There is a scene early on in the movie Patton, where the feisty general watches the forces under his command do battle with those led by the legendary German Panzer leader, Erwin Rommel. To prepare for this particular skirmish, “Old Blood and Guts” studied the writings of his adversary, prompting the memorable line uttered in a gravely voice by actor George C. Scott: “Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!”
Later, the general found out that Rommel himself had not actually been present for the confrontation, but he is comforted by an aid: “If you defeat Rommel’s plan, then you defeat Rommel.”
It is a fascinating thing when an adversary ironically uses a methodology that was previously owned by an opponent – especially when he does so with surprising effectiveness. When a football team known for its excellent running game throws the bomb on the first play from scrimmage, when a home run hitter bunts, and when a political adversary takes a page from the book of the other guy, well – you gotta love it.
Under any credible definition of the phrase “dazed and confused” there now appears the look on Nancy Pelosi’s face. Yes, that one. That, “we are the good guys, why are people giving us a hard time, they must be Nazis, or just nuts” look. Surely you’ve seen it. I have had a persistent “where-have-I-seen-that-look-before?” feeling when seeing the speaker’s visage on the screen, but it took me a while to make the connection.
The date is December 21, 1989 – the place Bucharest, Romania. Nicolae Ceausescu, the man who had ruled his country with an iron first for a couple of decades, was on his balcony trying to address an increasingly unruly crowd. It was a moment of truth for the dictator. The look on his face – one of complete incomprehension – was one of the Kodak moments capturing the scene at the end of the Cold War.
That look might be described by my grandkids as: “clueless.” Others might simply say that it is a facial expression that begs the question, “what the?” But it is a look that is botoxed in place for Ms. Pelosi. And that same expression has recently been found on the faces of many members of the House and Senate as they have gone home to meet with constituents.
Sadly, the time has come in America where recess is no longer any fun.