Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Crash Course

If ever there was a party I'll forever regret not crashing, it was the one held last weekend in Crawford, Texas.

Granted, it was a small affair, as crash-worthy affairs go, boasting 100 revelers at most. (If the Secret Service, assorted functionaries, faithful retainers and fondue-makers can be counted as "revelers." If they can't, the number's closer to 12.)

And, yes, there probably wasn't much to wash the aforementioned fondue down with, either. (At least, not "much" by this and every other part-time party-crasher's standards; how could there have been? The host himself has been dry for decades. One needn't be a Mensa member, or even a Densa member - known, varyingly, as a typical Palm Beach voter; any O.J. Simpson trial juror; Carol Mosely-Braun's campaign manager, etc. - to reckon that neither "Drain pool and fill with Mezcal" nor "Stock up on Stoli jigglers" was on the host's pre-party to-do list.)

And then there's the matter of the guest list, which was so lacking in luminaries that even the treasurer of the Norman Fell fan club would've been underwhelmed.

So why all this morning-after regret?

Because the two VIPs that WERE in attendance, George W. Bush, President of the United States, and Silvio Berlusconi, Italian Prime Minister extraordinaire (extraordinairio?), are my kind of VIPs. With a bullet! With two bullets, right where their word-mincing contemporaries' mouths are!

The Duke and Il Duce, Cowboys-in-Chief. One likes to wear boots, the other lives in a country that's shaped like one. And both are quite often accused of putting their boots in their mouths. Boy, the two of them together in one room would be all the hoedown I'd need. Even the flies on the wall must've felt like extras in a live action spaghetti western. Oh, to have been one of those lowly flies!

See, I happen to like spaghetti westerns. Well, I like spaghetti. And I like western things, if not the dusty old west itself. And I really like Clint Eastwood, the former king of the spaghetti western. Heck, I like all of Clint's roles (save for that sniveley, Alan Alda-ish guy he played in "The Bridges of Madison County." Ew; go ahead, Clint, make me puke.)

Dirty Harry Callahan, now that's quintessential Clint. And while I realize Mr. Eastwood's only been "pretending" to be all these diplomacy-challenged tough-but-upright dudes, I can't help but point out how well he plays them. Not to mention how consistently.

Indeed, there's an element of the "hooker with a heart of gold" in our very own president - and a more than whopping element of it in the Italian Prime Minister -which I, for one, have always been attracted to.

It's why I like Harry Truman. John McCain. The person that pulls you aside and tells you you've got toilet paper on your shoe (Dubya, you'll recall, pulled the world aside to tell it that the Little Dictator of North Korea was a whack-o, and though he was right, the world just wasn't ready to hear it put quite so, what's the word? Oh yeah, HONESTLY.)

Berlusconi can't conduct an EU meeting without being interrupted by a guy who clearly resents the Prime Minister's immense personal fortune. Berlusconi could offer the guy a Lamborghini and it wouldn't shut him up, so he (wisely) doesn't bother. Life's too short, one can almost hear the Prime Minister sighing, to bother with fascists - oops, did I say fascist? I meant to say people who would make a good fascist in a movie about fascism. Or a good concentration camp guard in a movie about the Holocaust.

I suppose it's a good thing that this country's leader has an immense personal fortune of his own. If he ever decides to write his memoirs, he'll have to pony up some big bucks to somebody who knows how to write the kind of memoirs that sell.



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