Friday, December 3, 2004

The sure-to-be-lamented Tom Ridge may be leaving us, but George Bush has already swept in with a bold replacement in Bernard Kerik, whose three months of counterterrorist work in New York City would seem to make him just the sort of war-weathered expert America needs to go head to head with the Islamists. But the Medium Lobster has reservations.

One "presidential adviser" has lauded Kerik's ability to "bring 9/11 symbolism into the Cabinet." Indeed, the Medium Lobster has long maintained that if there's anything this administration needs more of, it's empty symbolism. And while Kerik may have the experience to do the job - having bravely happening to have been New York City's police commissioner on September 11th, 2001 - is he truly qualified to summon the level of telegenic pomp and shallow pretense required to win the war on metaphors?

Instead of hiring someone whose chief qualification is to summon up stirring, patriotic imagery, the Bush administration should directly hire that imagery itself. The Medium Lobster would have suggested the three firefighters who raised the flag at ground zero, eternally bronzed and preserved in place, seeing that the obvious top pick for the job - the smoking remains of the World Trade Center itself - was said to have declined the post. But the Medium Lobster believes that the ground zero rubble is holding out hope for Secretary of Defense. The strategic and tactical brilliance of its tableau would be too potent to resist. But for the time being, party politics have elevated a man unqualified for the difficult burden of posing on a podium as a glorified prop.

The Bush White House is making progress on symbolism in other areas, however. By touting such recent appointments as Alberto Gonzales and Condoleeza Rice while opposing affirmative action and fighting to ban gay marriage rights, the administration has shown its strong dedication to symbolic diversity. In fact, the Medium Lobster understands that the Bush Administration plans to turn Dick Cheney hispanic for his second term in office. There's still plenty of hope for the utter annihilation of substance in the national discourse.
posted by the Medium Lobster at 1:49 PM



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