Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Dubya and me

You might have heard that President Bush was in the Minneapolis area yesterday. That was true. You might also have heard that he spent his day raising a half million dollars for Michele Bachmann, a right-wing Congressional candidate. That was a lie. Or, to put it another way, that was deliberate disinformation. The fact of the matter is that George W. Bush can’t stand traveling out into the hinterland just to beg money from goofy-accented outstate fatcats. Frankly, I don’t think he cares one bit who gets into Congress. By this point, it’s all a bunch of wind. His administration has jumped the shark, everyone knows it, and now all he wants to do all day is work on his Tetris scores and prank call Jacques Chirac.

No, there’s only one thing could get Dubya to dust off Air Force one and make a trip out to the boonies. That one thing is Snakes On A Plane. I don’t think I’m divulging any state secrets when I tell you that George W. Bush and I have been moviegoing buddies since his Texas Rangers days. As a fellow Skull and Bones legacy, I think he feels he can unwind around me. True, I’m a Democrat of the Paul Wellstone mold who considers him to be the worst President of all time, but we’re usually able to put that aside and just enjoy each others company. There’s more to life than partisan enmity, after all. Besides, if I keep hanging out with him, there’s always the chance that I’ll be able to drive a fatal wedge into his marriage and claim Laura as my own. I’ve had a crush on that woman since way back.

Interestingly enough, I had to work some pretty heavy diplomacy to convince the President to see Snakes On A Plane. When he first called me, a few weeks ago, he was all excited to go see The Lake House. You might not have guessed this, but Bush’s tastes run towards the chick-flick end of the spectrum. He’s one of those guys who puts up a tough exterior but, deep down, he just wants to sit in a dark room and cry his eyes out as Melanie Griffith breaks some leading man’s heart. He’s been told that appearing “soft” will cause his poll numbers to dive (how they can dive any further is anyone’s guess, but still...), so he puts on this strutting Texan act that anyone with any clout in Washington knows is a transparent facade. I mean, this is a man who can quote you dialogue from Beaches from memory. He likes to think of himself as the Bette Midler character, whereas everyone else–from Condoleeza Rice to Tony Blair to Kim Jong Il—is Barbara Hershey. It’s sort of weird. I can’t imagine that Clinton was like that.

So, given that Keanu Reeves is his favorite actor, I knew I’d have some convincing to do. I wasn’t about to go see some crybaby sadsack movie, though, I had my heart set on seeing Samuel Jackson fighting snakes. I was going to have to stand firm on that. Negotiations, however, broke down early last week when the President told me, through his Press Secretary Tony Snow, that he wasn’t going to see some stupid idiot action movie and that was final. Apparently, the leader of the free world thinks he can push me around like my name is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or something.

I knew I had to play it cool, though. You see, Bush has been playing that whole “I’m the decider” act for so long that he sometimes comes to believe it. If you think it’s hard to get him to act reasonably about stem cells, you ought to try talking him out of a new Keanu Reeves movie. That takes the sort of maneuvering that would make Karl Rove stain his XXL tighty-whities. But I knew Bush wasn’t being intransigent just to be a dickwad. He’s been really excited about The Lake House for a long time, of course, but the thing is—and he’s going to kill me for telling you this—he’s pretty much a lightweight when it comes to scary movies. He’s a big screamer, is what I’m saying. It’s like going to the theater with your housebound aunt. Or a sixteen year old girl. It’s pretty embarrassing. I can’t imagine how the secret service guys must feel.

A year or so ago, I talked him into going to see Saw with me. And to this day he’s still going to bed with rubber sheets. So, when my fellow liberals chastise him for not serving in Vietnam, I nod along with them, but I also know that it was all for the best. If we had him over there, we would have lost that war three years early.

No matter: under no circumstances was I going to see The Lake House. In this, I was helped by the fact that that particular movie hasn’t been in the theaters for, like, two months. The President, however, is far too busy to keep up with that sort of thing. So, deciding to employ subterfuge, I called him up and told him that I’d relented. We could go see his hero Keanu stink up the screen for a few hours. He was, of course, delighted. He said he’d come on out to Minneapolis as soon as Cheney would let him.

When he got here, however, I broke the bad news to him gently. He was, as I expected, quite livid. “Well, shit, Holmes*! You got them second-run theaters out here, ain’t you?” he squealed. I told him that we did, but that none were choosing to play The Lake House. He fretted some more, and I just stayed quiet. When he loses his temper, it’s best just to stand back and let him badmouth the French. I’m a bit of a Francophile myself, so it can be galling, but mostly I just feel sorry for the guy. Anyway, when he was winding down, I solemnly put out my index finger. Bush glared at it for a few seconds and then his features perked up and he gave it a hearty tug. That’s when I farted. A real nasty one, too.

When we were finished laughing and slapping our high-fives, he said, “C’mon, Holmes, let’s go see some of them snakes...”

And I think he had a pretty good time, all things considered. He got to forget about the stresses and strains of leading (badly, but still...) the world’s sole superpower, he got to put as much fake butter as he wanted on his jumbo popcorn, and he misted up a little at the film’s lets-all-work-together message, just as I knew he would.

As for me, the scratches he left in my arm still sting. And my ears are haven’t stopped ringing from all the screeching he did. But it was a good time, I suppose. When it was over, and he came trotting out of the bathroom with a fresh pair of khakis on, we both agreed that it would be pretty fucking cool to be Samuel Jackson for a day.

*As I’m sure you’ve heard, President Bush likes to give everyone he knows a nickname. Mine is “Holmes”, which is short for “John Holmes”. John Holmes, as many of you are already aware, was a famous 1970s porn film actor. The reasons for me having that particular pet name are cannot be divulged, however, because of certain Skull and Bones society bylaws.