Autumn of the patriarchy

Published: Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 9:46 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, December 1, 2005 at 9:46 a.m.

In the vice presidentís new, more fortified bunker, inside his old undisclosed secure location within the larger bunker that used to be called the West Wing of the White House, Dick Cheney was muttering and sputtering.

He wasnít talking to the pictures on the wall, as Nixon did when he finally cracked. Vice doesnít trust those portraits anyway. The walls have ears. He was talking to the only reliable man in a city of dimwits, cowards, traitors and fools: himself.

He hurled a sheaf of news reports with such force it knocked over the picture of Ahmad Chalabi that he keeps next to the picture of Churchill. Winston Chalabi, he likes to call him.

Vice is fed up with all the whining and carping ó and thatís just inside the White House. The only negativity in Washington is supposed to be his own. Heís the only one allowed to scowl and grumble and conspire.

The impertinent Tom DeFrank reported in The New York Daily News that embattled White House aides felt ĎĎPresident Bush must take the reins personallyíí to save his presidency.

Let him try, Cheney said with a sneer. Things are nowhere near dire enough for that. Even if Junior somehow managed to grab the reins to his presidency, Vice holds Juniorís reins. So he just needs to get all these sniveling, poll-driven wimps and losers back on board with the master plan.

Things had been going so smoothly. The global torture franchise was up and running. Halliburton contracts were flowing. Tax cuts were sailing through. Oil companies were raking it in. Alaska drilling was thrillingly close. The courts were defending his executive privilege on energy policy, and people were still buying all that smoke about Saddamís being responsible for 9-11, and that drivel about how weíre fighting them there so we donít have to fight them here. Everything was groovy.

But not anymore. Cheney could not believe that Karl had made him go out and call that loudmouth Jack Murtha a patriot. He was sure the Pentagon generals had put the congressman up to calling for a withdrawal from Iraq. Is the military brass getting in touch with its pacifist side? In Wyoming, Vice shoots doves.

How dare Murtha suggest that Cheney dodged and dodged and dodged and dodged and dodged the draft? Murtha thinks he knows about war just because he served in one and was a Marine for 37 years? Vice started his own war. Now thatís a credential!

It always goes this way with the cut-and-run crowd. First they start nitpicking the war, complaining about little things like the lack of armor for the troops. Then they complain that there arenít enough troops. Well, that would just require more armor that we donít have. Then they kvetch about using incendiary weapons in a city like Falluja. Vice likes the smell of white phosphorus in the morning.

What really enrages him is all the Republicans in the Senate making noises about timetables. Before you know it, itís going to be helicopters on the rooftop at the Baghdad embassy.

Now all these idiots are getting caught, even Scooter. DeLayís on the ropes and the Dukester is a total embarrassment, spending bribes on antique commodes and a Rolls-Royce. Vice should never have let an amateur get involved with defense contracts.

Republican moderates are running scared in the House, worried about re-election. Even senators seem to have forgotten which side their bread is oiled on. Ted Stevens let oil company executives get caught lying about the energy task force meeting, while Vice canít even get a little thing like torture chambers through the Senate. Whatís so wrong with a little torture?

And now John Warner wants Junior to use fireside chats to explain his plan for Iraq. When did everybody get the un-American idea that the president is answerable to America?

Vice is fed up with the whining of squirrelly surrogates like Brent Scowcroft and Lawrence Wilkerson on behalf of peaceniks like George Senior and Colin Powell. If Poppyís upset about his kidís mentor, he should be man enough to come slug it out.

Poppy isnít getting Junior back, Vice vowed, muttering: ĎĎHeís my son. Itís my war. Itís my country.íí

And the bad news is: This man is thatís vice president.

Maureen Dowd writes for The New York Times News Service.

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