Bill Murchison
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This week, the Walt Disney Company releases its $325 million spectacular, "Oz the Great and Powerful" -- a "prequel," as these things are called, to You Know What. We learn (one supposes) exactly how a Kansas carnival balloonist became the Wizard.

We'll have to pay in order to divine the secret, but a certain intuition grows and spreads, namely that the Wiz, after the example of pitchmen in all times and places, became what he became by talking. About his own wonderfulness.

Does he put you in mind of anyone who appears on television a lot these days, jetting all over the country at taxpayer expense, delivering speeches, holding press conferences, making bold pronouncements as to actions he requires and outcomes he expects?

The Wizard of Washington, prior to unleashing his anti-sequester campaign, might have benefited from a sneak preview of the Disney saga. Or, for that matter, a special viewing of the 1939 MGM classic, wherein Frank Morgan's fast talking balloonist discovers, shall we say, his human limitations.

The Wizard of Washington got his bluff called by the Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives. It was way past time.

The White House carnival likely has a ways to go, but, perchance, despite having to backtrack on his forecasts of catastrophe should the sequester actually go through, the Wizard learned something useful, namely, that twisting facts and making nonsensical claims doesn't always carry the day. If a comparable insight dawns soon on the media, not to mention the voters, we'll be getting somewhere.

The Washington Wizard's modus operandi, for as long as the general population has known him, has been to make bold, decisive statements about 1) his vision and 2) his opponents. We always find, taking in one of his speeches, that his vision is inspired and transformational, whereas his opponents are just basically not plugged in. They don't know what they're talking about. All they want is to protect -- as it was given out during the anti-sequester campaign -- oilmen and owners of corporate jets.

That the idea of a sequester that had originated in the White House, and not with his misguided opponents, was an admission that had to be pried, like a dead molar, from the mouths of the Wizard and his surrogates. Not that there was much to the admission when it came: The thing couldn't be helped, you see. The other side wasn't reasonable in its approach to spending cuts.

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Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
 
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