December 16th, 2008

On This Matter Of Bush And Shoes

by Philip Baruth

Sometimes life comes pre-blogged. Something happens that is already, in and of itself, snark-enhanced. And in those cases, VDB is more or less at a loss, because the Great Scorekeeper seems to have anticipated us, and to presume to add even one additional punchline would be to seem somehow ungrateful. Still, readers will make demands.


Dear VDB,

No flying shoe commentary yet? I’d pay good money to see a flurry of airborne Sorels should Still President Bush show up in Vermont. Maybe that’s why he’s stayed away.


Honestly, other than watching the eighteen or nineteen times at this point, and calling friends and relatives and random strangers in distant states to laugh over it with them, we hadn’t thought about the incident too much. But it’s eerily reminiscent, once you do get to thinking about it, of Bush Senior’s victory lap in Panama, circa 1992.

The idea was to stir up memories of the 1989 invasion, to beam home pictures of a cheering Panamanian crowd, and so put the kibosh on the upstart Bill Clinton. But instead, shots were fired in or at the crowd of some 15,000, and tear gas was fired in response. Bush the Elder and Barbara were forced to flee to the motorcade, dabbing their eyes, surrounded by SS agents packing some extremely large semi-automatic weapons.

In both cases, Bushes found themselves the victims of their own myths, their own self-love. The New World Order turned out not to be so very new, or so very orderly.

But the best thing about the shoe-throwing video in VDB’s opinion? Take a look at Al-Maliki. This guy’s got balls made of spent uranium. Never moves a muscle during the trajectory of the first size 10. And during the second, he does so only to goal-tend for the American President, who is crouched behind his bullet-proof podium.


Two possibilities here.

One, that Nouri Al-Maliki understands the throwing of shoes. Been there, been beaned by that. Not worth flinching. The problem with this theory, though, is that Al-Maliki also lives in a neighborhood where people frequently throw bombs, bombs of all sorts, some disguised as everyday articles, like dogs and cell-phones and shoes. And the anxiety level has to be sky-high with the President actually standing in the room.

So the complete and utter cool begins to look just a tad unlikely.

Which leads us to our second possibility, and here we verge on the openly conspiratorial: maybe, just maybe, the guy had an inkling that someone might be tasting some shoe-leather at this particular presser.

Let’s remember that Nouri’s had more than his share of overbearing phone calls from the Oval Office over the past several years, and would no doubt like to offer his own goodbye kiss.

Either way, time to get out of Dodge.