Karl Rove and his Pinocchio Americano

“There was once a piece of wood”… plain, cheap pine.

Many of us may not have read Collodi’s classic of children’s literature, but there’s a very good chance most of us have at least seen the 1940 Disney movie classic. And some of us will even admit that as children we could tell there was an educational message, a moral tale of choice between right and wrong, in those adventures of Pinocchio.

From the initial carving of that piece of pine by carpenter Mastro Ciliegia, to Geppetto’s adoption and conversion to a marionette… and later to a “real boy,” Pinocchio had to prove himself worthy of becoming a real boy. And after many predicaments, he did.

“There was once another piece of wood”… noble oak, no less.

A finish carpenter is this time the finder of this top grade piece of wood… somewhere in Texas ; not from a native madrone, but from a transplanted New England oak tree. It was at that moment of discovery that this master carpenter, Karl Rove, envisioned how he could carve the perfect political specimen from this hardwood; a man exuding those very rare qualities for a politician: simplicity, charm and a total disdain for anything that could be mistaken for intellectual curiosity. Here was a man that stood commonest among the common, charisma personified… a piece of wood very adaptable to carving, ready to be painted in conservative colors and attached a few strings.

Four elections later have more than proven Rove’s political-carpentry skills… to the younger Bush, to a field of Republican congressional candidates, and to a Republican PR-dirty tricks machine. But, did Bush, his American Pinocchio, prove worthy of this political mentorship? Much like that marionette brought to life in Tuscany , Bush has engaged in countless adventures and peripeteia, many remaining unresolved.

Bush has relived for us the adventures of Collodi’s brainchild. We have seen his nose grow, and grow… and grow some more; no doubt from the relentless spewing of uninterrupted lies- on Iraq, Saddam, WMD and the social/economic/environmental pillaging that his administration has been engaged in.

We have also seen his ears grow, and grow… and grow some more, becoming to our national embarrassment the world’s foremost donkey, braying in stupid arrogance; and bringing added wood to a foreign policy fire that needs some damping… not stoking.

Many Americans feel that a morality play is now being written at the White House; although some would prefer to call it an amorality play… all acted from a puppetry stage… all under the marquee of “Karl Rove and his Pinocchio Americano.” The cast of characters is all there, from “ Stromboli ” Cheney, to the “Assassins” neocons, to the White House’s BS-er in residence, “Lampwick” McClellan.

Politician or not, a man is always measured by the readings in two critical gauges: one showing a forgiveness (vindictiveness) scale; the other, a loyalty (disloyalty) scale. You can do well in one and poorly on the other, and might still get by. But not fail both!

Past deeds and recent behavior have always shown Bush as deceptively vengeful (one still remembers his treatment of the Dixie Chicks)… so adding disloyalty to his résumé, by dumping Rove, is not in the cards for Bush, or it will turn out to be his doomsday.

However, this Pinocchio Americano, unlike the Tuscan marionette, does not have a Jiminy Cricket at his side, a conscience to advise him. Rove has been his carver, adoptive father and conscience- Mastro, Geppetto and Jiminy all in one. Without Rove by his side, Bush is all but done… nothing but a piece of hardwood waiting to be exiled to a mantelpiece at the Crawford ranch.

We can rest assured that without proof-certain of punishable criminality, Rove will continue walking the halls of the White House; if necessary in a less visible, but just as influential, way.

Meantime, all of us living this nightmare of Bush’s presidency still hope to wake up in the middle of the night… so that we may look out the window “and wish upon a star.”