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Humor That's Out of Line

It's time to go after Gary Trudeau, author/cartoonist of Doonsebury fame for foolishly going over the line in the department of trashing presidents.

As you know, Canadian Trudeau has had a fine old time with U.S. presidents and vice presidents. Dan Quayle was represented as a feather. Lightweight. Get it? But this Sunday, I think he went way out of bounds on George W. Bush.

In the set-up panels, Bush is being told by an aide that all of the president's proposals — tax cuts, regulatory oversight on corporations, drilling ANWR ... all of it — has been validated by the war on terror and the attacks of Sept. 11th.

You could say that leadership requires doing things that seem right. Events often prove a leader correct. But Trudeau has Bush thanking the evildoers. It's a laugh line with a sickening message lurking beneath: that Bush needed 4,000 deaths to justify his tax cut, drilling in ANWR and his entire approach to government.

First of all, that's not true. Bush had a perfectly good list of reasons for every one of those proposals even before there was a war on terror. Secondly ... it seems like one of those overtly political muggings would have been done in such a way as to have meant something. This one has the additional benefit of covering for the real mistake — the real terror faux pas, which was President Clinton's unwillingness to go after Usama bin Laden.

It was President Clinton's aide, on this very program, who said it took 4,000 American deaths to constitute the political will to do something about bin Laden, and that Bush had those deaths, while Clinton didn't.

Look … it wasn't Bush who sat around since '93 watching bin Laden blow up Americans without doing a whole lot about it. It wasn't Bush who hauled the USS Cole home on a barge because it couldn't float with bin Laden's hole in its side. It wasn't Bush who ignored the carnage at two American embassies in Africa caused by bin Laden.

So in Trudeau's world, Bush gets hammered for what he did do: a tax cut. Clinton gets a pass for what he didn't do: kill bin Laden.

I've laughed at a million Doonesburys, and I've laughed when he's skewered the guys I liked, and when he's bashed the guys that I don't. But, it is beyond the pale to suggest that this president or any other would be happy — thankful even — for 4,000 American deaths because he wants a tax cut or an oil well in Alaska. I think it shows that Trudeau is way, way out of touch with America.

That's My Word.

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