01/05/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Patsy Reclines

Now that his days of swaggering around Foggy Bottom are becoming sepia tinted and wistful, W's softening a bit, letting his imperial guard down and the truth burble from his lips like the last tangy drops of a Pisco Sour.

As he delivers unaccustomed regrets and stammers out wavering apologies in his final, tightly orchestrated interviews as POTUS there's a moistness in his tiny, glassy blinkers and a quietness in his tone as that ol' hoss drover senses his days are over.

But, bumbling numbnut that he was, is and always will be, he is spilling the once scrupulously baked beans and his current behavior suggests the oddest of possibilities: George W. Bush was just a patsy.

When Jeb Bush calls for a shadow government to counter the predominantly Democratic one itching to fill the methane-saturated seats previously squashed by their gaseous Repustule counterparts; when big business keeps asking for more money the way kids leaving a birthday party whine for goodie bags (who's next? If the government does not help out the pharmaceutical industry, will sales, employment and chemically enhanced erections plummet?); when his Vice President in Chief Cheney does not even bother with the pretense of projecting anything which would suggest an elected official or ever showing up for anything ceremonial beyond an NRA chili cook-off, instead preferring to oversee the bundling and transportation of ill-gotten swag; when previously untouchable pals like the Iraqi parliament, Blackwater and the NSA are taking the heat and left to deal with stragglers, like trigger men walking backwards to their getaway car from a robbery; really the only similarity between the days when a patsy would be offed in a garage beneath a police station in full view to the current conspiracy theory catalysts is their sheer, calm defiance of justice. The current incarnations of those who brought you JFK, RFK, MLK, Diem, et al, have realized that punitive responses to any black-op antics are unlikely at best and were they ever to occur, well nyah, nyah, nyah.

The most successful (so far) coup crew in history, BushCo has profited an astounding 800 gazillion-krillion dollars by scaring, threatening, strong-arming, tallywhacking, fudgepacking and otherwise brutalizing democracy in general and the Constitution in particular. And instead of carrying out an elaborate exercise to cover the labyrinth of foot, finger and snarlprints, they are basically winking at the world and shuffling lazily off to Dubai with nary a wrist slap.

Does anyone really think a case will be made for the criminal prosecution of BushCo once they've left the building? Or that those evil bankers and car companies who have contributed so mightily to this nation's (and the world's) woes will really be steaming creases in the prison laundry? Prez-elect Obama, lovely though he is, is where he is because he knows that Change® is just the reinvention of America®, not only in the eyes of democracy-starved voters but because it's good for global business as usual. Same brand, same ingredients. Yeah, fewer cyclamates and no fluoride, no bunnies killed in the manufacture of. But really just a new label. The world is a business, Mr. Beale.

And as patsies go, W's the same as all who came before him, except he's repackaged and relaxed. He's not a loner, though his approval rating would surely get him bumped from a dinner reservation at Sizzler; his role in recent events has become accepted as normal and almost likable, like a reprobate celebrity who plows through a school crossing, a traditional part of the felonious history he embodied, which itself has become equally disposable as pop pap and therefore not really punishable in any meaningful way.

As he has redefined the presidency, so has W redefined the patsy as an essential, even strangely beloved creature as an inane, rough-around-the-edges clown. What a nice change from the scruffy sociopaths who have skulked around history's darkest chapters, taking the fall for shadow governments and profiteering capitalisto-fascists. This here patsy's got a beer in his hand, he's got his boots up an' he's reclinin'.