I hope you were all paying attention last month when the Soviet
coup failed. There were important lessons to be learned there, as we
political pundits like to say, and I'm about to point out two of them.
The first is for anybody who thinks President Bush is a preppie
airhead. I can reveal now that he's not a preppie airhead at all, that
he merely talks like one every now and then to appease his supporters
and make his opponents overconfident.
Take the way he talked about the coup. Phrases like "this
democracy thing" make him sound like a simpleton who's suffering another
attack of the dread intermittent juvenilingua, but there's usually
method in his semi-coherence. A perfect example was his reference to
the conspirators. Nearly everybody else called them old-guard,
right-wing, reactionary, militaristic hardliners who have contempt for
the constitution and a vested interest in the Cold War. Our President
called them "the coup people."
A highly placed inside source revealed he knew even as he spoke
that they were all those other things. Barbara says she told him so
So if he knew that, why did he call them "the coup people"?
It gets complicated here, so follow closely.
I don't want to scare anybody, but the Soviet conspirators are
notrepeat, notthe only old-guard, right-wing, reactionary,
militaristic hardliners who have contempt for constitutions and a vested
interest in the Cold War. In this country, such people are called
Republicans. They control a whole lot of the nation's wealth; hence they
are the President's best friends and he appoints them to cabinet
positions, and their lawyers to Supreme Court vacancies.
So he can't very well say that their counterparts in the USSR are
the bad guys in the coup, now can he? Yet his position requires that he
talk in public about the conspirators, so he comes up with the
brilliantly non-judgmental "coup people."
Democrats hear that and smirk and say witty things like "Well, what
do you expect when he's on vacation away from his speech writers?" Then
he sends them another veto they can't override. So the first lesson is
this: when the President sounds dumbest, he's making the most points
with his supporters.
The second lesson concerns the crap detecting that went on at the
press conference called by the old-guard, right-wing, reactionary,
militaristic hardliners who have contempt for the constitution and a
vested interest in the Cold War. The ones in Russia, I mean. I told
you this is complicated.
They announced that they were taking over because poor Mikhail
Gorbachev was ill, having worked too hard perestroiking and glasnosting
about the countryside, and they hoped he'd soon be rested up and back in
They said it with owl eyes and straight faces. Not a hint of
irony, not a wink or elbow nudge to suggest they knew they were applying
The Truth, Mainly
And that's when somebody's crap detector went off. Someone in the
crowd of reporters snickered. Then another and another. The
conspirators looked as snicker-stricken as a fifth grade teacher who's
just lost control of the class because he's told them the earth is flat
and babies come from storks and the trickle-down theory works to benefit
those being trickled on.
The conspirators must have known at that awful moment that the coup
would fail, that something monstrous had happened to the Soviet press.
What it was, our far-flung sources report, was the public
activation of the nation's collective crap detector. And that's almost
always bad news for anybody in power, whether by coup or by free
Naturally, the Bush Administration is trying to keep that
development under its hat. White House consensus is that public crap
detection is a good thing abroad, but it should be limited to those
countries whose governments we oppose; America's domestic crap detectors
have been inoperable ever since they blew a fuse during the second week
of the first Reagan Administration, and we've been getting along just
fine without them, haven't we?
So the second lesson is that Democrats need to get their crap
detectors fixed before the '92 election. They might want to give them a
trial run this week when the administration will try again to explain,
owl-eyed and straight-faced, why it's so pleased that the ABA refused to
give its "well qualified" rating to the Supreme Court nominee the
President calls the "best qualified" candidate in the whole country. Or
they can test them the next time George Bush, graduate of Phillips
Academy ($174 million endowment) and Yale ($2.57 billion endowment),
explains why money isn't very important in education.
Democrats might consider offering their Presidential nomination to
Boris Yeltsin if they can't get their own crap detectors fixed. His
seems to work pretty well and he's got a good record against old-guard
Satterfield is a college professor and writes as a means of discovery.