A Cold Rain: Excerpt from Neck Deep By Robert, Sam and Nat Parry

Dandelion Salad

By Robert, Sam and Nat Parry
Consortium News
November 13, 2007

Editor’s Note: On Saturday, Nov. 17, the three authors of Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush will be appearing together for the first time at a book talk and signing. The event will be held at the new Busboys and Poets restaurant in the Shirlington Village section of Arlington, Virginia. [For the invitation, click here. For more details, click here.]

In anticipation of that talk, Consortiumnews.com is publishing the book’s opening chapter, which describes a dreary winter day almost seven years ago when the authors – Robert, Sam and Nat Parry – stood together witnessing an ominous turning point in American history:

The rain pelted down in icy-cold droplets, chilling both the protesters in soaked parkas and the well-dressed celebrants bent behind umbrellas to shield their furs and cashmere overcoats.

Drawn to this historic moment – a time of triumph for some and fury for others – the two opposing groups jostled and pushed their way through security checkpoints, joining the tens of thousands pressing against rows of riot police lining Pennsylvania Avenue.

After taking the subway from Arlington, Virginia, the three of us joined the crowd crammed into a block of 13th Street, on the north side of Pennsylvania Avenue, near the point where Inaugural parades bend in their grand procession from the U.S. Capitol, turn right at the foot of the U.S. Treasury and then veer left before passing in front of the White House.

To our right was a stone expanse called Freedom Plaza, where temporary viewing stands had been erected for invited guests. That corner is marked by a statue of Brigadier General Casimir Pulaski, a Polish cavalryman and freedom fighter who joined the American Revolution and died at the battle of Savannah in 1779.

To our left stood a twelve-story building, with the red awnings of a CVS pharmacy on the ground level and rounded balconies of corporate offices on the floors above.

The elegantly attired Republicans squeezed their way through the angry crowd of drenched protesters to the VIP stands or to those rounded balconies, which offered protection from the rain and an unobstructed view of Pennsylvania Avenue below.

The Republicans had come to cheer the new U.S. President, George W. Bush, privileged scion of a powerful political family who nonetheless ended his gerunds by dropping the “g” to convey the populist image of a Texas wildcatter.

Bush was replacing President Bill Clinton, a Democrat who had survived an impeachment battle over a sexual dalliance with a former White House intern. To Bush supporters, the new President would bring back the warmly remembered propriety of his father, President George H.W. Bush.

One of George W. Bush’s biggest applause lines of Campaign 2000 was his vow to restore “honor and dignity” to the Oval Office.


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