Monday, August 21, 2006



CONDI VIGIL ABRUPTLY CONCLUDES

I've been worried about Condi, who has not been publicly seen nor heard from (by me, anyway) since Israel and Lebanon hurt her feelings by listening more to Dick Cheney than to her. To the outside world, this little tiff looked like a senseless war that mostly killed women and children with bombs, but it simply means that Israel decided to keep their Cheney Certification current. So I started a vigil for Condi. Actually it started out as a hunger strike, because I could stand to lose a few score pounds, but hunger strikes don't cover drinking; so when I got pretty blitzed with my old friend Valeo the first night of the strike, I went ahead and had the plate of 6 fabulous ahi tuna recipes at Etta's Seafood (http://tomdouglas.com/ettas/index.html) . "What the hell," was my blurred thinking at the time, "I can just turn it into a Condi Vigil."

I feared that Condi might've gone on a vacation to the Caribbean or even departed to the Hamptons early, or maybe curled up in a depressive, suicidal funk while mending her exhausted ego in a mud bath at an exclusive desert resort spa. Either way, her absence left our imperiled nation with a yawning spokesleader gap at a crucial time, but she must have been in tatters from her impressive albeit doomed shuttle diplomacy. She would never shirk her duties as champion of our ship of state unless she were really sad, or plotting necessary revenge. Well, as it turns out I've been worrying over nothing for the past five excruciating days, and have wasted a lot of candles, which my wife always seems to have scads of but which are not cheap anymore. You can go through a hundred bucks worth of candles like you wouldn't believe. Fortunately, Condi has been busy, and my vigil was not in vain:

'A PATH TO LASTING PEACE
By Condoleezza Rice
Wednesday, August 16, 2006

For the past month the United States has worked urgently to end the violence that Hezbollah and its sponsors have imposed on the people of Lebanon and Israel.'

There's a lot of other stuff in the article, which goes on into largely needless detail and considerately repeats key points for the slow-witted, but don't bother looking for it because that first sentence says it all. This is Condi back at her best, back to full speed with the artful, almost breathlessly quotidian level of eloquence we've come to expect from her and her hard-working team of speech writers. The limbic part of me had a difficult moment as my gag reflex was triggered, but I dared not indulge in Jon Schwartz's reaction over at Tiny Revolutions ( http://tinyrevolution.com/mt/ ):

'...all righty now, let me just reach for my bucket, and—

blllllleeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrggghh!!!!!!
Huh. You know, usually you feel much better after throwing up. I wonder why...wait, hold on, there's mo—

BBBBBBBBBBBBBBBLLLLLLLEEEEEAAAARRGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!'

No, Jon, Condi is a national treasure. Vomit if you must, but she has raised diplomacy to a new art form, equal in its own way to Talleyrand or Bismarck at their best. Look back at that first sentence, and behold its genius: it's nothing less than Condivellian. It says "I worked my ass off" and "We greatly appreciate your call and hope to be with you shortly" both at the same time, with an impeccably wronged "Don't Cry For Me, Pat Buchanan" stiff upper lip thrown in, all while exuding just the right air of blunt, unpanicked dryness to let the reader know nothing has changed. I would venture to say that Condi has built upon her previous work to achieve a real breakthrough here; depending on how things go, historians may come to term her trademark style "Diva Diplomacy," or perhaps "The Diplomacy of Denial." We shall overcome, Condi. We shall overcome.

(Graphic courtesy of George HW Bush Presidential Library)

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