Columns » Bob Lancaster

Now what?



The change of seasons tempts me to prophesy, and I was just mulling what changes will have occurred by this time next year.

I have a hunch that President Bush will be gone. He'll be halfway to Texas, with only the little woman (who may have to be drugged), the dog, and Sec. Rice in the car, and the top down, singing along with the country-western classics, before, back at Casa Blanco, they find his resignation note saying if everybody thinks he did such a sorry job of presidenting, they can just kiss his heading-home donkey.

The thrill was gone from it anyhow, ever since all his buds bailed back in bad old double-aught seven. It got to be like owning the ball team got to be. OK, done that, now what?

And he still had time. Time yet to be J.R. in the supersize, splitting do-nothing shifts between Big D and the Ewing spread, driving fast to get there, driving fast back. Once again in the uncritical constant company of Johnny Red. Got to be such a fetching vision thing, as his Pap used to call it, that it became irresistible. So the four of them hit the road.

He said the other day that he supposed his post-presidency would include making a lot of speeches “to fill up the ol' coffers.” Think he knows that at that point he'll have to pay the speechwriters? Secretarial help being one of the retirement perks but high-dollar emeritus podium throat not. He'll have to be told somewhere along there that paying speechwriters might actually drain them ol' coffers a little drier.

My guess is that he'll want to try it himself. How hard could it be? And he's no fool — well, in the context of ordinary Lone Star imbecility he doesn't particularly stand out — so it won't take him long to figure out oratorical recycling: cobble together some grafs and snippets from previously-given speeches — just about any of them will do — and nobody will remember and nobody will give a hoot.

He can do the same speech to 50 different hung-over don't-give-a rat conventions and who's going to know? Who might possibly care enough to ask for their money back? He could steal one of his Pap's old speeches. Or “borrow” one of Condi's from that immortal batch near the summation of any one of which you just know that all those convoked Jews and Arabs were all ears.

His k.m.a. departure will mean, alack, that a year from now we'll have President Dick Cheney as our duly sworn lord and master. It might be as much as a week into his tenure, but echoes of the oath will still be resonating when Iran is nuked off to the waiting virgins. And if within another week enough of the ocean of oil underneath hasn't seeped upward to form a reservoir the approximate size of Alabama, and if a Halliburton team hasn't in that same week cameled in a pipeline approximately the circumference of the English Chunnel and commenced siphon-hosing war-prize crude in a stupendous outflow to an endless company supertanker flotilla or armada, I will have missed my guess.

The very brief War of Iranian Obliteration will have “changed everything,” according to the MSM pundits, even moreso than 9/11 did. The Cheney dictatorship will by this time have collected and voided our few remaining outstanding civil liberties on the ground that they are inappropriate for wartime, and Justice Scalia, for the majority, will have upheld. Woodward will have disclosed that the war had its Jack D. Ripper moment, with an even spookier variant of the precious bodily fluids.

And yet: Big Dick as Big Brother just doesn't frighten me somehow. For one thing, you know he's the type, typical Republican, who'd eff up a wet dream. And how could you fear somebody with that kind of ghoulish household to go home to at night? I mean, do you think the Stalins at home were this kind of furtive, morbid, somehow pity-inspiring weird? Maybe they were. Between genocides, Saddam wrote romance novels. So you never know.

My sense is that having the Dickdom won't make a whole lot of daily difference.The Iran War won't change everything any more than the Iraq War did. The changes that do occur are always minor, and form of government, in the Big Picture and over the Long Haul, is one of those. This time next year, under Caesar Dick or not, the sumac will have begun to turn. Fish will be jumping and the cotton high. School will have again taken up, reaffirming our best hope. Midway hurling will be at full fair heave. New V's of old geese. Sports-page homers yaw-yawing another Razorback patsy thumping. The snakes will have come again to Yellville. Another disappointing tomato crop come and gone. The Duggars pop at least a couple more newbies, like toast. And additional photographic slants by the magpies on Bad Girl's doowapadoo.

Nothing changed is more like it than everything did.

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