Why Go Anywhere Else to Be Cheated?

“As far as history goes and all of these quotes about people trying to guess what the history of the Bush administration is going to be, you know, I take great comfort in knowing that they don’t know what they are talking about, because history takes a long time for us to reach.”— George W. Bush, Fox News Sunday, Feb 10, 2008

I was kicking around in the city the other day hoping to jaw with my old friend Pete Bingo. Pete bills himself the “world’s greatest salesman/tour guide/ private eye,” and no doubt is. In fact, I’ll wager Pete Bingo is the world’s one and only  salesman/tour guide/private eye. Anyway, the two of us go back a long way, but rarely agree on anything.

I’d just scoured the results of a new survey published by George Mason University’s History News Network. One hundred and nine historians were queried about GW’s presidency. I looked forward to how Pete, an ardent and undying Bush supporter, would respond to the results. He promised to meet me at 9:30, but as per normal, was 40 minutes late.

When he finally arrived it took Pete 20 minutes to wade through, shake hands with and attempt to sell a briefcase full of worthless crap to potential “victims” before ascending the corner barstool with his name embossed on it. “They call me Fanny,” Pete told me for the ten thousandth time, “because I’m always behind. But as you know, my services are well worth waiting for. Barkeep, make it a double and keep ’em comin’. My dear friend here is more than good for them.”

I grimaced, but nodded, wasting no time going for my pound of flesh. “You’re a history buff, Pete. Take a look at this. One hundred and seven out of 109 professional historians rate Dubya’s presidency an abject failure!””Who cares? I don’t care. Do you care? Have you noticed? Nobody cares nowadays.””Sixty one percent of them say he’s the worst president of all time.””Everybody’s gotta be somethin’.””We’re talking about the guy you called the workingman’s friend, who you voted for twice, the guy who claims to be ‘The Decider’—you know, the leader of the so-called Free World.””Like I always say, he who hesitates is lost.””Pete, what the hell kind of idiotic response is that? We’re talking about the future of humanity here.””You and me, both.””Alright then, I’ll read you one historian’s survey response: ‘No individual president can compare to the second Bush,’ he says. ‘Glib, contemptuous, ignorant, incurious, a dupe of anyone who humors his deluded belief in his heroic self, he has bankrupted the country with his disastrous war and his tax breaks for the rich, trampled on the Bill of Rights, appointed foxes in every hen house, compounded the terrorist threat, turned a blind eye to torture and corruption and a looming ecological disaster, and squandered the rest of the world’s goodwill. In short, no other president’s faults have had so deleterious an effect on not only the country but the world at large.’ And, I might add—he’s a world class liar. So how do you respond to that?””Well, he may not tell the truth, but he does twist the facts.”

Pete was beginning to annoy me. “What’s with you? Are you so disassociated from reality you can’t see what’s stands plainly before you?””What’s with me? Well, I’ll tell ya, son. Someday they’re gonna write a book about me. Picture this—2,700 pages long. Four feet high. But no covers. Ya wanna know why? Cuz I got nothin’ ta hide. I say it all on the ass-end of my business cards. GTM—Get the Money!”

With that I slapped down a pair of 20-spots and made for the door. I could hear Pete’s foghorn voice, even over the dive din. He’d already cornered a new victim.”Why go elsewhere to be cheated?” Pete asked him. “See me first!”P. Joseph Potocki 

Sonoma County Library