Sunday, July 22, 2007

Jimmy Breslin, National Treasure

There are few men like Jimmy Breslin in journalism anymore.

You folks outside of New York probably only know Jimmy Breslin if you are of a certain age, and drank Piels' beer. "It's a good drinkin' byeer!" We here in the city know Breslin to be a champion of the common guy, the Joe Lunchbuckets of the world who make things work and fix things when they don't, who go home at night and read a tabloid with a beer and a meat and potatoes dinner.

A dying breed, in other words.

He's lost a bit off his fastball as he's gotten older, but occasionally can crank out a high hard one when he gets angry enough.

Today, he got angry enough:
The war was there to take his life because George Bush started it with bold-faced lies.

He got this lovely kid killed by lying.[...]

Yesterday, Bush didn't run the country for a couple of hours while he had a colonoscopy at the presidential retreat, Camp David. He came out of it all right. He should now take his good health and go home, quit a job he doesn't have a clue as to how to do.

The other day, Bush said he couldn't understand why in the world would some people say that millions of Americans have no health insurance. "Why, all they have to do is go to the emergency room," he said.

Said this with the smirk, the insolent smug, contemptuous way he speaks to citizens.
Plain spoken enough, and to be sure, he is someone who has shaped my own writings: why spend an entire page explaining something you can sum up in three paragraphs?
People, particularly these politicians, these frightened beggars in suits, seem petrified about impeachment. It could wreck the country. Ridiculous. I've been around this business twice and we're all still here and no politician was even injured. Richard Nixon lied during a war and helped get some 58,500 Americans killed and many escaped by hanging onto helicopter skids. Nixon left peacefully. Mike Mansfield of Montana, the Democratic Senate majority leader, said on television that the Senate impeachment trial of Nixon would be televised and there would be no immunity. That meant Nixon would have to face the country under oath and if he lied he would go to prison. He knew he was finished as he heard this. Mansfield said no more. He got up and left. Barbara Walters, on the "Today" show, said, "He doesn't say very much, does he?"

The second time the subject was Bill Clinton for illegal holding in the hallway.
So you know where this is going, even tho I've quoted the middle of his column. Like any good journalist, he aleady told his story and is now laying it out for later editing.
And in Washington we had this Bush, and it is implausible to have anyone who is this dumb running anything, smirking at his country. He sure doesn't mind copying those people. On his PBS television show the other night, Bill Moyers said he was amazed at Sara Taylor of the White House staff saying that she didn't have to talk to a congressional committee because George Bush had ordered her not to. "I took an oath to uphold the president," she said.

That president had been in charge of a government that kidnapped, tortured, lied, intercepted mail and calls, all in the name of opposing people who are willing to kill themselves right in front of you. You have to get rid of a government like this. Ask anybody in Rosedale, where Le Ron Wilson wanted to live his young life. His grave speaks out that this is an impeachable offense.
Go read the entire column. Howard Cosell used to call it "Telling it like it is." Jimmy Breslin taught Cosell everything about that.