It's become borderline amusing, though I scurry to stress the borderline angle. We have in the White House either a dangerous moron or a heinous liar, or perhaps he's even a twofer. And that seems to be the Great Debate of our era: Is our president an epic halfwit, or Nixon squared, or some fantastic combination of the two not seen since Nero? Yet whichever of those limited possibilities his character happens to be, the joke's on us.
Our Great Debate -- or what should be a great debate, one leading to a great resolution -- is nothing but a piddling parlor game.
We and our elected representatives sit and ponder and at times even chuckle over Mr. Bush's increasingly tangled and twisted lies, delivered with decreasing competency, and repeatedly conclude that he's too stupid or too corrupt to sit at the apex of power. While we're doing that, however, Mr. Bush is collapsing in incredulous joy and relief that there quite obviously is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- he can do that will lead Congress to the water of serious investigations and, consequently, and, inescapably, impeachment.
In short, while we and Congress are laughing our asses off at his vile stupidity, he's laughing his ass off at our vile timidity.
The latest presidential spectacle will someday have historians in stitches. From the bowels of the Bush 43 Presidential Library, one will hear the raucous laughter of researchers, interrupted only by disbelieving giggling and the occasional, "And this idiot really got away with this crap? Two friggin entire terms of this friggin insanity?"
Insanity, indeed. And yes, he got away with it. And yes, the joke was on us -- and on any remnants of systemic checks and balances and legislative oversight and investigative doggedness and all that other tedious constitutional stuff.
The latest spectacle to which I painfully refer with a touch of amusement was and is, of course, Mr. Bush & Staff's laughable contortions over what he knew, with epistemological verifiability, and when he knew it -- with some emphasis on the additional question of what he's capable of knowing.
The president first would have had us believe that his grimly somber director of national intelligence just happened to pop by the Oval Office one morning in August and just happened to mention a "great discovery" about the supposedly greatest threat to our national survival since the development of TV sitcoms like "My Mother the Car," yet the idiot of the first part didn't happen to say, "Huh?"
But, even after lo these many years of much-ballyhooed presidential incuriosity, that failed to pass the laugh test. Questions were asked. Inquiries were made. Is, was, he really that intellectually catatonic?
So White House fax machines whirled in defensive clarification and somebody wound up misspokeswoman Dana Perino. The machines spewed no, no, no, the DNI had, in fact, informed the clueless one that "Iran does in fact have a covert weapons program, but it may be suspended," meaning Iran does have a weapons program, except maybe it doesn't.
Meanwhile the automaton of Ms. Perino spewed that the DNI had cautioned the president that "the new information might cause the intelligence community to change its assessment of Iran's covert nuclear program, but the intelligence community was not prepared to draw any conclusions at that point in time, and it wouldn’t be right to speculate until they had time to examine and analyze the new data."
And what the DNI meant by that, implicitly according to Ms. Perino, was that it was wholly acceptable for the president to then go out and draw the conclusion based on his own speculations that Iran's probably nonexistent nuclear weapons program threatened us all with the nuclear apocalypse of a World War III. Got it. Thanks for clearing that up.
Now, one might think that Congressional types might be all over this public-policy oddity like Oprah on Obama, but -- drumroll -- they aren't. Here we had a president of these here United States thrashing about, frightening church ladies and thrusting right wingers into bellicose orgasms, spewing personal speculations about a thermonuclear war that was as fantastically unbelievable as the dire and global threat of Saddam Hussein -- and it was, of course, all buncombe. And he knew it.
But, responds Congress, that's the way it goes. It's just Mad Ludwig at it again. Heaven forfend we should take this dangerous idiot down, and out. Our electoral prospects are of much greater concern than the launching of proper constitutionalities, or even the very real prospect that this profoundly dangerous idiot could yet transmogrify into something even more tangibly dangerous -- again.
The joke is indeed on us -- the Great Debate that never was; fellatio is a national crisis, while manufactured hysteria over a manufactured war is not -- although I doubt the Founders are laughing.