?

We shouldn’t be asking the usual talking-heads in Washington City about Bush. We should be interviewing hostage-negotiators. Serious, experienced hostage-negotiators. We should do it soon. It sounds like he’s re-loading in there. And he may have tactical nukular stuff in his fanny pack.

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