Not Elba

August 24th, 2012

Inspired by George Bush happy on political Elba (Jason Horowitz, Washington Post 8/24/12 A1).

 

 

“He’s hiding in plain sight if anyone cares to see him.” – long-time George Bush friend and neighbor Mark Langdale, who also runs the George W. Bush Presidential Center
 
“I have found that life after the presidency is awesome.” – George W. Bush

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Jason:

 

I too like to myself of historical analogies avail,

But your Elba analogy was a complete fail.

 

 Napoleon was imprisoned on Elba because of the British concern

That he would escape imprisonment and to power return.

 

Elba was not a refuge where a disgraced leader ignominiously hid,

But an attempt to prevent Nappy from regaining power, as he then did.

 

The erstwhile Emperor was still very popular inFrance:

Europe’s leaders knew he’d re-assume control, if given the chance.

 

So they confined Napoleon on Elba, but he got away,

And was marching onParis within a day.

 

He retook the government without firing a shot

(The French army and people still liked him a lot).

 

It took anotherEurope-wide military alliance

To again overcome Napoleon’s defiance.

 

They beat him at Waterloo and sent him to an island even more secluded,

Which along with lots more guards the possibility of escape precluded.

 

So Jason, as you can see, your analogy was wrong:

George W. Bush isn’t isolated because he was popular and strong.

 

And unlike Napoleon, who is still by the French people embraced,

George W. Bush left power disgraced.

***

This is my favorite scene from the movie Waterloo. It shows our hero (and he remains a hero to many) leading the honor guard with which he’d escaped from Elba and other supporters who had since joined him. Marshall Ney heads the French army sent to capture Napoleon by France’s restored monarch, Louis XVIII (put back on the throne by the European alliance which defeated Napoleon). Instead of surrendering or being captured, Napoleon uses the strength of his personality and the army’s residual loyalty (Ney himself had been one of Napoleon’s generals) to convince that army to join him, and then marches straight to Paris, collecting more support as he goes. King Louis flees and Napoleon regains power without firing a shot. He holds on for 100 days until the rest of Europe again unites to defeat him at the Battle of Waterloo. After that defeat, the allies sent Napoleon to an even more remote island, St. Helena, and this time put him under much heavier guard. That confinement was successful: Napoleon died on St. Helena (some say he was poisoned by a British agent).

 

PS: The Post article mentions that Laura Bush is working to come up with a name and menu for the Bush Center’s restaurant. Here’s my suggestion: call it the Katrina Cantina (or “Kantrina” for short), in honor of the natural and administrative disaster which finally laid to rest any doubts of GB2’s incompetence. The Kantrina could specialize in poorly-prepared food cooked in oil (crude, not food) on a coal stove and incompetently served. The rich would eat free off a separate menu with much better service, with the bill charged to the national credit card. And Mr. Romney, if you are elected President, here’s an idea for your own Romney Center Restaurant menu: just serve reheated leftovers from George Bush’s place.

PPS: If you think you can come up with a better name for the Bush Center restaurant, leave a comment with your idea. I’ll feature the best ones in a future post.

 

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