George Bush is coming to town. For fun. And Games too. And to speak, as well, on religious rights (or right, as in, “When he fumbles the ball he’s ambidextrous, but in the church softball league he bats right.”), or so it looks from here. A duck, lame or otherwise, in Beijing in August 2008 may very well end up roasted, sliced and spun in dizzying circles on a lazy Susan.
George Bush, the perfect symbol of the intrinsic shortcomings that have historically plagued the democratic process – sometimes you get a pseudo-cowboy yee-hawing on a mountain bike and a sidekick who shoots his friends in the face – that’s, unfortunately, the deal. Be that as it may, he will still be speaking in Beijing over the next week as the head of a state. If the last seven-and-a half years are any indication of significance, what he will say will be unimportant. He could show up on Chang’an Jie hawking Diebold voting machines, and he’d still earn a Page Two to “Three-Headed Teen Gives Birth To A Pig.” And if he doesn’t, he should.
This is diplomatic business and George and his crew have proven too many times that diplomacy is dirty, brutish work and, obviously, not to be trusted to diplomats. When he had the chance to actually have a voice in the swirl that has surrounded these Games, he maintained his silence. There was, at least for a short time, the slimmest of possibilities that he was holding out to negotiate some sort of higher-purposed deal (I know, I must have been dreaming), one that possibly could have added a shred of decency to a future legacy that will, no doubt, become the benchmark for incompetence and abject failure. I imagine Michael Dukakis is just biding his time, waiting for any of the pictures of George Bush on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln to become the number one most ridiculous political photo in American history, thereby knocking helmeted Dukakis in a tank from #1. (My personal favorite, which I cannot seem to find, is Richard Nixon, August, 1974, Yugoslavia, shaking hands with random admirers in a cordoned crowd as he looks intently at his watch, days before he was lifted from the White House lawn for good.)
But George just wants to have a little fun, and Beijing’s a good a place as any for a recovered Christian alcoholic to let his hair, short as it is, down.