Father Knows Best
Move over, Old Joe Kennedy. Until this week, you were the pre-eminent, gray-eminence pop in American campaign history, the invisible wizened hand behind Young Jacks election. Comes now Old George Bush, reducing you to just one more patriarchal pisher. Old George seems to be calling the shots on Young W.s campaign, and isnt adverse to doing it in public.
With the selection of former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, Young W. has picked his fathers preferred candidate (since the two of them couldnt land Colin Powell). Old George reportedly effervesced about Cheney once he learned that his erstwhile man at the Pentagon was available; he also checked out Cheneys ticker with his old pal Houston cardiac surgeon Denton Cooley.
As for the W., he seems bent on turning his own term in office, should he get so far, into a Republican Restoration. Besides Cheney, hes surrounded himself with Condaleezza Rice from Pops national security staff, Lawrence Lindsay from the Bush Federal Reserve board, George Schultz from the Coolidge Administration, and dozens more. Whats missing from the ranks of the W.s wonks is any new talent. Its as if, having chosen to bear the psychic freight of supplanting Poppa, hes eager to assure the Old Man that he wont think any thoughts, push any bills, cut any arms spending or start any wars that Pop wouldnt.
Indeed, the forthcoming GOP convention seems like nothing so much as a medley of the Old Mans greatest hits. Cheney, of course, will address the convention; so will Powell; so will Norman Schwarzkopf. Whats not clear is how or why any of this Persian Gulf nostalgia should help the W., since just one year after the Old Mans triumph over Sadaam, he himself lost to the Upstart Clinton.
Still, this does make clear what primordial urge is driving the W. -- avenging his fathers slaying -- and will guide his administration: placating Pop.
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