Fawlty GOP: "Don't mention the war!"
Congress has been debating a non-binding resolution against the President’s proposed troop surge. How did GOP Bush supporters plan to defend the Iraq war? By not talking about it, that’s how.
A recent "Dear Colleague" letter from Republican Reps. John Shadegg and Peter Hoekstra was leaked and appeared on the front page of the Daily Kos. In the letter Shadegg and Hoekstra give their GOP brethren the following advice on how to approach the Congressional debate about the war:
“We are writing to urge you not to debate the Democratic Iraq resolution on their terms, but rather on ours…
…The debate should not be about the surge or its details. This debate should not even be about the Iraq war to date, mistakes that have been made, or whether we can, or cannot, win militarily. If we let Democrats force us into a debate on the surge or the current situation in Iraq, we lose.”
In other words: “Don’t mention the war!” And that led to this, from Kongressional Komedy Klassics Archives (apologies to John Cleese):
(The story so far: Those two wacky pro-war congressmen, John Shadegg and Pete Hoekstra, have really done it this time. John and Pete have issued strict instructions that their GOP colleagues are not to bring up the subject of the war during the debate about the war. But just before the debate is scheduled to begin, Shadegg is conked on the noggin by a huge moose head that he was attempting to hang in the Congressional Rec room. He is rushed to the Capitol infirmary, but his injury has left him a little bit “deranged.” So he escapes from his ward with a big bandage around his head, and makes his way on to the floor of Congress just as Hoekstra’s beginning his big speech on the resolution.)
Hoekstra: Madam Speaker, this is about freedom. This is about—
Shadegg: (hissing loudly) Pete! DON’T MENTION THE WAR!
Hoekstra:(sees Shadegg, horror-struck)
Shadegg: Whatever you do, DON’T MENTION THE WAR!
Speaker: Is that the gentleman from Arizona?
Shadegg: Yes! And I’d like to thank you war, you wall, you all for allowing me this opportunity to speak about the war. NO! Not the war! Who said anything about the war?
Hoekstea: Sit down!
Speaker: You’re out of order!
Shadegg: Of course we’re out of water, we’ve been fighting a useless war in the goddamn desert for three years now, you silly bitch! (hisses to Hoekstra) Don’t mention the war! I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it!
(Hoekstra starts crying.)
Shadegg: What the hell’s the matter with you?
Hoekstra: Will you please stop mentioning the war!
Shadegg: Well you started it!
Hoekstra: No I didn’t!
Shadegg: Yes you did, you voted with me to invade Iraq! (shakes him) Now cheer up! And stop talking about the war! SMILE! Here, look at this, I’m going to do an impression, this is hysterical--(to Pelosi) This always cracks him up—
Hoekstra:(suddenly stops sobbing, rigid with horror, grabs Shadegg) NO! NO! Don’t do the impression!
Shadegg: (breaks free) Shut up! IT’S FUNNY! Who’s this, then—
Hoekstra: NO! Not that one, John! Do Jimmy Cagney, instead!!
Shadegg:(incredulous) Jimmy Cagney?
Hoekstra: Yes, Jimmy Cagney, you know, (does a crap Cagney impression) “You dirty rat…”
Shadegg: THAT’S NOT FUNNY! I’ll do my impression! (runs down in front of the Speaker’s dais, yells to the members of Congress) Right! Who’s this, then?
(Shadegg mimes his impression of Saddam being hanged, tugging at an imaginary rope around his neck, making strangling noises. Then Howard Dean and some men in white coats rush into the chamber and start chasing him around the floor. They finally catch Shadegg and sedate him, carry him out.)
Maliki: (watching the debate on a portable TV in a bombed-out basement in Baghdad, shaking his head sadly) How do they ever expect to win this war?
(Strangely enough, this tested very well with the talk radio conservative focus group.)