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...was the name of the play and thematic song in Mel Brooks, "The Producers."   It popped into my mind as I watched Karl Rove and George W. Bush do their routines at this weeks annual correspondents dinner.  

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Continued after the jump:

When Mel Brooks wrote this screenplay in 1967 the idea of making a comedy about an individual who brought the devastation of war and genocide to Europe was so outrageous that it seemed a sure way to ensure a flop, one that would make producer Max Bialystock rich.  Much to his surprise, the audience loved it, and when Max's investors (all 2000% of them) expected their share of the profits, his goose was cooked.

Brooks, from Eastern European Jewish stock, took some heat for this movie that treated Hitler as a comic character.  But, the Nazi era was long over, the dead were not to be brought back, and Brooks saw laughter as the ultimate affirmation of life.  

President Bush and Karl Rove are still in power.  The impeccable timing of Bush's comic acknowledgment of his decline of popularity disarmed even his critics, as it shifted focus for the moment from the reason why the public holds him is such low esteem.  It is not that he has tripped on a banana peel, or was caught in a sexual indiscretion; it is that he is perpetuating a war that, while originally having some justification based on idealistic illusion, now is seen by all except his inner circle as an ongoing travesty.

As Bush did his stand up routine, he certainly was appealing; diffusing political conflict by making a joke of Pelosi's  threatened subpoenas of the other comedian, Karl Rove.   We could forget for a few seconds that this was the decider.  This was the man who has the keys to the destiny of our country in his hands.  

George W. Bush is not to be compared to Adolph Hitler.  But while Hitler has become the archetype of evil incarnate, he was something else to the Germans of the 1920s.  He was a decisive, charming, charismatic leader who was leading them out of the morass of socialism.  Even after the war was lost, as bombs were raining down on Berlin, he was still loved and admired by many.  Charisma is more than projecting authority. He had perfect comedic timing, illustrated by his hysterical parody of Churchill in his address to the Reichstag, when he recited all of the countries he was warned against invading.  His audience was in stitches.  

I have to admit, I enjoyed watching President Bush do his routine.  Here it is on youtubeif anyone missed it.  I must say I had a sense of comfort, of normalcy, as a child of a dysfunctional family must feel when he sees mommy and daddy laughing together.  With all the partisan rancor we now have in Washington, it is still possible that those from both sides of the aisle can spend an evening together, enjoying each other's company.  

The evening was a rare glimpse of something easy to lose sight of.  It showed the political culture in this country that is so robust that it transcends even the worst that any individual president can do.  This is a gift from those who signed the declaration of independence, an act of treason that could have cost them their lives, and then went on to write our constitution.  It is a gift from all all of those cursed politicians who took their place in the halls of congress and the supreme court over the centuries who added their stamp to the founding documents, and made it more resilient.  

While we are aware of the anger, the loathing that we feel for those who exercise power over us, especially when they are of the other party, we lose sight of the magnificent edifice of laws, tradition and civility, that allows demure Nancy Pelosi to challenge the Commander in Chief of the most powerful military in history.

We laugh with him because he acknowledges this.  No, Bush is not Hitler.  And 21st century America is not Weimar Germany.  We are not better people than the Germans of that time, we are luckier.  The correspondent's dinner celebrates that cosmic good fortune of our being here now, rather than there then.  

For reasons that have nothing to do with our individual character or values, rather the dumb luck of being in this country at this time, we can allow myself to laugh with a man who very well may be the worst president in our nation's history.  

Originally posted to ARODB on Sat Mar 31, 2007 at 02:59 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  With the exception of Colbert's appearance ... (12+ / 0-)

    ... I cannot stand to watch that Correspondents' Dinner. I think I have a fairly good sense of humor but, for some reason, watching the Bushies (and I include the MSM among them) yucking it up and making sport while soldiers and civilians are dying and the country is deteriorating is not something I want to see. I guess we all have our separate eccentricities -- and this is one of mine.

    "It does not require many words to speak the truth." -- Chief Joseph, native American leader (1840-1904)

    by highfive on Sat Mar 31, 2007 at 03:12:34 PM PDT

    •  Not an eccentricity at all (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      highfive, goodasgold, Temmoku

      I wrote this because I felt somewhat guilty not being irate at Bush laughing while his troops are dying.

      •  I guess your guilty pleasure (2+ / 0-)

        is similar to mine when I read this first sentence of a LA Times book review and burst out laughing and haven't stopped:

        Leni Riefenstahl was a slut.

        However, perhaps I relate better to Brooks than to yourself.  I can't seem to laugh at Bush and Rove antics.  Not yet.

        (Review by Richard Schickel. March 11, 2007/"Leni: The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl," by Steven Bach)

         

    •  "and I include the MSM among them" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      highfive, arodb, moosely2006

      Agree with you, which is why I think that this line from the diary;

      With all the partisan rancor we now have in Washington, it is still possible that those from both sides of the aisle can spend an evening together, enjoying each other's company.

      Is a little off.  The MSM and the Bushies are on the same side.

      Otherwise, great diary arodb.

  •  You'll Have.... (0+ / 0-)

    To explain this one: "while originally having some justification based on idealistic illusion,"

    If talking about taking down one man, and whatever happened to All the Lookalikes, he was Ours till the Hanging, reason the farce trial stayed in Iraq!

    Otherwise you're right, that passed my mind watching the chub rove!

    The Failed Policies will Haunt Us and the World for Decades

    by jimstaro on Sat Mar 31, 2007 at 03:26:12 PM PDT

    •  while originally having some justification..... (0+ / 0-)

      based on idealistic illusion,"

      Were words that I didn't think I would get a pass on from the readers here.  Those who feel that this war was completely for purposes of gaining American suzerainty over the oil of Iraq and the neo-con verbiage was contrived, will not agree with this statement.

      I personally believe Bush's motives were mixed.  I happen to share Zbigniew Brzezinski's view that Bush was a victim of his own "Manacheist Delusion."

      So, far the evidence from Woodward and other's who viewed the run up to war, seem to confirm this view. Perhaps on Bush's death bed, the truth of his inner motivation will come out.  

      •  Not From The bush.... (0+ / 0-)

        "the truth of his inner motivation will come out."

        The twit wasn't much of a part of anything, except stupid enough to believe he was the CEO in charge, just like Ronny!

        Now he's run so amouck, as have everything the Neo's touched, he and they have made him the idiot in-charge, and We Aren't Doing What We Should Be Doing!!!!!!!!!!!  

        The Failed Policies will Haunt Us and the World for Decades

        by jimstaro on Sat Mar 31, 2007 at 04:45:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I agree and disagree (9+ / 0-)

    In the first place, the press should never have such a cozy relationship with the government that they cover, report on, and investigate.  To me, it's a firewall that should never be breached.

    You can't humanize the inhuman things that the Bush regime has done.  In one respect, I agree with you - at least on some level.  There is little comparison between Hitler and Bush, at least on a personal level.  The only thing they have in common is that both of them had some degree of charisma in their earlier political lives.  They had to or wouldn't have climbed the political summit in their respective countries.

    I'll never understand the charisma of George Bush.  From the first moment I heard him speak, I knew he was a bullshitters bullshitter.  I knew he knew he was a bullshitters bullshitter.  And that's the most dangerous kind of bullshitter.

    The biggest difference between Hitler and Bush is that Hitler was not in the game for personal enrichment or enrichment of his cronies.  That's the  singular reason that Bush was installed as POTUS.  And the most dangerous.

    The world can understand and deal with a crazy man who lusts for territory and the power of life and death simply because he feels its his birth right (as did Hitler).  The world (and American media) have had a very hard time dealing with a crazy man who lusts for power for the sake of the concept of inherited nobility, and ultimately, for filthy lucre.  It's much different.

    So, ultimately, I think your backhanded compliments of Bush are misplaced.  The fact that our founders put in place a process for dealing with assholes such as Bush doesn't negate the fact that he hasn't yet been dealt with in a constitutionally mandated manner.

    Be afraid, be very afraid.

    Support the troops. Bring them home. All Spin Zone

    by Richard Cranium on Sat Mar 31, 2007 at 03:29:42 PM PDT

    •  Another difference between Bush and Hitler (8+ / 0-)

      was that Hitler was elected.

      Democrats: Cleaning up Republican messes since 1933.

      by DCDemocrat on Sat Mar 31, 2007 at 03:45:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I heard someone ask today--- (8+ / 0-)

      after another showing of the "riotous" rove and some of our news elites sharing the stage----"isn't it hard to then ask the tough questions after this kind of an affair"?  Uh----the answer is yes.  That's why all that shared fun and frolic bothers.  It's too cozy.  It blurs another important line.  And it's just human nature to be less likely to be on point---to be one of those important "watchdogs of our government"--- with someone you have shared drinks and jokes with the night before.  Or the week before.  It's ugly and disturbing to me, to say the least.

      •  Now that you mention it.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        davidincleveland, arodb

        ...the question of whether these comedic bonding rites will frustrate the pursuit of probity is not a rhetorical question.

        Wouldn't it be nice to think that these "sharing" moments could actually give people the guts to confront the truth?

        Sort of like, "Hey, I'm just doing my job as a reporter here; nothing personal!  Don't you remember that nice, funny dinner?  We're buddies!"

      •  But the event didn't slow down the demands (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        moosely2006

        that Rove appear to answer his participation in the US attorneys firings.

        The point of my diary is we have a political culture that allows us to take action against breaches of our laws, even by the executive, without the violence that was part of life in Weimar Germany.

        Bush can be impeached and get to live out his life. This would allow him, as it did Nixon, to accede to the will of congress without a show of lethal force.

        We don't think about this too much.  The event that I described made me appreciate the system that we have, that we are lucky to have, that Bush cannot destroy.  

        •  How Nice For You. You are able to find a (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Feanor, enough already, dancewater

          mass murderer [over half a million Iraqis and counting] and the murderer's enablers amusing. Of course, that isn't surprising, since you also find Hitler amusing:

          He had perfect comedic timing, illustrated by his hysterical parody of Churchill in his address to the Reichstag, when he recited all of the countries he was warned against invading.  His audience was in stitches.

          The subject matter, invading other nations, should have been enough to keep any decent legislator from laughter, however droll the parody. Those German Reichstag members have one possible excuse for their laughter; perhaps they dared not do otherwise. If fear is the reason for your chuckles, you may also be excused.

          The basic premise of your diary seems to be that GWB/Rove sharing chortles with the American press over inappropriate material is somehow a sign of our system's strength. I find that conclusion 180 degrees wrong.

          davidsnest "No person should be a judge in his own case." -Sir Edward Coke [in 1610]

          by davidincleveland on Sat Mar 31, 2007 at 05:26:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  "backhanded compliments of Bush?" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      moosely2006

      Not really.

      I choose to see the complexity of this person, as we all have many facets to who we are.

      While he may see the world as Good or Evil, I would rather not.  We don't have to let him inflict that paradigm on us.

    •  I swear I'll forever be suspicious (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dotster

      of David Gregory after watching him dance back-up to Karl Rove.  Too much fun had by all.

    •  Oh thank you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Feanor, dotster

      I agree with everything you said.  I must say I cannot bare the thought of watching the people who may be our only hope (as far as exposing and putting an end to this neo-con crime spree) dining, dancing, and laughing with our tormentors!  Knowing it happens is not only unsettling, it's downright frightening at this point.  I certainly take no comfort in the thought.  Just the opposite.

    •  Hmm (0+ / 0-)

      The biggest difference between Hitler and Bush is that Hitler was not in the game for personal enrichment or enrichment of his cronies.

      I'd be personally inclined to think that the Holocaust was the biggest difference.

      We've been raptured. Daily Kos is Heaven.

      by TruthOfAngels on Sat Mar 31, 2007 at 04:53:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I just can't laugh at them yet..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lesliet

    All I want from Congress is...IMPEACHMENT!

    by Temmoku on Sat Mar 31, 2007 at 03:46:35 PM PDT

  •  I disagree (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enough already

    Here's how I see it.

    Not content with the pursuit of seeing how far the system can be gamed to shovel lucre into the coffers of The Chosen, at the expense of the rest of us who should be so lucky should the relatively tame adjective, "fleeced," be suitable, Bush & Rove & Co. budded another tentacle, which long ago reached out to strangle Dame Humor, herself.

    He laughs, and all the people who matter laugh with him.

    OK; maybe I should watch the Youtube clip.  D'ya think I'll find out that I matter?  God, I hope not.

  •  "We laugh with him" - you are deluded. (5+ / 0-)

    For reasons that have nothing to do with our individual character or values, rather the dumb luck of being in this country at this time, we can allow myself to laugh with a man who very well may be the worst president in our nation's history.  

    You're counting on dumb luck to save us?

    No, we don't laugh with him.

  •  be careful here (0+ / 0-)

    I recommemnded because I see the point about bush's diversions being like the play but it's a dengerous road to go down because GW Bush did not kill 6 million jews and countless others in gas chambers, Bush is a bad president  and along with others lied to get us into a questionable war that many democrats joined in on, he is the worst american president in history, but he's not to be compared to Hitler, Stalin or Idi amin  ect....he does not put political opponents in jail or execute them like Pinochet or Castro, there is plenty  to despise about Bush but as a jew I see how many people (me included) don't like Bush/hitler comparisons, jokes like the difference between the two being Hitler was elected produce a chuckle but when you think about them they probably shouldn't be made.

    this is your mission: TERMINATE the Bush presidency

    by nevadadem on Sat Mar 31, 2007 at 03:58:19 PM PDT

    •  "He is not to be compared to Hitler" (0+ / 0-)

      As the commenter states this is exactly what I wrote in my diary in the first sentence of the fifth paragraph.

      My diary is about humor, and what this particular example of it represented to me.  

      There is no hidden message between the lines.

    •  I totally reject your direction (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FlyingToaster

      in regards to what should and shouldn't be said.

    •  I think it's too bad (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Feanor, enough already, OHdog, moosely2006

      I think it's too bad that focussing exclusively on Hitler's evil and how it totally transcends anything Bush has done prevents us from applying any lessons we might learn by looking at other aspects of Hitler's career - the way he pulled the wool over people's eyes and rose to power in Germany, then sliding little by little into despotism without people ever actually noticing what was happening to them. There's a lot we can learn from comparing the US today to Germany in the 30's. But every time somebody tries it, we get the standard argument about not ever in any way comparing any aspect of any situation to Hitler. It is not helpful, in my opinion.

      I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies..

      by lesliet on Sat Mar 31, 2007 at 05:56:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  no you didn't compare the two (0+ / 0-)

    a couple of commenters on the thread did

    this is your mission: TERMINATE the Bush presidency

    by nevadadem on Sat Mar 31, 2007 at 04:10:17 PM PDT

  •   I think you got this all wrong (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Feanor

    for starters:

    originally having some justification based on idealistic illusion,

    well, that's a hell of a stretch - that bush/cheney did this for some idealistic reasons - I say horse shit to that idea.... they did it to control the area and the resources..... and never showed any signs of giving a rat's ass about the Iraqi people!  Even today, bush comments that he thinks things are improving when the Iraqis are busy killing other Iraqis - HE THINKS THAT IS IMPROVEMENT!

    And then there is the ongoing covert operations in Iran and the funding/arming/training of extremist Sunni groups in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Jordan - supporting the overall goal of killing off many people in the Middle East - making them weaker and easier to control.

    we can allow myself to laugh with a man who very well may be the worst president in our nation's history.  

    well, you may think it is funny that bush killed more Iraqis than Saddam, but I sure do not.  This partying while murdering sickens me to the core.

    And don't congratulate yourself too much for not being like Hitler's Germany - Hitler did what he did (invade other countries) to EXPAND the available resources (land) for his EXCEPTIONAL people.  And bush/cheney did what they did to EXPAND the available resources (energy) for the EXCEPTIONAL people - the powerful rich in the western countries, mainly the USA.

    I would suggest you go read THE NAZIS:  A WARNING FROM HISTORY because you are out to lunch.  To think that some idiots in DC with power can all laugh together shows the laugh is on you.  

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