A View From The Handbasket

Friday, November 11, 2005
Stop me if you've heard this before
Posted by neros_fiddle at 1:55 PM

The President, joined on stage by an enormous Humvee as a subtle reminder that he is the War President, unveiled his latest variation on Why I Went To War, his ever-evolving performance art piece that's drawn rave reviews from hand-picked audiences around the country. The new parts of today's performance included the "Rewriting History" talking point:

It is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began... more than 100 Democrats in the House and the Senate who had access to the same intelligence voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power.

Long-time followers of WIWTW noted that this section was reminiscent of what fans called the "If I Wasn't The Only One Wrong, I Wasn't Wrong" routine, which was featured in the versions of WIWTW Bush performed at several stops on his 2004 Re-Election Tour. (Others noted that it was totally inaccurate, but they were quickly escorted from the venue by ushers.)

Ironically, though, this new "Rewriting History" piece omitted what was a centerpiece of the late 2002 version of WIWTW, a motif fans call "Last Resort." This constant insistence that voting for the Iraq War Resolution was a necessary bargaining chip to force a peaceful resolution to the Iraq situation would seem to be at odds with the President's present characterization of this vote as one to "support removing Saddam Hussein from power", but fans insist than this apparent discrepancy will be resolved in future performances of WIWTW.

Another interesting new theme was "Watch Your Back, Syria," which promises to take Why I Went To War in exciting new directions in the next several months.

Otherwise, today's presentation of the piece was largely a "Greatest Hits" set that thrilled audiences with old favorites such as "Iraq Is The Central Front Of The War On Terror" (an audacious number that plays with traditional expectations of linear narrative by using the *negative result* of the war as a reason for *starting* it), "A Muslim Empire From Spain To Indonesia," "Determined To Destroy Our Way Of Life," "This Possibly Fake Letter Says The Terrorists Want To Scare Us Into Leaving Iraq," and the crowd-pleaser "Criticizing Me Is The Same As Helping The Terrorists." But for many of those who follow WIWTW, the big surprise was a reprise of "Bashing John Kerry," a theme many assumed had been retired after the mammoth Re-Election Tour.

There were charges that trotting out so much old material was evidence that Bush was worried about his shrinking fan base, but many noted that Why I Went To War continues to draw news coverage week and week out, regardless of the freshness of the material, so the question is largely moot.

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