09/15/2006 07:27 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Bush and Benedict -- Bozo Brothers?

I made the mistake of catching a bit of a Bush press conference today - always cause for a bout of existential nausea and that choking feeling, that someone is messing with reality, and apparently getting away with it.

In Malcolm Gladwell's book, Blink, isn't there an account of a guy who has devised a system so that he can always spot the cues when someone's lying? Can't we get him a training session with the White House press corps, so that they'll have the wherewithal to follow up every Bush response to a question by bellowing, as one, what Bill Maher said years ago: that Bush is a "lying sack of shit."

Excusez moi mon venom; but for me the phrase kind of gets to the point.

Or forget the press corps: how about the Democratic Party pointing out, over and over, that America deserves a leader in these bad days who has the brains and guts to keep the country safe without resorting to torture, without subverting the constitution, without destroying the good name of America. In other words a genuine leader, not a bullying mendacious bozo. A leader for the whole country, not a con man who bets that the way to power is to smash America into pieces and make do with the support of the largest chunk. (A policy, I read somewhere, that was a bright notion of Pat Buchanan's too, way back in the Nixon White House...)

And speaking of bozos: today Pope Benedict, that former doctrinal hatchet man of John Paul II, seemed awful shocked--shocked!--that Muslims would take such umbrage at the major religious leader of Christianity quoting these words of a Byzantine emperor:

"Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

Benedict made no mention of the Crusades (oh, them?) in his little disquisition on religious violence. Nor of the blood and havoc dreams of American fundamentalist End Timers (that loyal big chunk of smashed-up America).

I confess I am not a religious person myself. I tend more to Martin Amis's opinion: "Today, in the West, there are no good excuses for religious belief - unless we think that ignorance, reaction and sentimentality are good excuses."

But when you consider a previous Pope like, say, John XXIII, who strove heroically to bridge faiths and build compassions, and you see an authoritarian spiritual dwarf like Benedict (sorry, that venom again)... well, it's springtime for bozos these days, isn't it?