Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Sopranos and the Bushes

Two families have kept us in suspense since this century started. We won’t have all the answers about the Bushes until the end of next year, but tomorrow night will tell us how it all comes out with the Sopranos.

Both clans produced strong-minded men who came to power in the wake of their fathers and went on to outdo them in lawless violence. But there, as I pointed out earlier this year, is where the resemblance ends:

Art and life diverge. The fictional Mafia boss is racked by conflict and ambivalence to the point of having panic attacks. The real-life Decider is never in doubt.

Tony Soprano seeks help from a therapist, but George Bush takes advice from no one.

In “The Sopranos,” Federal authorities are closing in on the Mob. In Washington, the White House fires Federal prosecutors who don’t toe their line.

Both men have blood on their hands, but the imaginary thug feels some guilt while the actual Commander-in-Chief sends young men and women to their deaths feeling smugly secure in the approval of a Higher Power.

The Sopranos’ final season was obsessed with aging and waning powers. In the wintry White House, Bush and his capos have been in a bunker of denial, still insisting against all evidence that they are in absolute control of events.

In the end, the difference is that there has always been some poetry in Tony Soprano and none in George Bush, and no script writers could change that.

Tomorrow night we find out how it all ends with the Sopranos. When it comes to the Bushes, there is not that much suspense.

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