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The Lizard of Oz
May 12, 2001
by Joe Randazzo

I was lying in bed this morning with visions of oil drums, bi-partisanship, civility, "nucular" armed rogue states, and sugar plums dancing in my head (I never said I was normal) when, like a flash, it came to me. I was struck by a revelation. All things became clear, or at least, clearer. What we Americans and our country have been going through for the last hundred or so days suddenly made a little sense.

Now I know what I'm about to reveal may seem a little bizarre. Very bizarre. But it is no more bizarre than our current political realities. Well... here it comes... we, my fellow Americans, are living out the Wizard of Oz!

Now, I know... I know... but think about it. It's not perfect (and that's why we're having so many problems), but it's a workable theory. First, our leader. Was there ever a man more in search of a brain? I'm sorry, but Mr. Bush is undoubtedly the Scarecrow in our little play. Next, Dick Cheney... well, we all know he's searching for a heart. I truly suspect Uncle Dick may even have his eyes on Boy George's ticker (would Dubya know his heart were missing if Uncle Dick stole it? Could a man without a brain know if his heart were plucked from his chest? Now there's a Zen koan.)

But there's more to the Cheney/Tin Man connection. Think back to the movie. The Tin Man always... always... had an oil can with him. Hmmm. The man absolutely bathed himself in it. Any time there were any problems, that rusty old guy would just grab that can of oil and just pour it and squirt it all over himself. No conserving for this fellow! I hate to say Mr. Cheney is typecast, but...

Ms. Whitman has to be the Cowardly Lion. If she had the courage she would have resigned weeks ago (other cast members do occasionally stand in for Ms. Whitman, as we have seen).

But here's where we encounter difficulties. We need a Wizard of Oz. Some inherently benign being who pulls the strings from behind the curtain. Well, I thought, a benign Karl Rove might foot the bill. Hell, even my grandson knows that creature doesn't exist... that animal went the way of unicorns and dragons. So we have a dilemma here. No benign Wizard behind the scenes choreographing this comedy of terrors.

Perhaps it is more fitting to envision a Lizard of Oz, (I think Mr. Rove could and would admirably perform this role). But I suspect the true problem is that we have stand-ins for the Lizard. Think about this one folks...it answers many questions. If we have several cast members behind that curtain pulling those levers, it explains a lot. It explains the Straw Man's chameleon-like policies. It explains the flip-flops, backflips, somersaults and various contortions we see this Administration go through.

Kyoto... no Kyoto. Global warming... no global warming. Drilling in the Arctic, then no drilling in the Arctic and then drilling in the Arctic again. Now we know why the Arsenic Man is now reviewing the "bad science" behind the arsenic levels. First there was salmonella testing for schoolkids, then there was no testing, then there was (wasn't that a song by Donovan?) I must admit, however, that the Straw Man took some undeserved hits for the whole salmonella thing. Dubya thought that salmonella was some kind of New England fish cake and really wasn't up to speed on that one.

Not having a steady Lizard behind the scenes is taking its toll on this group. The lack of a brain thing explains why Boy George doesn't fully comprehend the term bipartisanship. Or else, perhaps he is subconsciously a homophobe and tunes out the "bi" part. He talks bipartisanship almost constantly and when he isn't - Ari Flesicher is (by the way, does Ari know any other words? I watched his press conference on May 4th and it was like he was in a contest to see how many times he could say bipartisan and keep a straight face.)

When the House and Senate met in conference to reconcile the two versions of the Straw Man's budget, the Democrats were not invited to participate. I kinda think the "bi" was missing in that one. The Straw Man met with only the Republican members of Congress to work out the details of his budget in this great "Bipartisan Effort." Luckily, some staffer was also missing a brain and the final report was missing a few pages. So, now the American people can have a gander at this marvel of mystery... our budget.

The Straw Man does not seem to comprehend "the new tone in Washington" either. Well, he does, but it's a perverted definition. Let's take the "Blue Slip" policy. For years, the home senator of a potential judicial appointee could hold his blue slip and that confirmation would go no further. Good ol' Strom and Jesse could hold up many an appointee (although Sen. Hatch is reportedly claiming that any appointees that were held up by those two were due to a) they forgot to turn in the slips, b) they forgot they were Senators, or c) they were physically unable to lift the slips.)

Now the "new tone" dictates that this longstanding practice, which the Republicans used with great succcess, is no longer "fair." Hmmmm... is there any doubt that a case of "no brains" is behind this one? The former Sen. John "hold my bible while I block this appointment" Ashcroft was reportedly very skilled at short circuiting judicial appointees whose politics and ideology he did not agree with, (which was apparently everyone nominated by a Democrat).

The Straw Man's "new tone in Washington," just doesn't seem to be playing to anyone unless you're from the Rabid Right. Now I admit, the Wizard (or Lizard) of Oz is not a perfect fit, but what is? I mean, nothing is life is perfect. And my theory does go a long way to explaining the fantasy-like feel this administration has.

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