The Commons is a weblog for concerned citizens of southeast Iowa and their friends around the world. It was created to encourage grassroots networking and to share information and ideas which have either been suppressed or drowned out in the mainstream media.

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Trapper John - Bad Daddy

Bad Daddy
by Trapper John (dailykos)
Mon Apr 16, 2007 at 09:18:50 AM PDT

Dick Cheney, on CBS News' Face The Nation, yesterday:

I think it's important they know where we stand. And the fact of the matter is I do believe that the positions that the Democratic leaders have taken and -- to a large extent now are irresponsible. I mean, Harry Reid last fall said -- is after the November elections -- that he would not support an effort to cut off funding for the troops. Then he changed that position to one in which he would support an effort to cut off funding for the troops, place limitations on--on the funding, and now he's to the point where he's saying he's going to support legislation that cuts the whole funding for the troops. He's done a complete 180 from where he was in five months. I think that is irresponsible. I think you cannot make the basic fundamental decisions that have to be made with respect to the nation's security, given everything that's at stake in the war on terror, and what we're doing in Iraq, and with the 140,000 American troops in the field in Iraq and with the 140,000 American troops in the field in Iraq in combat every day, and call that kind of--of rapid changes in position anything other than irresponsible.

Later, Cheney went on to complain that Harry used the car all weekend driving to pot parties without once filling up the gas tank, and that Nancy really better start buckling down in physics, because at this rate she won't get into Stanford and will probably end up at some obscure women's college.

I mean, this is his shtick. It's been his shtick through the past six-and-a-half years. And you have to admit that it's often been successful. Dick Cheney is the Big Daddy of the Daddy Party. He is, quite frankly, the incarnation of the image that the Republicans have long sought to project: the strong, white father, smoking his briar pipe, with one hand on the tiller of the ship of state and the other steadily holding a tumbler of Dewar's, rocks. He has successfully conveyed the message that he, and anyone or anything that he endorses, is serious about the future of the US and the world, while his opponents are senseless children -- motivated by selfish, instinctual desires -- who have yet to reach the age of reason. Even those lickspittle Democrats who generally grovel before their Republican betters can expect to receive a periodic tonguelashing from Big Daddy Cheney. The lucky ones might receive an upgrade from being typed as brutish toddlers, and end up portrayed as well-meaning but hopelessly naïve adolescents, unaware of how grown-ups function in th real world. Although Cheney's mastery of the part of Big Daddy is evident in every public appearance that he's made as Vice President, perhaps the epitome of the phenomenon was his performance in the 2004 VP debate. He blustered, lied, pounded his chest, and did everything necessary to make it clear that he understood the world in a way that li'l Johnny Edwards never could.

No one is more susceptible to the Big Daddy performance than the Washington media. No one in American life seems to need the strong, paternal figure more than inside-the-Beltway reporters. I haven't the vaguest idea why -- if I were Charles Krauthammer, I'd tell you, but thankfully I'm not. Even as Cheney's approval rating dipped well below Nixon/Agnew levels, and even as the Administration crafted in his graven, sneering image began to collapse on its foundation of rotten principles, the man was still afforded a remarkable degree of respect and deference -- in some ways, more than that of the President.

And yet, one wonders if the Daddy act is wearing thin. Increasingly, if Cheney is still trying to project the Daddy aura, he's coming off like a really Bad Daddy. The kind of Daddy who cratered in his own professional life, and tries to build himself up by tearing down the innovative kids who are succeeding where he so miserably failed. The kind of Daddy who continues to abandon the family for his "side interests," yet protests mightily when the family decides to help itself. No Daddy can retain respect unless he succeeds in the basic functions of the job, and Cheney has failed. Dick Cheney is a Bad Daddy, a failure in his only plausible role -- that of the preening alpha male. He has been rejected by the American people and replaced as a trusted leader. And like the defeated male lion, the erstwhile king of the pride, he's left without a rationale for his existence once defeated in his only role. If he was at all a sympathetic figure, it'd be sad to see Cheney vainly trying to assert his authority. But when you watch him calling the Democratic majority "irresponsible" for pushing an Iraq agenda supported by the vast majority of Americans, or you see him defending a convicted felon like Sccoter Libby or a dead man walking like Gonzales, it's not sad. It's just pathetic. Big Daddy has become Bad Daddy.

And the villagers never liked you.
They are dancing and stamping on you.
They always knew it was you.
Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I'm through.
--Sylvia Plath, "Daddy," 1966.


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