In the final fatal moments of his lethal Presidency, claiming he was acting to preserve his place in history as well as his legacy as a Compassionate Conservative, Bush-Wah pardoned a rough and ready gang of what his livid critics characterized as “some of the worst evildoers who ever existed in life as well as literature, on the planet, or on the page”– 1,549 past, present, and future villains in all, recipients of executive clemency.
Among the beneficiaries of GWB’s last-minute legalistic largesse, to say nothing of his reanimating the dead and revitalizing the (sometimes) barely living, were Lizzie Borden, Adolf Hitler, Dr. No, Josef Stalin, Goldfinger, Adolf Eichmann, “Papa Doc” Duvalier, Atilla the Hun, Sherman Adams AND his Vicuna Coat, Raskolnikov, Mussolini, Shylock, the Unabomber, Iago, Lavrentiy P. Beria, Margaret Thatcher, Leopold and Loeb, Falstaff, Cruella De Ville, the Iceman, Carlos the Jackal, Tony Blair, Al Capone, Lyndon Johnson, Jack the Ripper, Norman Bates, and yes, even Saddam Hussein and The Joker. But never Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, or anyone else who really deserves to be pardoned like most of those currently imprisoned for crimes they did not commit, you can bank on that.
And yet, revealing a surprising depth and breadth of insight long obscured by his image as a generic booze-coke-and-pretzel-loving-upside-down-children’s-book-reading-911 plot-machinations-country-hijacking-good-ole-boy, GWB’s solid, sophisticated deconstructive Shakespearean analysis of heroes and villains is worthy of a Lifetime Chair in Criminal Psychology at Harvard, let alone the last gasps of the Ultimate Lamer, er, Lame Duck:
“While a Hero represents ‘the perfect man,’ I don’t know any, except maybe my brothers and my father. Sure, Shylock’s an outsider not only because he’s actually Jewish and the rest of the town’s Christian, but also because he has a different value system. Like me, in Washington, only in reverse. Shylock makes it clear he enjoys his role as an outsider when he tells Bassanio. ‘I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you and so following; but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you’ (I.3.33-35). In Shakespeare’s play, Shylock’s both victim and villain. Like, he’s a decider and a people person, like me. See, he gets betrayed by his only daughter when she elopes with a Christian and loots his house of all the gold and jewels. Although he’s angry about the loss of his prize material possessions, he’s devastated when he learns his daughter also sold a memento which was very important to him, you know, a sentimental thing. This shows Shylock’s definitely not just motivated merely by financial gain. Let’s face it, he could have been an ordinary Texas oilman, who ran a baseball team, and somehow, through an accident of fate, or family connections, or the right folks pulling the strings of the election machines, became President instead.”
However, Bush 43’s misplaced generosity with this deluded avalanche of pardons, exceeding even Bill Clinton’s megalomaniacal excesses, seems to have spurred a seriously contentious fissure in his own family, with his wife Laura tearfully calling a global press-conference at 3 AM on the eve of the Inauguration. “My fellow Americans, and our overseas friends, I’m here to tell you I’m creeped out,” she admits. “I know my George has a big heart. I know he secretly roots for the bad guys, I mean, underdogs. But the notion of all those freed miscreants roaming the defenseless streets of our afflicted nation, well, I swear I’ll never sleep again, so help me, Lord. And I don’t know how my dear sweet husband, who had his own two darling daughters to protect until they managed a flimsy pretext to escape his clutches, I mean, leave home, could ever do that to Obama’s little girls, exposing those adorable darlings to all that potential danger of a pent-up Norman Bates suddenly let loose. As for me, I’m afraid to take a shower ever again. Oh, George!”
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