it the Easy Way
June 28, 2002
By Mike McArdle
probably all known at least one person like this, the one
whose whole life is devoted to the proposition that effort
and accountability are to be avoided at all costs. These people
are able to handle problems as long the pesky things remain
simple but when things get complicated they sense immediately
that they are out of their element and they leave the playing
field. The amazing thing is that some people actually make
it through life, some quite successfully without ever having
to tough anything out or face any consequences.
So it was that a man of miniscule talent who was never called
to account for poor grades, problematic military obligations,
or failing businesses managed to achieve the nation's highest
office. He got there specifically by avoiding all the things
that the more talented, responsible people of his generation
dealt with head on.
We saw this during the Florida election crisis when his father
rallied planeloads of political operatives and sent them to
the Sunshine state to try to seize the presidency for his
little boy. But while daddies buddies finagled, stonewalled
and sued, the beneficiary of all this activity retreated to
his Texas ranch and spent the duration clearing brush and
throwing a stick to his cleverly-named dog Spot. I mean the
situation was just so icky, you know, it was all just complicated
and everything. It's kind of like getting kicked out of Andover
for throwing a keg party. See if Dad can fix this for you,
and have him give you a call when it's time to be inaugurated.
And that is the way the little man handles every crisis he's
encountered as President - retreat, sulk a bit, try to find
an easy way out. Terrorists knocked down some of your buildings
? Well, you need to have a war. But not one of those complicated
wars where you tell people who you're fighting and when their
going to know whether they won or not. You need a war where
nobody expects things like results and the people and the
pols aren't agitating for successes. So how about a war that
may never end, it may keep going forever so if you don't win
right now or even years from now that's OK. Hell you told
them that it might take years; it's going to be handed down
to the next guy no matter what so you're off the accountability
hook and on to the gym.
We saw this once again in the Homeland Security reorganization.
To do this right you have smack some of the biggest heads
in DC together. You've got to make huge powerful agencies
like the FBI, CIA, and NSA clean up their act, roll some heads,
quit the damn turf wars and at the very least talk to one
another. You've got to step on the toes of some powerful committee
chairmen and talk tough to the intelligence chiefs and the
doofus religious fanatic at the Justice Department that you
appointed to appease the nutball wing of your party.
But all that is just so difficult so many agencies all
those details all that time and effort it's like those
teachers at school who gave you a paper to write when you
had like three big parties to go to that weekend. Oh, hell,
just put together one new department with FEMA people and
the bollweevil chasers and the airline bag inspectors and
the guys who try to find the pot on the boats, the Coast Guard,
yeah, those guys. It may not fix the problem but, hell, it
takes the heat off on the intelligence failures and disarms
those damn 9/11 survivors who were becoming a real pain in
the butt demanding investigations. See, a little reshuffling,
and you've bought instant treadmill time.
But now the simplistic get somebody-else-to-do-it approach
is being brought to bear the world's stickiest, most complicated
problem the Middle East. Ancient animosities, suicide bombers,
occupied territory. One side is demanding their own state,
they have allies who are supposed to be your allies and those
people have lots of oil. The other side is a longtime ally
and friend and they don't want the other guys to have any
Well, how about half a state? That's right an "interim
Palestinian state," a kind of "provisional" thing. But
of course this only happens if the Palestinians elect more
acceptable leadership and "renounce terror," of course.
There are no details on where the borders of Provisionalland
will be or what will be its capital. And the best part is
that if even if the Palestinians meet all the conditions the
"state" is not even going to happen for three years. And after
that they begin working out the details.
So this is all years down the road. It's definitely somebody
Break out the pretzels.
Mike McArdle is the DU writer formerly known as birdman.