Monday November 19, 2012

Alden Graves

Isn’t it enough that we are apparently living in a world that asks us to take Ben Affleck seriously? Isn’t that enough to ask of any civilized people?

I guess not.

David Petraeus has resigned as head of the CIA because of an extramarital affair. The abrupt revelation reflects badly on the reputation and high moral standards of an organization that has probably promoted, initiated, participated in, or covered up more dirty dealings than anything ever born out of Edgar Allen Poe’s dark and twisted imagination.

The rationale seems to be that extramarital dalliances lead to a vulnerability for blackmail and Petraeus is privy to an awful lot of sensitive information.

Of course, the argument sort of loses steam when you consider the fact that the wronged wife knows all about her husband’s cheatin’ ways. What is a potential blackmailer going to do, threaten to reiterate facts that everyone already knows in a louder voice?

Maybe there’s some other super-secret sensitive stuff involved that they can’t tell us about because it would jeopardize the country’s security. I saw that once in a movie with Michael Caine.

Deputy Director Michael Morrell is going to head up the agency temporarily. Mr. Morrell was in charge of keeping George W. Bush informed following the September 11 attacks, so he certainly has had some experience in dealing with difficult odds.

It isn’t known at this time whether Mr. Petraeus and his wife will attempt a reconciliation or if the general will accede to more in-depth probing for a second volume of his biography. It can be assumed, however, that if he returns home, there will be moments when he longs for the relative peace and quiet of Afghanistan.

The rest of us can take a deep breath and, while we are letting it out, murmur quietly, "Doesn’t it ever end?"

You’ll be startled to know that Barack Obama’s re-election, like everything else since the Lusitania, was the president’s fault. That is the conclusion of the somewhat diminished political guru, Karl Rove, often credited with being George Bush’s brain due to a troubling lack of evidence that one existed anywhere else. Mr. Rove, who has strutted around like a plumed egret since his anointment as the keeper of the Republican flame, more closely resembled a turkey a few days before Thanksgiving as results began to accrue on election night.

Jon Stewart, on "The Daily Show," somberly noted that someday he will die and someday the millions of people watching his program will also die, but the clip of Rove’s stammering meltdown on Fox News after Ohio’s loss "will live forever."

Alas, Obama’s re-election signals the end of America as Ann Coulter knows it. Fresh off her incisive characterization of the president as a "retard," Coulter was lamenting that she just can’t go on anymore. The prospect of writing another loony, invective-filled book has somehow lost its sparkle. Even West Palm Beach looks shabby as Mr. Obama’s populist (that awful word!) shadow insidiously spreads over the green acres of the ridiculously rich. Ms. Coulter would dress entirely in black from now on, but people constantly mistook her for a blond Morticia Addams when she did it after Obamacare passed.

Bill O’Reilly blamed the GOP debacle on people who want "stuff" today. Like food for their kids. That’s an opinion shared by a lot of folks collecting veteran’s benefits and Social Security benefits and Medicare benefits who cast their votes for the Romney/Ryan ticket. Their faith that the austerity twins would never take aim at them was as touching in its naivety as their notion that those checks that they gleefully cash and socialism are two entirely different things.

Assumedly, Mr. O’Reilly practices what he peddles and has managed to avoid accumulating extraneous stuff in his waterfront mansion in the Hamptons, where he had the gall to tell Morley Safer that he lives a "middle-class" life.

And then there’s the undisputed Emmett Kelly of this three-ring circus. Donald Trump was so infuriated by Obama’s re-election that he urged people to march on Washington in protest. So, if you can find someone to watch the kids and get a couple of days off from work -- assuming you can afford it - and maybe carpool with similarly outraged citizens to save money on gas, then, by all means, head on down to D.C. and lend your voice in the noble cause of preserving the endangered lifestyles of crude, obnoxious multi-millionaires.

In fairness though, it can’t be easy for such enthusiastic, highly compensated spokespeople to be rendered more or less irrelevant in one brief day.

Alden Graves is a reviewer and columnist for the Banner.