The Disgruntled Dylanologist

All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie.

“Romance in Durango”: A Dylanesque dilettante or Mark Sanford’s swansong?

Soon the horse will take us to Durango

Agarrame mi vida
Soon the desert will be gone
Soon you will be dancing the fandango.

It looks like it just may be time to retire the old adage, “It takes two to Tango.”

Apparently, if you’re Mark Sanford, it only takes one.

Dancing solo lat week before a room full of AP reporters, the scandal-emblazoned South Carolina Governor put his best foot forward, addressing head on the allegations of a romantic rendezvous with Argentinean newscaster Maria Belen Chapur.

Not since Bill Clinton’s contemptuous, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” declaration at the height of his own sex scandal has a politician engaged in such a virtuoso performance.

And while Sanford exhibited none of the suave, smooth moves that made Bill Clinton a poster boy of cool, ethereal detachment, the governor’s response to doing the hokey poky did share one similarity with Clinton’s infamous finger-wagging incident: both engaged in a breath-taking dance to the death.

In hindsight, Sanford’s strategy seemed sound enough. Tell the press everything, and hope that by not sidestepping the charges of infidelity the media will forgive you of your trespasses.

It hasn’t quite worked out that way.

In fact, Sanford’s decision to abandon the expected soft-shoe approach and come clean has completely cleared the dance floor of any prospective partners other than his own ravenous guilt.

The wife. Having had a hand in nearly every facet of her husband’s ascent to the pinnacle of South Carolina politics, no one is going to mistake Jenny Sanford for a wallflower. Yet despite her understated approach to managing her husband’s affairs, chances are she won’t be stepping out of the shadows singing Tammy Wynette’s magnanimous marital mantra, “Stand By Your Man,” any time soon.

The GOP. Members of the Republican party also seem to recognize that following the Governor’s lead is probably isn’t the best course of action, either. To date, 14 of the 27 Republicans in the state Senate, and at least six newspapers have called for the governor to step down.

The other woman. And what about Maria Belen Chapur? Exactly where does the Argentinean beauty at the heart of this whole sordid affair stand on the issue? Sanford’s hot tamale isn’t talking. Bar extradition, she’s made it clear she plans to stay put on the Patagonia.

And so, with no one willing to take a turn on the dance floor, Sanford turned to the pages of the Good Book for companionship, citing a parallel between his plight and that of the world’s most infamous adulterer. “[King] David failed, literally, and yet he reconstructed his life,” Sanford recently told reporters.

Upon reflection, however, maybe the analogy Sanford should have cited to parallel his rather precarious situation isn’t the story of David’s seduction of Bathsheba, but rather the fabled story of Jericho, in which the seemingly impermeable walls came tumbling down in ruins with the sound of a single trumpet.

Of course, Sanford didn’t need someone to blow the whistle on his indefensible indiscretions. He brought his world crashing down all on his own with his incessant pronouncements of unrequited love.

And while the press certainly amplified Sanford’s overly affectionate opines for Ms. Chapur, the real problem isn’t the intense scrutiny of media. Sanford may be the consummate politician, but somewhere along the way he overlooked his most important constituent– his wife.

There’s no question marriage is a complicated endeavor, especially for those who chose to live their lives in the fish-eye lens. But the difference between a politician like Mark Sanford and a pop star like Bob Dylan mourning the memory of his “one true love” is while the former may feign imperfection; the latter doesn’t have the luxury of disingenuous posturing.

In an odd way, it’s as if we want our artists to be broken and emotionally askew. With politicians, however, it’s different. Yes, we place them on the spotlight. But the last thing we want them to do is wither when the heat is turned up.

Mark Sanford maintains his south of the border soirée was worth the fire he’s endured. And while the “moth to the flame” metaphor is in keeping with his undaunted persistence to be with his self-proclaimed “soul mate,” perhaps someone should remind the love-struck Sanford of this simple fact—

While the sight of a moth flickering fecklessly around an open flame is indeed the most beautiful of dances, in the end it’s the moth that gets burned…

Hot chili peppers in the blistering sun
Dust on my face and my cape
Me and Magdalena on the run
I think this time we shall escape.


July 8, 2009 Posted by | Disgruntled, Dylanologist | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hillary Clinton: Sad-Eyed Lady of the Statelands

The kings of Tyrus with their convict list

Are waiting in line for their geranium kiss,
And you wouldn’t know it would happen like this,
But who among them really wants just to kiss you?

I don’t know which is more surprising— that Barack Obama tapped his former rival, Hillary Clinton, to be Secretary of State, or that Bill Clinton has agreed to play ball with the guy who humiliated him by making him sing his praises in the seventh inning stretch of the recent presidential campaign.

Either way, naming Hillary Clinton as the next Secretary of State is a political masterstroke. Once again, Barack Obama has hit it out of the ballpark.

In all fairness to the Clintons, the pitch probably seemed like a softball. In exchange for a coveted spot on Team Obama, all the Clintons had to do was publicly disclose a list of the financial contributors to their wildly successful, albeit highly secretive charitable organization, the Clinton Global Initiative.

Sure, the deal lets the former president feign ‘transparency’ by voluntarily offering up the names of the corporations, countries and charitable organizations that have stuffed more than $500 million into the Clinton coffers over the last 10 years. But can anyone really expect Hillary Clinton, the soon-to-be de facto representative of the Obama Administration abroad, to see past the favors, chits and IOUs that she and her husband have amassed over the last 15 years?

Saudi Arabia alone gave to the Clinton Global Initiative between $10 million and $25 million. The governments of Brunei, Kuwait, Norway, Oman, Qatar and Taiwan each gave more than $1 million. So did the ruling family of Abu Dhabi and the Dubai Foundation.

So why would Barack Obama appoint someone with such an obvious conflict of interest to such a high profile post? Because Hillary Clinton’s nomination was never about building a ‘team of rivals,’ as Obama so often likes to suggest, casting himself in the mold of his political aspirant, Abraham Lincoln. Obama had another Lincoln mantra on his mind when he decided to call Hillary Clinton up to the big leagues, and that mantra goes something like this: “Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?”

By providing the 2,922-page list containing more than 200,000 benefactors, Bill Clinton not only lifted a veil of secrecy that had protected his personal and business dealings from scrutiny for the last decade and half, he publicly disclosed every name of every person from every county on every continent in every corner of the world he has had contact with for the last 15 years.

Anyone connected to the Clintons—all their supporters, their benefactors, their cronies, their champions—all laid out not only for Obama, but for every other Clinton contrarian to see.

This deliberate drawing an adversary out into the open, leading them into the arena, then laying them bare for all to see isn’t just a technique that works well on the political stage. In fact, it’s a technique Bob Dylan has employed with dexterous skill since he stepped in the stage some 40 years ago.

Anyone who has witness Bob in his element knows that when you step on stage with Dylan, you leave nothing on the sidelines. The same is proving true with Barack Obama. Whether it’s writing about a marriage that’s doomed, or plotting a union that will likely end the same way, Dylan and Obama are masters at their craft.

The pending Obama-Clinton pact is a perfect case in point. Should Senator Clinton becomes Secretary of State, Obama gets two of the biggest sluggers in the Democratic Party on his team. If not, they go back to the minor leagues.

Either way, Barack Obama has his bases covered…

Now you stand with your thief, you’re on his parole
With your holy medallion which your fingertips fold,
And your saintlike face and your ghostlike soul,
Oh, who among them do you think could destroy you?

For a complete, searchable list of all 220,000 donors to the Clinton Global Initiative, click here.

December 22, 2008 Posted by | Disgruntled, Dylanologist | , , , , , | Leave a comment