A few days ago, a friend sent me this photo of the inauguration. It’s a high-resolution panoramic shot, so you can zoom in or out, move up, down, left or right, and focus in on whatever or whomever you like. I like to the shot of Clarence Thomas a few rows behind President Obama. What’s he doing on this momentous occasion? Sleeping. There’s a man with a sense of history, meaning, and the weight of a moment. To the left of Thomas is Antonin Scalia, as fat as schmaltz and looking for all the world like a Borgia plotting to be Pope. Way in the back, several rows behind Thomas and Scalia? There’s a guy in a brown hood. My friend says it’s Darth Sidious, but I think it’s Obi-Wan Kenobi. That’s because I’m an optimist, and he’s a pessimist. Or he has better eyesight.
Pan left, however, and you come to George W. Bush sitting next to a wheelchair-bound Dick Cheney. (Nice hat, Dick, but I’m not buying that story that you’re in a chair because you hurt your back moving stuff. Come on. We’re supposed to believe that you, Dicky Ticker, tried to lift a box? Nonsense! What happened is that as soon as your eight Faustian years were up, the Robot Devil from Futurama came to reclaim his artificial heart and return your dark and crispy own.) But back to George. What is that look on his face?
He wants his cheesy puffs! He has finally begun listening to what Obama has to say, and it isn’t nice. It isn’t flattering. It’s awful, it’s honest, it’s direct and yet polite, and there isn’t a thing he can do about it. He came out in the cold for this? Maybe he really is leaving office with a 22% approval rating. How could that be? He respected the Office of the President of the United States. He wouldn’t let anyone in the Oval Office unless they were wearing a suit and tie. He had standards. Damned if he wants to sit in that well-upholstered front row seat anymore.