MONDAY MORNING MONOLOGUE….I have to be honest ? I was hoping a little girl would fall down a well or there?d be something to blog on other than Iraq, Abu Ghraib, and John Kerry. Sadly, it seems America?s children are all accounted for. So here goes:

IXNAY ON THE AINMCCAY!….Hey, what do I know? Blogging isn?t even my temp job. But it seems to me that the Kerry campaign is making a big mistake by allowing John McCain?s name be bandied about as a potential running mate. It?s almost certainly not going to happen, so why tease voters with the possibility of excitement? You?re only going to let them down.

Hey, I?m all for injecting some life into Kerry?s candidacy. As it stands now I think their campaign slogan is: ?John Kerry: Well …oh, alright.? But if George Bush has taught us anything about campaigning it?s that it?s a lot easier to beat low expectations. As long as George Bush doesn?t drool on himself during a debate, he wins.

All this McCain talk sets too high a standard for a running mate. If I were the Kerry people I?d be out floating names like The Rock or Gary Condit. Then when you pick Evan Bayh Americans will be saying, ?Oh, thank Christ it?s Evan Bayh!? and not ?Who?s Evan Bayh?? and ?How much time did he spend in the Hanoi Hilton?? In that sense I think it was wise for Kerry to steer the conversation to McCain for Secretary of Defense, which is an infinitely greater possibility. But how long did that last? A day?

Here?s one more suggestion ? a dark horse veep candidate who?s got name recognition and a long history in Democratic politics: Willie Horton. That?s right ? Willie Horton! Think about it. For one thing, it gets Kerry off the diversity hook. Secondly, he?s available. Lastly, sometimes elections are about scaring people to the polls. You Republicans think Dick Cheney is scary? Get a load of this guy!

Kerry-Horton: Don?t stop thinking about tomorrow, America, because you never know when you might get stabbed.

PS ? I wonder if Lee Atwater ever worried about the effect his work was going to have on the other Willie Horton. Probably not.

Imagine the panic this guy must cause when he gets paged at the airport?

THE FROWNS LET YOU KNOW THEY?RE SERIOUS!….Really, at this point why bother asking Paul Wolfowitz what the war is going to cost? It?s like bringing back Cardinal Law for some advice on crisis management. We did this the first time, when Wolfowitz explained to us how we were ?dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon? ? not so much a Marshall Plan as a Ron Popeil ?Set it and forget it!? approach to nation building. Then we did it again when Wolfowitz came to ask for the $87 billion. And now, sadly, we?re still seated for the third act of our tragedy.

But what really irritated me was the scolding Wolfowitz got from the Senate panel ? not that he didn?t deserve it, mind you, but because the panel?s threats are about as empty as the soul food line at the Republican National Convention. At one point, Hillary Clinton was essentially reminding Wolfowitz that Congress was a very important branch of government. And let?s face it ? when you?ve got to remind people you?re important, you?re really not that important. Wolfowitz knows all he has to do is put up with some stern finger-wagging and he?ll get his billions. And other than some hollow threats about needing to see some ?specificity,? nobody on the panel seemed to suggest he wouldn?t get them either.

I watched some of the hearings. Here?s a transcript:

INDIGNANT SENATOR #1: Mr. Wolfowitz, we appreciate you coming down to testify for us today. I?ve got just one question, and I want you to answer it honestly: Do these pants make my ass look fat?

WOLFOWITZ: Of course not. They do not make your ass look fat.

INDIGNANT SENATOR #1: Are you sure? Are you sure they don?t make my ass look fat?

WOLFOWITZ: Believe me. I?d tell you. Your ass looks great in those pants.

INDIGNANT SENATOR #2: Last time you came before this committee you told us our asses would not look fat in these pants, and that these pants were on sale. Now, I do believe we?ve had numerous comments regarding the size of our asses and how it related to the pants you sold to this very committee.

INDIGNANT SENATOR #1: And now you want us to buy more!

WOLFOWITZ: Seriously, stand up for me. Turn around.

Indignant Congressman #2 stands and turns, looking back over his shoulder at his own ass.

WOLFOWITZ: Your ass looks fantastic in those pants. I can?t believe you?re even worried about it.

INDIGNANT SENATOR #1: Well, I tell you why we?re worried about it. I look in the mirror and I just don?t see the same me anymore.

WOLFOWITZ: It must be your mirror, because you look fantastic.

INDIGNANT SENATOR #2: Fantastic, huh? Well, we?ll take it under advisement. But we?re going to hold you to that this time, you know? We mean it.

WOLFOWITZ: Okay, now you?re just fishing for a compliment….You?ve got the ass of a 20-year-old, okay? There, I said it.

INDIGNANT SENATOR #1: Oh, Paul. Then it?s settled. We will buy more pants.

Man, if Congress were a parent, the Pentagon would be a bunch of rudderless teenage meth addicts.

IT?S COURAGE UNDER FIRE MEETS PORKY?S….Where?s my Abu Ghraib TV movie? I say if Jessica Lynch got one, Lynndie England gets one too. No, they?re not the same brand of soldier, but all movies don?t have to have a Hollywood ending….Okay, maybe TV movies do. But I?m talking about art, man. It?s the tragic story of what happens when the chain of command breaks down ? and by chain of command, of course I mean those seven soldiers who we?re pinning this on.

One thing is for sure ? Donald Rumsfeld will be played by Christopher Plummer, who seems to have cornered the market on old, ornery white guys. I just can?t quite figure out who is going to play Lynndie England. It?s not an easy casting job. I suppose Hillary Swank could reprise her whole Boys Don?t Cry look, but who wants to see that again? ….Does anyone know if that woman from Amelie can do West Virginia? ….Would Haley Joel Osment be willing to die his hair? Work with me here, people!

….Any ideas?

LYNCH TO LYNNDIE?….Dan Kennedy has an interesting take on the nation?s transformation from Lynchian triumphalism to Lynndish exasperation, though if you really want to read something funny get to the part where he interviews Lloyd deMause, editor of the Journal of Psychohistory, about the nation?s mommy issues:

War can often be explained, he says, as a way of appeasing a neglectful or abusive mother….In psychological terms, deMause says, Jessica Lynch was “Mommy in danger: she was under attack, and we?d better go save her.” By contrast, the symbolism of Lynndie England is that “Mommy is still bad. She?s still torturing us.” The degree to which the England images have resonated, he adds, suggests there remains a pent-up need among many Americans for still more war in order to please the “Killer Mommy.”

….Huh? Maybe Lloyd would like to explain to us how Abu Musab al-Zarqawi?s rage really just stems from how he was such a late bloomer when the puberty train pulled into town….Sorry if that sounded a little too dismissive and Dennis Miller, but come on, Lloyd ? get in the game. And take down all those stuffed birds in your office!!

Anyway, give it a read. I think Kennedy may be on to something. All I know is one more misadventure involving a female soldier from West Virginia and we?ve got ourselves a very special episode of Celebrity Jeopardy.

AND FINALLY, I WANT TO PARTY WITH RUSH!….Except I?m not sure I?m a big enough freak. I know I?m late on this, but between the pill-popping and Rush?s admission that he looks at the pictures from Abu Ghraib and sees people ?having a good time? and blowing off steam, I can?t tell if Rush is the administration?s staunchest and most mindless defender or the biggest 24-hour circuit party animal the right wing has to offer. I?m beginning to think it may be the latter. And I say good for him. What a release it must be for a man so bound to conservative convention to eat a fistful of pills, throw on a leash, put something in his ass, and just party.

Look for Rush?s new book coming out this fall, ?The Way Things Ought to Be Lubed.?

….That?s it for me. Thanks to Kevin Drum. And Kevin ? sorry about the whole ?sullying your reputation? thing.

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