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Greetings, Firepups. It’s great to be back in the Lake! I’ve got some pretty big saurian shoes to fill, so I’ll give it my best.

As Christy noted earlier today, it’s time to steel ourselves for the heavily advertised Bush-and-Condi show at Annapolis, at which our diplomatically challenged President will prove that he is the Billy Mays of international politics, only exponentially more grating and without the impressive sales numbers . . . or a product that actually works.

Mindlessly hawking his patented gun barrel democracy as the curative for all of the world’s woes, Bush will, no doubt, swagger around the conference, spritzing everything and everyone in the room with White Phosphorus-Glo™ and OxiBomb™, insisting that just a dab of his miracle product is what’s needed to clean up all that spilled blood in the Middle East.

However, not everyone is particularly impressed with Bush’s “democracy roolz!” persiflage or his embarrassing naivete of Middle East politics; they’re speaking out against the ÜberHuckster. From London’s Independent:

Making matters worse was Mr Bush’s lack of knowledge and sense of history. Flynt Everett [sic], once the top adviser to Ms Rice on Middle East matters, but now a strong critic of the President, last week related how at a 2002 meeting in the White House situation room, he heard Mr Bush say that as soon as the Palestinians had a democratically elected government, their leadership would be “less hung-up” on issues like borders and the status of Jerusalem.

Mr Everett [sic] was astounded. It was, he told the Washington Post last week, “one of the most profoundly ignorant statements anyone has ever uttered on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” [Emphasis mine]

(For those who vaguely recollect the name “Flynt Leverett” (its proper spelling), Christy introduced us to him last year. Interesting, isn’t it, how the Bush Administration fosters brand loyalty in its ranks.)

And the Arab states who will be attending this latest shell game aren’t exactly swayed by Bush’s newly discovered interest in peaceful conflict resolution, given that the main parties concerned can’t even agree to agree:

Among Arab governments and the public, the big fear is that Annapolis will only be a new piece of theater. They point to the Israelis’ and Palestinians’ failure to agree on terms for negotiations that will come out of Annapolis. They also cite the size of the gathering — more than 40 countries and organizations — saying it’s built more for style than substance. [Emphasis mine]

So stay tuned as Bush and Rice try to salvage whatever legacy they fantasize they might have had, if they had been even remotely interested in creating a lasting peace in the Middle East. Because resolving an eons-old conflict should be as easy as getting rid of that nasty ring around your bathtub. Um . . . Kaboom?