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David Paulsen Headshot

All a Dream -- Like Dallas

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Back in the 1980's, when John McCain was embroiled in the Keating Five scandal that cost Americans a hundred or so billion dollars and a pack of Savings and Loans, I was Producer-Writer of the TV show Dallas -- set in Cheney-Bush Land. Like them, we drilled for oil, corrupted folks, screwed them out of money and livelihoods and then.. then there was The Dream.

Midway into the show's Eighth season, after the Exec Producer, Patrick Duffy, and I had left, Dallas took a pretty sharp ratings drop. Management asked the three of us back. But there was a problem. Duffy's character, Bobby Ewing was dead. Millions had seen him struck by a car, then saw him die on screen. How do you bring a dead man back? Well, a solution eventually emerged. It was decided that Bobby's "widow" Pamela would wake up one morning, find Bobby in the shower and tell him she'd had a horrible dream -- that he'd been hit by a car and had died.

Which brings us to John McCain.

One of his lobbyists (I mean Spinner-Strategists! Keep forgetting he doesn't work with lobbyists) came up with a "Dream" of his own. "Why don't we convince the voters," he suggested, "that the Republican Party wasn't founded in the 1850s, but was born just last month, when Sarah Palin came on-stage!"

"Genius," exclaimed the other Rove-ites, little red eyes brimming with rapture. "Talk about taking a wide stance! That way we can argue that nothing that happened during the past eight years could possibly be considered our fault. All that ugliness with 'W'hat's-his-name and his Veep, the deaths of our soldiers, the economic chaos they're leaving, housing crisis, banking crisis, so many foreclosures, the fact that (wink-wink) McCain really did vote with George 90% of the time... none of it can be blamed on us - not if it was in a dream. Wiping out the Bush-Cheney years means that even the Bridge to Nowhere didn't happen... so we won't have to answer for why our PTA Mom-Hockey-Mayor-Governor was 'for' it before she was against it. Betchya we even evade the disgrace of Tom Delay's treachery, and Abramoff's payoffs, and the billions in cash Cheney's Halliburton ate. None of the scandals will have a Republican leg to stand on. How could they if our party is only one week new. The Bush years'll be gone like Dallas' dream."

Tragically, McCain's "New Republicans" may actually be on to something if voters don't start demanding something better than sloganeering. Dallas' public wanted more than more pretty, smiling faces. They wanted basic change in the Storyline. America needs that change desperately now, but we sure won't get it with the Family McBush. Wake up, America! The Dallas dream worked. If, God forbid, the Bush-Rove-McCain ploy should work, the four years they will bring us will be a nightmare.