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Jewish World Review Nov. 19, 2001/ 4 Kislev 5762

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
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George and Vlad: Honk if you hate Osama --
FAMOUSLY gay (and funny) Ellen DeGeneres posed this rhetorical question regarding her role as emcee for the Emmy Awards: What could be more annoying to the Taliban than a gay woman dressed in a suit surrounded by Jews?

Possible answer: U.S. President George Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin cuttin' wheelies in Dubya's white Ford F250 pickup truck?

There they were, George and Vlad in the front seat, Laura and Lyudmila in the back, riding around the Bushes' 1,600-acre ranch in Crawford, Texas -- population 700-ish, "Howdy ya'll" on a banner in the center of town. All they needed was a cooler of Busch in the console, pimento cheese sandwiches in a hamper and beach tunes on the radio.

To those of us who grew up under the jowly shadow of Nikita Khrushchev and the imminent threat of nuclear holocaust, the sight of Vladimir Putin wearing that pie-eating grin, riding shotgun next to the world's most powerful cowboy, was an Oz-inspired moment.

You had the feeling that Putin had never had so much fun. His expression seemed to say: "Do I really get to do this? Here I am, a guy whose name has been Vladimir Putin all his life, and I get to ride in the big dog's truck?"

The ranch meeting, as everyone knows, was to help Bush and Putin continue bonding so that they could rid the world of some of those nasty nuclear missiles. Just a coupla guys sitting around the fire, stoking coals, talkin' trash, admiring their little fillies as they rustle up some grub. Hoo-eee, it don't git no better'nis. We're havin' so much fun, why, we're droppin' entire syllables and hatin' grammar out loud.

When the two sauntered up to the microphone for a news conference, they looked like Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum in Independence Day after they'd aced the alien invaders. The good guys had just kicked some Taliban Tail and now Bush and Putin were turning in their own six-shooters for good measure. I kept waiting for George to pull out a couple of cigars and hand one to Vlad.

I also half-expected to see Tony Blair in a cloud of Texas dust, charging up on a polo pony. "Hey-ho, George, Vlad, hold up just a sec, will you chaps? I'm a bit winded just now, but really hate to miss a good time. Oh, and not to be a pest, but do you suppose I might have a spin in that F250?"

George and Vlad have pooled so much good will during their mobile summits, they can't seem to dump their nuclear stockpiles fast enough.

GB: OK, Vlad, I'll give up a third of mine if you'll give up a third of yours.

VP: I'll see your third, George, and raise you another third.

GB: Two-thirds, it is, Vlad, my man. Now about that ABM treaty. . . .

Such interesting times. If Stephen King were rewriting The Stand, where Good and Evil come face to face in a final confrontation, he could do little better than to embody their spirits in the persons of George Bush and Osama bin Laden.

Bin Laden, the dark, brooding, bearded serpent-man, lives beneath the earth and plots mass murder. While Bush -- the happy-go-lucky, golly-gee guy in a baseball cap -- shows Putin and the world a good time in a bright-white pickup truck. Watching CNN from his bat cave, bin Laden must have felt like one of the Addams Family children whose punishment when bad was being forced to watch Disney movies.

Someone -- I can't remember who -- said upon visiting the United States that America's greatness was owing to her goodness, and that once America ceased to be good, she would cease to be great. Say what you will about George Bush, he has suffused America once again with goodness. Evil doesn't stand a chance.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.

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