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Jewish World Review August 10, 2001 / 21 Menachem-Av, 5761

James Lileks

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Consumer Reports

Hail to our co-chiefs? -- IN the land of multiple mommies for Heather, it's only apt that we have not one, but several Presidents. Currently it appears we have three.

1. Co-President Bush. Hmm. Well, what can one say; the man addressed the Boy Scouts - the Boy Scouts, for heaven's sake! What's next, the Salvation Army? The Hitler Youth? Luckily, we have two other presidents who are much more important:

2. Co-President Clinton. He dropped by Harlem to open his office, and from the coverage you'd think he'd rolled back a stone and emerged from a crypt. Can anyone recall such hoo-hah for the mere opening of a presidential mail drop? By Ten PM Eastern time, every major website had news of Clinton's Harlem visit on its front page - and nothing about the speech Bush was making simultaneously. Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC - all Bill, no Bush. The New York Times' front page not only ignored Bush's speech but linked to a speech by the Urban League president, demanding that Bush speak out about racial profiling -

Which is exactly what Bush had done that very day. He'd spoken to a convention of Black law-enforcement officers, and called for an end to racial profiling. To quote: "It's wrong in America, and we've got to get rid of it." He made this speech to actual cops while Bill bloviated before a rent-a-crowd in Harlem - and guess which one got live coverage from the cable networks? Bingo! Very good. And here are the stories the NYT website discerned to be more important than a Republican disavowal of racial profiling: "Shark Attack Victim Starts Therapy." "Argentina Hopes Spending Cuts Will Renew Global Confidence." "Canada Exists, Experts Say."

Okay, that last one was fake. But if Bill Clinton ever ends up in Ottawa, surrounded by acolytes eager to call him America's First Canadian President, it'll be page one on the Times.

The left always delights in asking "when will the right get over Bill Clinton?" To which the right can tell the left: when you do.

3. Co-President Daschle. If Co-P Bush is the figurehead, Co-P Bill the Soul, Co-P Daschle is the workhorse, the nuts-and-bolts guy who gets things done. His job is simple: find out what Bush wants, and make sure it never happens. Bush endorses the rising of the sun in the east? Daschle sadly concludes that Co-President Bush has abandoned the West in a risky scheme to give New Yorkers skin cancer.

Or, to choose a recent example: Bush proposes a consumer product safety official who thinks people are occasionally responsible for product misuse. Obviously, she's an industry shill. If people are burning their houses down by improperly cooking Pop-Tarts, for example, then Co-P Daschle's trial lawyer contributors are ready to help: The victims should be able to sue Kellogs for not making a fireproof Pop-Tart that contained an internal thermometer with a self-extinquishing center, and B) sue their HMO for not paying for burn treatments that use the new Chilean Goat-Bile Paste treatment we read about in Holistic Salve Quarterly.

Daschle is on hand to guide our foreign policy as well. Bush walked away from a biological weapons treaty that would have violated the Fourth Amendment, in addition to national security and common sense. Daschle gives America a pained, brotherly smile and worries that we're becoming "isolationists." In a way, he's correct; we're stepping away from agreements crafted solely to give diplomats something to put on their resume. ("2000: Banned land mines. 2001: Banned Germ Warfare. 2002: Banned War. 2003-05: Cowered in Sewer while the bombs fell. 2006 - present: Rat-herder in Chinese Planetary Government") Does Co-President Daschle think we should sign bad treaties just so no one calls us names at the UN playground?

More likely he's willing to obscure the particulars - or "lie," as the vernacular has it - to accrue power for Democrats. It is important for the Democrats that Bush fail, and fail all over the place, so that life in Washington tolerable again. Until that day, we have three Presidents. Co-P Bush proposes; Co-P Daschle disposes. And Co-P Clinton keeps everyone entertained. Tripartite government! It worked for the Romans.

Just ask the last guy standing.

JWR contributor James Lileks is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


08/03/01: Constitution: George the Uniter picked a doozy to unify detractors
07/25/01: The real reason why we need missile defense (What those uppity policy wonks won't tell you!)
06/18/01: Paining the egalitarian soul
06/01/01: One of the stranger indexes you'll ever hear about
05/21/01: One man's toke is another man's snort
05/08/01: Republicans want poisoned water
04/23/01: We bleat as we're sheared
04/10/01: Boys will be boys. And that's the problem
04/06/01: Pity the anti-American Left, they're gonna have a hard time on this one
03/26/01: You've been warned
03/16/01: The GOP's inexplicable desire to fold
02/23/01: Will the Jeb Bush administration attack Saddam in 2011?
02/09/01: In search of the the first ashtray thrown by a member of the First Family
02/06/01: Can you say 'Ayatollah Bush'?
01/24/01: The new Executive Orders
01/22/01: Hey, Dubya: Wanna save Ashcroft? Teach him to rap!
01/09/01: Bubba gets his last licks
01/05/01: The low-down on the coming recession (What those snooty economists won't tell you)
12/23/00: Memo to Dubya: Wanna show who is boss? Nuke 'em!
12/06/00: The Count of Carthage
At the Sore/Loserman Transition HQ
12/01/00: The Count of Carthage
11/28/00: Clinton knows history isn't written by the victors anymore
11/17/00: Chad's the word
11/08/00: The strangest political night
11/07/00: Get ready to return to the Dark Ages

© 2000, James Lileks