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Kidd Millennium Cartoon & Comment: Road to Baghdad

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Road to Baghdad
By Ron Callari

With the recent passing of Bob Hope, fond memories of the "road" flicks that made Hope and Bing Crosby household names are apt to seep back into our collective nostalgic psyches. From 1940 to 1962, this raucous comedy team was stereotypically cast as lovable rogues, only one misstep away from their next visit to the hoosegow.

But sadly, with Bob & Bing having permanently taken to the high road, one might ask if there is any one left on terra firma to fill their void?

Well maybe not in the field of moving pictures.but in the political arena, a current dynamic duo has surfaced. Full of vim and vinegar and enough watered-down adlibs to choke an Iraqi camel, the comedic stylings of Bush & Blair.are the new Bad Boys in charge of international affairs and that occasional ersatz war.

As to who gets top billing, like Abbot and Costello's classic routine, it's hard to say, "who's on first"? Both men play well in the States, but Blair is losing ground and his Nielson ratings on the British Isles. On the flip side, if Tony qualified for a US Green Card, he might give Bush a run for his money at the next election. His Q-factor is slightly higher as evidenced by his wowing them on both sides of the aisle during his recent address to Congress. Bush ascertaining the merits of their combined chemistry would be foolish to break up the A-team however. A wise move for Dubya might be to bump Cheney out of the VP slot in favor of T-Blair.

But does the Yank and the Brit have the staying power to steal the show? Already their entertainment value of justifying the Iraqi war with ill-begotten material is suspect. Fabricated prewar intelligence pertaining to Iraq's purchase of African uranium may play well in Peoria, but will it sustain the attention of the international markets?

When hecklers queried Bush about the veracity of his 16-word State of the Union monologue, his evasive response of taking the responsibility for ".putting our troops into action" was not exactly his best punch line. Maybe it was too close to the Henny Youngman line: "Take my (troops). please!" Somewhat lacking from one who calls himself a Compassionate Conservative.

The failure to find weapons of mass destruction has taken the air out of the Bush & Blair act. If Variety was to pen a review, one could imagine critics waxing poetic on how B&B misled their audiences into the heated frenzy of war. Their sketch comedy involving the alleged WMDs doesn't contain enough punch to sell to the large venues. Its humor is lost on a growing number of people who see them as manipulators of the truth.

As it becomes evident that many of the crucial one-liners delivered by Mr. Blair - and regurgitated by his straight man Dubya - were unsubstantiated - and worst than that - not very funny - Bush & Blair's Road to Baghdad stand-up act might become their first and last starring vehicle.

If George Bush and Tony Blair had been caught telling these jokes in a Comedy Club they most likely would have been booed off the stage. Had they been speaking in a courtroom, they would have been charged with perjury. As it stands in the court of public opinion and a world easily manipulated by spin, the best we can do is label them prevaricators extraordinaire.

Perhaps instead of a Hope and Crosby Road picture, Bush & Blair are on the precipice of a fast approaching descent similar to Thelma & Louise' fatal car ride. Headed toward a highway cliff of no return, maybe these two transatlantic mates need to hold on tight and kiss their masses goodbye.


Ron Callari is a freelance journalist and editorial cartoonist who resides in Jersey City, New Jersey. He and co-creator Jack Pittman produce kidd millennium cartoons weekly.

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