Camilleri in America plus a bit of politics
That is no gratuitous snipe. The United States has just received its clearest signal yet that the administration of President George W. Bush is over, and it had nothing to do with the announced departures of chief strategist Karl Rove and press secretary Tony Snow. The obituary came in the form of a column by the syndicated commentator Charles Krauthammer.
Krauthammer has been a forceful, sometimes strident Bush booster, notably on Iraq. Headlines over his columns have included "Congress must not micromanage war," "Supreme silliness about Cheney," and "Comrade Feinstein?" for example. Another column scoffed at the perjury conviction of Vice President Dick Cheney's former aide Scooter Libby, downplaying Libby's misdeeds by comparison with lies uttered by, you guessed it, Bill Clinton and members of his administration. Like Krauthammer or not, in other words, a reader rarely has trouble figuring out where he stands.
Yet this week, with the 2008 presidential races heating up in both major U.S. political parties (Yes, they do things that far in advance here), with all the chance in the world to bash China over product-safety scandals and mining disasters or Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf over his hands-off attitude toward warlords who may be sheltering Osama bin Laden, Krauthammer wrote about ... baseball. And not just about baseball, but about the wistful yearning for redemption exemplified by a fictional character, Roy Hobbs in Bernard Malamud's The Natural . (Krauthammer was stirred to invoke Malamud by the story of Rick Ankiel, a pitcher-turned-outfielder who recently made a comeback with the St. Louis Cardinals.)
The column was escapist in matter, perhaps less so in manner. Here's how Krauthammer ended it: "(n)o one knows why Hobbs is shot. It is fate, destiny, nemesis. Perhaps the dawning of knowledge, the coming of sin. Or more prosaically, the catastrophe that awaits everyone from a single false move, wrong turn, fatal encounter. Every life has such a moment. What distinguishes us is whether — and how — we ever come back."
Coming from a normally pugnacious Bush booster, that sounds like an elegy for the Republican Party's hopes to retain the White House.
© Peter Rozovsky 2007
Italian crime fiction