There’s trou­ble in Toy­land

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - Opin­ion by Wes­ley Pru­den

Where have all the grownups gone? Off to Toy­land, ev­ery one. The econ­omy is in free fall, with Congress on the way to ap­prov­ing a bud­get ap­proach­ing $4 tril­lion, just when we were get­ting ac­cus­tomed to think­ing in terms of bil­lions, not mere mil­lions. Some of us still stop to pick up a penny on the side­walk, but who in Congress would stoop to pick up a mere mil­lion dol­lars? Con­gress­men must pro­tect their dig­nity, af­ter all.

No­body any longer wants our dol­lars, and there’s talk among the Lil­liputians at the United Na­tions of in­vent­ing a re­place­ment for the dol­lar in in­ter­na­tional trad­ing. The pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Union says Amer­i­can reme­dies for the global re­ces­sion will only pave the road to hell. Even some of our il­le­gal aliens, who once dreamed of green cards and streets of gold, are split­ting for home. All that ought to make even se­na­tors pay at­ten­tion.

Or­rin G. Hatch, the one-time re­li­ably con­ser­va­tive se­na­tor from Utah, is fresh from tak­ing a bite out of the Con­sti­tu­tion, try­ing to give his home­boys an ex­tra mem­ber of Congress in re­turn for ex­pand­ing the union of states to mere mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties. This would ac­com­mo­date a rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the District of Columbia, which barely func­tions as a city. Mov­ing on to some­thing else to oc­cupy his time, the se­na­tor now wants Congress to or- ga­nize a play­off of col­lege foot­ball teams so the Uni­ver­sity of Utah can get a de­cent bowl game. Maybe an ex­tra seat in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and a trip to the Su­gar Bowl is the least the na­tion can do to ap­pease the Mor­mons for not send­ing Mitt Rom­ney to the White House.

Mean­while, the bad guys in Tehran are de­ter­mined to mea­sure us and our friends for shrouds, or at least burqas. The pres­i­dent, back home af­ter pay­ing trib­ute to the Spe­cial Olympics and yukking it up with Jay Leno, is pack­ing his bags and load­ing his teleprompter for his long-awaited Friend­ship, Fawn­ing and Grov­el­ing Tour of the Mid­dle East, to re­as­sure the mul­lahs that any mis­un­der­stand­ing be­tween us is cer­tainly our fault — well, not his, ac­tu­ally, but cer­tainly “ours.”

Plain speech in Toy­land is def­i­nitely out. The Pen­tagon has been told the War on Ter­ror is over — not that we’ve won it yet, but that we’ve moved on to some­thing called an “Over­seas Con­tin­gency Op­er­a­tion.” Speech­writ­ers have been told that “this ad­min­is­tra­tion prefers to avoid us­ing the term ‘Long War’ or ‘Global War on Ter­ror’ [GWOT].”

The phrase­mak­ers at the Pen­tagon con­sid­ered sev­eral other catchy names for the war on ter­ror, and con­sid­ered GSAVE, for “Global Strug­gle Against Vi­o­lent Ex­trem­ism.” Don­ald H. Rums­feld, the bat­tered sec­re­tary of de­fense for Ge­orge W. Bush, even used “GSAVE” once or twice. The Pen­tagon al­ways prefers acronyms, par­tic­u­larly when no one can pro­nounce them. But it’s hard to imag­ine Tol­stoy­call­ing his novel “GSAVE and Peace,” or that the old fire­bug Sher­man would ob­serve that “GSAVE is hell.” But they never had to work in Toy­land.

Not all the cit­i­zens of Toy­land are Amer­i­cans.

Sil­vio Ber­lus­coni, the Ital­ian prime min­is­ter, is in trou­ble in Rome again for brush­ing off a com­par­i­son of him­self and Barack Obama with in­cor­rect hu­mor. “I’m paler,” he said, “be­cause it’s been so long since I went sun­bathing. He’s more hand­some, younger and taller.”

All true, of course, and hardly an in­sult. But the Griev­ance So­ci­ety, a sub­urb of Toy­land, has ex­panded world­wide, and the Gaffe Pa­trol of­ten tar­gets Rome. The Fin­nish gov­ern­ment once called in the Ital­ian am­bas­sador to de­mand to know what Sig­nor Ber­lus­coni meant when he said he uses his “play­boy tac­tics” to deal with Tarja Halo­nen, the dishy pres­i­dent of Fin­land. (Madame Pres­i­dent prob­a­bly could have ex­plained it to her For­eign Of­fice; it wasn’t like Sig­nor Ber­lus­coni pinched her.)

But Amer­ica is the Toy­land that mat­ters most, and it’s Mr. Obama’s gov­ern­ment and the Congress that of­fend most. Tril­lions of pa­per dol­lars are fall­ing like snow on the economies of the world, a trade war is threat­ened over car­bon emis­sions, and the only thing scarier than the Trea­sury sec­re­tary’s dither­ing is the rev­e­la­tion of his lat­est scheme to or­ga­nize the econ­omy so it can’t ever be fixed. You can’t blame the rest of the world for com­ing down with the jit­ters and hee­bie-jee­bies.

“As an aghast world watches,” writes Ter­ence Cor­co­ran in the Lon­don Daily Tele­graph, “the cir­cus-like U.S. po­lit­i­cal sys­tem seems to be de­clin­ing into near chaos. Through it all, stock and fi­nan­cial mar­kets are par­a­lyzed. The more the pol­icy regime does, the worse the out­look gets. The multi-ringed spec­ta­cle raises a dis­turb­ing ques­tion in many minds: Is this the end of Amer­ica.”

Well, no, of course not. The rest of the world ac­tu­ally knows that Amer­ica is too big to fail. What would be left?

Will Rogers got it al­most right eight decades ago: “Why pay to go to the cir­cus when you can watch Congress for free?”

But a cir­cus, like Toy­land, is for the chil­dren.

Wes­ley Pru­den is ed­i­tor emer­i­tus of The Times.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.