Is it just me, or is the Bush Brother's Family Feud starting to resemble a professional wrestling match? Nowhere but in the infamous "squared circle" could a battle be so delightfully tawdry, so ratings-driven, and well, so scripted. ABOUT THE AUTHOR, CAROL SCHIFFLER:
I am referring, of course, to Bush vs. Bush, the featured match in Florida Slam 2001. The title at stake, if you can believe this, is the United States Environmental Champion, and the winner will be determined by digging holes, or by preventing the other guy from digging holes depending on how you look at it.
In the far corner, wearing the black and gold and hailing from Crawford, Texas - please welcome the Toxic Texan! The notorious Double T, Double U is accompanied to the ring by Sweet Christine "E.P.A." Whitman, Gorgeous Gale "James-Watt-in-Drag" Norton, and his manager, Dick "The Puppet-Master" Cheney. To claim victory, the Texan must first run the gauntlet of "wacko environmentalists" (please read: the entire state of Florida), and sink his Big Drill of Doom into the Gulf of Mexico.
In the other corner, wearing banana-colored tights, and hailing from Tallahassee, Florida (at least when it is convenient), please welcome "Big Bubba Bush"! Big Bubba is accompanied to the ring, for reasons that elude us at the moment, by Katherine "The Ballot Box Babe" Harris. (Could there be a vote involved here, folks? We can only speculate, but Ms. Harris appears to be concealing a large, square object under her smartly-tailored suit jacket, and if we can get a close-up, it looks like there just might be a hanging chad stuck in her mascara.) To win, Big Bubba must run the gauntlet of bureaucratic red tape (please read: environmental regulations), and sink his Big Drill of Doom into the Florida Aquifer.
Now what is at stake here? If the Toxic Texan is victorious, Florida's winter visitors may be using WD40 instead of tanning oil as they loll about on beaches that are within spitting distance of the nearest drilling platform. 'Gator-wrasslin' may give way to grappling with greased loons. And the Florida lottery will feature a special contest during hurricane season for those who would like to place a bet on whether all those environmentally-friendly drilling rigs and gas pipelines can withstand a Category 5 storm churning up the Gulf of Mexico.
Of course the Texan claims it is all for the good of the country. Yesiree. By spending the next twenty years sucking up those energy supplies like Uncle Earl with a twelve-pack of Schlitz at the company picnic, the country will walk away with a full sixteen weeks of natural gas. It doesn't get any better than that. And all that is standing in his way is Big Bubba and those anal-retentive Floridians who keep whining about the tourist industry. Sure he told the Orlando Sentinel that, "We won't explore in Florida or California," but that was before he realized there was an energy crisis. Damn the campaign staff! If someone had just mentioned California a little bit sooner... That blasted Whitman woman never tells our boy anything.
Now what happens if Big Bubba wins? If Big Bubba is successful, his older brother will have to pack up his pipelines, Dick Cheney, and his all his close personal friends, and they will have to go somewhere really cold to dig their holes. There are no pink flamingos or drinks with tiny umbrellas in the Alaskan wilderness. There are no swaying palm trees and bikini-clad babes on the shores of Lake Michigan. And while Dubya's buddies are wiping snot-cicles off the ends of their noses, Bubba's boys will be digging their holes beneath a flawless tropical sky.
What is at stake here? The fate of the Florida Aquifer, Florida's premier provider of potable water. Junior seems to feel that the best way to deal with water shortages in Florida without - and here's the important thing - spending money that he needs in order to give tax cuts to rich white guys (sound familiar?), is to pump untreated ground runoff into the Aquifer. Junior likes to refer to this liquid, raw sewage as "rainwater", which indeed it is, until it hits the ground where it mingles with other naturally occurring substances such as cattle feces and the polluted waters of Lake Okeechobee. These are the same verbal gymnastics that allow the good governor to refer to his water management policy as "innovative", while the majority of Floridians prefer adjectives more along the lines of "risky" and "stupid".
The only obstacle that Big Bubba faces at the moment is that unspeakably vile Whitman woman who still suffers from the delusion that her agency is supposed to uphold the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. "Waive it!" demands Junior Bush. "My plan only sounds like a bad idea to those backwards yokels I govern. Everything will be fine, and if it isn't, well the
poor bastards will be spending so much time in the bathroom that they won't be able to lobby their legislators."
But the truly sad thing is, no matter whose holes prevail, what we will find out in the locker room after the much-touted Bush vs. Bush title match, is that these good ol' boys were never at odds in the first place. They will be shaking hands and heading out to Hooters while the ecosystem shatters.
Because when the first drill bit plunges into the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, Bush the Younger will be reaping the political benefits of appearing to be an environmental activist. No one will blame him for losing a policy war with the President of the United States. Perhaps he will even shed a politically-correct public tear. Can we not picture him standing on a Pensacola beach, shading his eyes and staring across the sparkling Gulf waters as Chevron fires up its engines? Is that ocean spray on the governor's lineless brow - or wait! - could it be that he is weeping? What a guy!
And when the first drill bit plunges into the heart of the Florida Aquifer, Bush the Elder will speak of privately opposing such a risky proposition, but the final decision was, after all, not his to make. He is required by law to leave those matters to his experts in the Environmental Protection Agency. And Sweet Christine Whitman, who may finally be getting a clue about her real role in this administration, will be trotted out, publicly flogged, and then - well, hell! - the beer's still cold and the barbecue is hot. Let's rack up that greased loon and see how it tastes with hot sauce!
Even better, if the public sees through all this and throws both of these Yahoo Burgermeisters out on their asses in the next election cycle, they can leave, pockets lined with corporate kickbacks, knowing that they have just stuck their liberal, green replacements with an irreparable environmental mess.
And the infamous Bush brothers will ride off into the sunset, having captured the title they were vying for in the first place. You see, it was the tag team championship they were after all along.
Read Carol's Postcard from the Post-Coup World