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[images 1, 2 and 4 by dood abides]

Don't let it be forgot
That once there was a spot
For one brief, shining moment that
was known as Bribelot.

--President Bush's favorite lyrics from the Broadway play "Bribelot."


Fig. 1: GWB and Jackie (pillbox hat by Halston): Premonition of disaster

This portrait of George W. Bush and bedfellow Jackie Abramoff, taken at a stylish barbeque in Crawford Texas, illustrates much of what Americans loved about George W. Bush and his main cash cow: a young, vivacious duo who projected a sense of born-again warmth and fun, despite their wealth and connections. GBW (or just "W") was a dashing ex-pilot in the Texas Air National Guard, with a romantic secret substance-abuse record, and a unique way with words, while Jackie Abramoff was a stylishly-coiffed apartheid propagandist and member of Washington's upper crust, a donor to private schools, sports foundations, and Israeli militia. Despite well-publicized blemishes, this "bright shining moment" in American history lives on in our collective memory.

More on the magical kingdom of Bribelot, below

The legend of George W. Bush began well before his entry into politics. His hair-raising wartime adventures, culminating in an exciting escape from the Texas Air National Guard, were chronicled in a fascinating book. At the time of the GWB nomination, Norman Mailer wrote in Esquire that the future president could unleash the
...subterranean river of untapped , ferocious, lonely and romantic fundamentalist desires...
The election was close and disputed, marred by charges of election fraud. But soon Bush and his bedfellow brought a new sense of excitement to the Beltway, without the boring and unnecessary presidential press conferences. Because of the habits of the couple inhabiting 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the Bush White House became known as Bribelot. Alan Jay Lerner had penned the hit song "Bribelot" for a Broadway musical, which became a personal favorite of President Bush. The play tells of a king and his efforts to extend his hegemony world-wide, as others butt in and try to save democracy. The tune quickly became the unofficial theme of the Bush administration. Visitors to the White House readily adopted the term. GWB's exciting plans attracted a whole new generation of thinkers and doers to Washington. Jackie also brought new talent to the the Washington scene. According to Isaac Stern (on meeting President George W. Bush and his bedfellow Jackie Abramoff):
"I felt as though I were inside a golden coach drawn by four
pure-bred white horses into the glitter of mythic Bribelot."


Fig. 2: Aboard the presidental aircraft ChickenHawk One, Bush cuts and runs to a Nebraska bunker after 9/11, while Court Jester Karl Rove re-spins history for the evening news cycle.

The brief period that was Bribelot would bring many uplifting moments:
-"My Pet Goat".
-the uplifting flight/photo-op to offer a college scholarship to Terri Schiavo.
-The unprecedented second inaugural day extravaganza, while our troops were dying in Iraq.
-Bush fiddling in the dry kingdom of AZ while the avenging Katrina punished the homasectuals of NOLA.
-The mendacious call for invasion of Iraq in the State of the Union address.
-Splashing mud on Cindy Sheehan as the presidential motorcade zooms by.
-Tribal front loaders dumping fashionable Prada bags full of hundred dollar bills into Jackie's pickup.
-George's gallant defense of Jackie against that mean ole prosecutor in Guam.
-Endless hours of video games, vacations and mindless brush-clearing.
-Jackie's endless efforts to help the poor "troglodytes and morons" of American Indian tribes.
-The success of the intellectual Faux News channel.
-Covert domestic wiretaps and propaganda.
-The art exhibits of Fernando Botero.
- The satisfaction of exposing a US secret agent.
-The friendly waves from the drivers of the heavily-laden Halliburton trucks pulling away from the loading dock of the US Treasury Building.
-Ken Lay's puckish corporate practical jokes.
- Grateful Iraqi children.
-The initiation of an exciting new program of national service in developing countries.
-A challenge to advance our space program.
-the arrival of new leadership for the future of the Iraqi people
-And of course, that inspiring inaugural address when he challenged the American public with these thrilling words:
"Ask not what America can do for YOU, ask what America can do for its RICHEST 1% !"

These and many more rich experiences Bush shared with his hulking yet ever-fashionable and gracious bedfellow, Jackie Abramoff. Jackie's hat designer, Halston, received the Coty’s Fashion Critics Award. "W"-Men’s Wear Daily heralded him as “New York’s Top Milliner”. His brainy approach to the creation of fashions was dubbed "Intelligent Design," and is now taught throughout the industry. Jackie's fashion sense, elegant figure, trendy Washington restaurant, and position "close to the throne" made him a trendsetter whose influence on clothing trends has persisted to this day.


Not all was well in Bribelot, however; rumors persisted that the reign was being undermined by seamy illicit relationships (in that bygone era, the press thought it improper to report on certain aspects of regal behavior).



Suddenly, the promise of Bribelot was cut short, on a November day in Dallas.


Fig. 3: The end of Bribelot: arrested by motorcycle cops in Dallas

This photograph taken in Dealey Plaza shows the president and Jackie Abramoff being pulled over for swerving dangerously to the extreme right. They were subsequently arrested when a computerized warrantless search revealed innumerable phone calls and emails to members of the Bin Laden family, some containing tagged search terms (inserted by covert liberals within the NSA) like
"For Sale: Yellowstone National Park"
"Purple Hearts don't mean shit"
and
"dirt on Helen Thomas"
A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed thousands of what can only be described as pornographic images of relationships between lobbyists, Republican congressmen, and Jackie Abramoff.
I wonder what the king is up to tonight?
How goes the final hour
As he sees his lawyers cower
Being regally and legally prepared?
Well, I'll tell you what the king is doing tonight:
He's scared! He's scared!
-----lyrics from the song "I Wonder What the King is up to Tonight," from "Bribelot."
It was clear that Jackie was going down on political sodomy charges, but George's legal situation was less clear. He hired Washington attorney Robert Luskin, whose strategy of blaming the entire matter on Wolf Blitzer seemed initially successful. But Chicago-based Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald, harking back to the Al Capone case, indicted Bush on never-before-used Federal charges of annoying others on the internet, at the dailyKos blog, while concealing his identity under the pseudonym ChuckLin. Thus was brought down the American neo-monarchy.




Fig. 4: Jackie wrestles with what might have been

In an interview with Life Magazine a few days after the tragedy of his bedfellow's impeachment, Jackie Abramoff confessed that "I'm so ashamed of myself--all I keep thinking of is how I should have stayed out of that whole arms-for-Israeli-militias thing. And just when we were about ready to do the "drowning in the bathtub"...."  

Jackie was traumatized by the fall of Bush, and even more so when he was deserted by his former friends, like Ed Gillespie and Grover Norquist. In the cruelest blow of all, Bush announced through his press secretary that he didn't even know Jackie Abramoff, a claim that would later be disproved by photographs and Secret Service records. Nonetheless, the courts would decide that being "in bed with" Bush for years did not constitute an actual common-law marriage. Further, Bush had cleverly persuaded Congress to remove any legal standing for same-sex relationships. Of his old pals, only Tom "the House and Garden Senate Exterminator" Delay stood by Jackie. But even Tom would finally turn on Jackie, accusing him of being an "Indian-giver."

Cut off from any monetary or moral support, Jackie reportedly contemplated suicide. Thankfully, he was talked out of this idea by a rabbi, who emphasized that the Northern Marianas' sweatshops and pimps would become extinct without him.

The nation went into shock with the arrest of GWB and Jackie; rumors of some sort of divine role in the imperial takedown were advanced in a book by televangelist-turned-New Orleans DA Pat Robertson, later made into a motion picture by Oliver Stone. A blue-ribbon panel investigated the matter and concluded that Robertson's remarks were "inappropriate," but the numerous so-called "rapture theorists" have never been convinced of the all-too-human origins of the fall of GWB.

The charm and pizzazz lost in the fall of Bribelot would be sorely missed, as Vice President Richard Baines Cheney assumed control of the government. Cheney's style was more that of a crude Wyoming pol, who was fond of showing off his coronary bypass scar. The nation's sense of loss found expression in the popular song by Dion: "Abramoff, Tommy, and George:"
Has anybody here seen my old friend Abramoff?
Can you tell me where he's gone?
He fleeced a lot of people,
But it seems the crooks, they roll over young.
You know, I just looked around and he's gone.

Anybody here seen my old friend George?
Can you tell me where he's gone?
He peed off a lot of people,
But it seems the thugs, they perpwalk young.
I just looked around and he's gone.
Anybody here seen my old friend Tom?
Can you tell me where he's gone?
He laundered a lot of money here
But it seems the bugmen, they get caught young
I just looked 'round and he's gone.

Didn't you love the things that they stood for?
Didn't they try to find some bucks for pols?
And we'll be broke
Some day soon, and it's a-gonna be one day ...

Anybody here seen my old friend Karl?
Can you tell me where he's gone?
I thought I saw him walkin' up over the hill,
With Abramoff, Tommy and George.
Newly crowned president Cheney tried to salvage an unwinnable war against a determined insurgency by bombing peasants of color into the stone age. The public responded by rejecting Cheney and electing as president a member of the opposition party, the man who had previously been defeated by Bush, and the war finally came to an end.

Bush's younger brother tried to keep the legend of Bribelot alive with a run for the presidency, but this effort ended in disaster.

Jackie Abramoff would spend a brief period in solitude, contemplating what had befallen him, and what might lie ahead. He had been universally referred to during the Bribelot years as simply "Jackie," but this would soon change. He confounded his many fans by taking a much older bedfellow, a Greek brazillionaire, after which he became known as Jacqueline Abramoff Soros, or "Jackie A." Though he became an even more wealthy and well-kept jet setter, Jackie A. would never again achieve the mythic status he had during the "bright, shining moment."



In later years, after the death of Soros, Jacqueline would take a job in the publishing industry, and would sometimes reminisce about his presidential bedfellow:
Now, I think that I should have known that he was magic all along. I did know it - but I should have guessed that it would be too much to ask to grow old with...now, he is a legend when he would have preferred to be a man.
Jackie A. predicted that
"There'll be infamous presidents again... but there'll never be another Bribelot."


-------------

If dood or I have offended,
Think but this and all is mended,
That you have but slumbered here,
When these visions did appear."
-- seesdifferent, and Puck, Act V, Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

Originally posted to seesdifferent on Tue Jan 10, 2006 at 11:10 AM PST.

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